Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A New Cow

This is Mairie, our new cow.  She has proven to be as un-photogenic as the rest of our animals, so she already fits in.  This is a better picture of her:

Our friend, Karen Sherwood of Ochwilla Hill Farm, whose husband Ed so recently passed away, is needing to decrease her milking herd as soon as possible.  She raises Mini-Jerseys, but has a few larger ones that are only part mini, so we offered to buy one of her larger ones.  Karen said Mairie was a good milker, but is shy and doesn't do well with strangers, and she had to be sold because now different people are going to be taking over the milking responsibilities and she isn't going to be very cooperative.  She is only about as tall as Isla.  She was one of the largest cows there, but will be the smallest in our herd.

She looked like a good cow, although she is about as thin as Matilda, making me realize again that Matilda really isn't all that thin.  I've been comparing her to the sleek fat Jerseys I saw a couple of years ago on a Pennsylvania farm tour, but they have so much better soil there, it's not really a fair comparison.

It was really interesting going to Ochwilla Hill Farm to get Mairie, because I hadn't been there since Rose was a baby, and since we had our farm.  I found myself noticing completely different things this time.  The first time, I mostly noticed how things were laid out.  This time, the first thing I noticed was the soil.  Out there near Melrose is one of those ancient now-land-locked beaches from when Florida was underwater and it's all just drifts of white sugar sand.  Their pasture was growing out of what looked like a sand box.  My hat's off to them, I don't know how they've managed their herd so nicely with that kind of sand.  On our way back, I was looking at the sand on our driveway, which always looks so white and sandy to me, and realizing that it was actually grey sand, and feeling thankful.

Another thing that was really strange was how tiny her cows looked.  When we had stayed there years ago to milk the cows for them while they were out of town, the cows seemed so big.  The smallest ones seemed small, but the larger ones looked enormous and intimidating.  This time they all looked so miniature.  The tallest ones are only as tall as Isla.  I guess our herd is gigantic, and it's changed our perspective a lot!

The first day we milked Mairie we both had to catch her and lead her into the milking stand, and she was so afraid she was trembling.  She calmed down, though, and yesterday she went in to the milking stand all by herself, with only some coaxing and alfalfa.  I think she'll be a good cow.  She seems nice enough, just perhaps a little high-strung.  We really didn't need another cow this year, but this way we'll get milk when Matilda's dried off for calving and Mairie will have another good home.

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