|Chocolaty Claire getting a scrub down|
I am cleaning out the barn because, as we have discussed before, Huck is deathly allergic to the 8 now-vanished tons of Timothy Hay I bought last year and hasn't been in the barn since. So with self-interest in the forefront of my mind, I set to take on one of Hercules's Herculean labors: a full-on, no-straw-left-behind barn excavation. Whereas I was daily getting the chunks, the straw matted several feet thick. A process so gradual, I didn't notice until now. And so I am shoveling and forking and huffing and puffing because this stuff has become concrete and I am not Hercules.
I am also cleaning out the barn because we have two new babies who need clean nurseries! Hendrika's came a week ago and after much fighting and a confusing Facebook vote, we've named her Chocolaty Claire. Not my favorite, but I know when to stick Helen back in my pocket. (Some day! Some Day! I will have my Helen!) Hendrika birthed loudly (she gets that from me) and seemed confused by the small size and brown color of her baby. Unbeknownst to her, I had her bred with miniature Jersey. I mean, I'm pretty sure she was aware of Frank-from-Craigslist having his arm all the way up her tush. I just don't think she would have picked a miniature Jersey if she'd been in charge of the mating process. She'd probably gone with ye' old standby, vanilla, Hereford.
She and Sukey and Ginger all seemed confused. "Brown?!" Said my red cows, "Who ever heard of a brown cow?!" And when she didn't get up quickly, the cows became even more skeptical of her worth. And when she finally went to nurse on Hendrika, Sukey stepped in and started ramming her. By the time Huck got Sukey and Ginger into solitary lock-down, the baby was scared to death of cows. Huck fed the front end of Hendrika, while I helped the baby up and put her on a teet. And then the bonding and happiness and joy of a new babe happened and Hendrika accepted her calf Hendrika also ate the birth sack and placenta, raw. She gobbled it up, belching and grunting. And... omg... I can't even talk about it. Because the whole process and the memory of it starts my digestive tract going the wrong direction. NEW TOPIC!
|Chocolaty Claire getting some colostrum|
You may call this anthropomorphizing, however, if one holds evolution to be at all true, then certainly our emotions, their expression, as well as bonding hormones, et al, did not just blossom at the the moment homo sapiens sapiens became a distinct genetic entity. These things came from somewhere, emerged at some point before the HSS human and it is only logical that such feelings would both exist in other mammals and also be expressed on their faces, much like ours are. Unless, of course, you believe in ex nihilo creation via divine edict. In which case, skewer me for my anthropomorphizing as you wish.
And thus begins the season of culling. Five cows are way too many for five acres. I wept when I thinned my corn and I'm not sure how well I'll weather the thinning of the herd. So when the mouselet emerged, I sat in my barn-based thinking chair. I am not well suited to the brutality of farming. I think I would do better if I did not suspect that humans evolved with emotions and that our close genetic cousins, the mice, also have similar electrical and hormonal states. I think farmers must believe in God and must believe in their divine right to rule these lesser beings and must believe that humans are a giant step away from animals both emotionally and spiritually. Because when a farmer-ette does not entirely buy that line of thought, she is somewhat doomed in her efforts to dominion-ate the earth.
I gathered my courage and I destroyed that mouse mansion made of cow crap. And I endured their lightening quick zip over my toes by screaming and dancing. And then there was one, toddling along, cling to life. And he paused and crouched and appeared to put his paws together and pray.
Where is my cat? Where is the owl? Where are these things born to kill?
But for me and my shovel, we must serve the living, the children, the corn, the cows, the mice.
We must go inside and have a nice calm cup of tea and forgive ourselves even as we forgive those that trespassed over our toes.