Bailey and Milking Cows

I finished my last post saying that there was more to tell about our barn cleanin’ day. The second part is the real reason my sister, Bailey, came down to the farm: She loves to milk cows. She really just likes cattle. Period. Jersey’s are her favorite, though, because they’re “really pretty.” And she wanted to reminisce about the days when the farmer’s parents ran the dairy farm and we toodled around without a care in the world about anything important.

This is our dairy barn. When you milk, you’re down in a pit so that it’s easier to get under the cow and put the milk machine on the udder. Our vacuum pump is only capable of running four of the suction machine dealy-bobs at a time, so we can only milk 4 cows at a time. The other 4 cows on the other side or just kinda’ chillin, enjoying the buffet, and waiting for their turn. See, we feed our cows in the barn, so they’re happy to come to work every day.

Bailey is a lot less cautious about our ornery cows than I am. We have a few that would kick the livin’ daylights out of you without a second thought. We have “kickers” for this. But, it’s really an anti-kicking device made of metal that hooks around their hip and under the leg. It doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get kicked. I’ve seen cows get out of them a time or two. It just makes it mighty uncomfortable for them to lift their leg.

When the cows come in, the farmer and I have a little process that we do. I look at him imploringly and he says, “No, no, yes, yes.” This means that the first two cars are ornery, but I can wash the back two. He doesn’t say that every time. Just sometimes. Bailey cracks me up, though. She listens to him and gets started on her process and then moves up to the ones he said “no” about and proceeds to do them, too. I’m like, “Bailey, BAILEY! She’s a kicker!” She laughed and said, “Well, she let me do it!” Then there was another cow that kicked upon the first touch of the cleaning rag. What does Bailey do? She starts to wash her again. She kicks again. This cycle continues until the farmer tells Bailey to grab her tail and then she was able to wash everything. I gotta’ give it to her. She has a lot more tenacity than I do. Or maybe it’s the fact that my sister’s as bull-headed a girl as I’ve ever seen and that cow was NOT going to win. Bailey’s a lot of fun and I see a lot of the qualities I love about her in my daughter. Whatever Peanut’s trying to tackle WILL get accomplished. That’s how the farmer is, too, though. Don’t tell him he can’t do something, especially if it would take brute force. He thrives on proving people wrong.

We wanted to give Bailey the authentic experience so the farmer put this on her. He wears this a lot in the winter when it’s miserable to get sloshed with all kinds of water, manure, etc. It helps keep your clothes clean, too, but we already know this precaution is a little late for Bailey’s current outfit.

I would like to title this picture “The Dairymaid that actually milks because the real Dairymaid is always taking pictures.”

Ooooo, that dairy barn looks mighty clean! Watch this, suckkaaasss!”

This is NOT the face of innocence.

Barn cleaner for life,

The Dairymaid

Barn Cleanin’ Day

Last week, I mentioned that my sister came down to the farm for barn cleaning day. I warned her ahead of time that this specific thing was what was on the schedule for that certain day and she said something to the effect of, “I’ll be there come rain or shine!” Apparently, she was kinda’ excited about it.

This particular day is one in which we scrub the milk parlor of the milk barn from top to bottom. In order to get the barn clean, we have to get really dirty. It’s part of the exchange.

Exhibit A:

You end up covered in manure from head to toe. It just comes with the job and Bailey and I took this job very seriously.

This is a job I don’t necessarily hate doing around the farm because 1) I’m good at cleaning  2) you can see where you’ve made progress and  3) sometimes I enjoy getting incredibly filthy. Sometimes.  The disheartening part is that the milk cows couldn’t really care less how clean the barn is. I think they conspire to totally trash it every time they come in it. This is why we try our best to get them in and out of there as quick as we can.

The farmer says this is the job we need to save for the people we don’t especially want to come back and visit us.

But, my silly sister quite enjoyed herself! She likes the farmin’ life. And let me tell ya, she’s a worker bee. I was glad she came, so we could use and abuse her. The farmer bought her a mocha frappucino down at the country store for her time.

My shirt was pure coincidence, but how fitting! (I went to Kickapoo High School if you’re wondering why in the world I would have a shirt like that in my possession.) This picture was taken when we were midway through the cleaning process and in no way illustrates the degree of filth we were covered in by the time we were done. Bailey didn’t bring an extra change of clothes, so I had to strap her to the top of the car on the way home. She told me it was exhilarating.

This isn’t all we did that day, so stay tuned for more pictures of the dairy barn and Bailey helping the farmer milk!

I now know how truly refreshing a shower can be,

The Dairymaid