Friday, July 24, 2009

Hot on the Bovine trail

The mowers are jerks. I only say this in self-defense. They've been condescending to this city-slicker, greenhorn out here with out a f***ing clue. Don't you know that you should've mowed a month ago!? It's too late now!! It'll wreck my machines, start a fire! Stupid woman, get out of the country before you ruin it! But I'll charge you $50 per acre...

$50! PER ACRE!

Just like my old plumber! I paid him $50/hr so he could bitch at me about all the wrong crap in my dishwasher. And I PAID him to do it! He actually charged me for the time he spent lecturing me. I didn't say anything back because I didn't want to get charged $50/hr for that too. But I almost told him that it was never my bright idea to combine indoor plumbing and kids. I mean, kids don't even USE indoor plumbing, except when they do and then it's for all the wrong reasons.

Anyway, in my mowing calls, I finally introduced myself as, "My name is Sarajoy and I grew up in the country. I'm back out here again, but I just moved in and missed the ideal mowing dates. What can I do now?" It's diffused the situation somewhat, but I still get snickers and $50/acre...the going rate, I guess. If they aren't charging by the hour, they can lecture me all they want and I'll just lecture back, for free.

I worried the cow situation would be similar, but so far cow people seem thrilled to share their stuff with a greenhorn. But then I already knew how to start the conversations on the right foot, "I grew up with Jersey steers and helped my grandpa on his large Jersey dairy farm every other weekend. My uncle owns a large Jersey dairy in Lynden. I'm all dutch. My name is Sarajoy. Can I talk to the vet? And Hello, how are you?"

I've caught on to some of the lingo now, so that I at least sound like I know what I'm talking about. When I ask if she's got all four quarters or has had a DA, that sets us on the right, respectful path.

Operetta was the first we looked at. At the only Jersey farm for miles around. She had only 2.5 working teets and was giving 2 gallons a day, which is just my speed. The other's we'd called about were giving 6 gallons a day. Family of four Drowns in Raw Cow's Milk! She was good enough, I thought, but the price: $1400!!

I called around. My uncle laughed, "That's a 2 teeter! For $1400! Why, I just sold my best one year old pregnant cows for $1300. No... that cow's worth slaughter prices and she knows it. Don't pay a penny over $400."

I wasn't sure a vet would be in to 15 minutes of free advice, but I tried anyway.
"You Dutch?"
"All the way!"
"You've got the genetics to become a very fine Dairyman, you know. You'll do quite well."
DairyMAN wasn't my goal, but they were encouraging words nonetheless.
He said a two teeter is worth nothing, because if you loose one teet, you're screwed. Slaughter prices. $400.

The Livestock Auction House priced the two teeter at $400. Then told me not to deal with that farm.

And then the slaughter house told me not to deal with them either. Said his brother bought one for $800 from them that died three days later.

Dairy cows are hard to come by, it seems, especially for a fair price. But thank heavens I didn't over pay $1000 for a dead beat! I'd like to rescue the poor thing. But rescuing dairy cows would be an expensive and never ending task. And for what? Other people eat beef still...

Every day is an education! Mowing, cows, chickens, weasels...

got to see the Northern Lights a couple nights ago!
Coyote is grooving to the Beach Boys on my Walkman! "What?! What?! I can't hear you!"

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