I. Hate. That. Cow.
That is what I was muttering after the fifth time (count ’em 5 times) that cow ran away.
When I was doing my internet research about which cow to purchase to supply myself with wonderful, delicious, raw milk…I found the best, most wonderful milk comes from the Jersey cow. More butterfat in their milk and the best nutrition of all the cows. I started pricing Jersey cows and found I did not have the money for a Jersey (champagne taste on a kool aid budget). BUT, I did find a Zebu breeder that just happened to have a half Jersey half Zebu cow. He called her a Jerbu and the price was right. I went to his farm to take a look at her (as if I knew what to look for). She was cute. Black with tan markings and white around her nose and on her stomach and she was the perfect size.
She also had on a cute green halter which meant that she looked like I could lead her like I do my horses (bring up uproarious laughter). The owner of said JerBu, Mr. Rick, kept telling me that he didn’t want me to be “mad at him” if she didn’t work out. At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. He also told me that she was “somewhat” tame and that he thought she was pregnant by one of his Zebu bulls. But, he didn’t want me to be “mad at him” if she wasn’t particularly friendly or pregnant. I knew I could win her over (have horses, remember?) and if she was pregnant, that was even better as I could begin milking her sooner. SOLD.
I named her ZsaZsa in honor of the old TV show “Green Acres”. Little did I know how apropo that name would be. Mr. Rick even said he would deliver ZsaZsa in a couple of days to give me time to secure her “getting to know you” paddock. I used electric ribbon that I have used to secure horses in the past. Mr. Rick showed up with ZsaZsa and pulled into the 5 acre electric ribbon secured pasture and opened the trailer door to let my little princess into her new domain. Out she jumped and wandered about as I said my good-byes to Mr. Rick and he said his last “don’t be mad at me” as he was leaving. As he pulled away, I saw ZsaZsa blow through the electric ribbon fence, shoot across another pasture, blow through a three wired major electric fence and head out to god know where. I have 20 acres. There are 200 acres behind me (with cows) and another 3,500 acres adjoining me and them. Oh god, I didn’t know cows ran that fast. That was just the beginning of the trials and tribulations of my life with ZsaZsa the runaway cow. I did not know then that this cow was smart, sneaky, mischievous, cunning and could make Houdini (and me) look like an idiot.
More on ZsaZsa the runaway cow in the next installment.
As with anything unusual, unexpected, unforeseen and all the other “uns” of the world, it starts out with a very small thought. A tiny thought that you wouldn’t even give a second thought. There are more “thoughts” in this paragraph than what was in my head that day. And the inevitable question after the dust clears is “What were you thinking??!!” The answer? Obviously, not much.
In my situation it started with the idea of growing a garden. That is not a off the wall thought. Even a small garden. With that success (I had more tomatoes than I knew what to do with), came the next step. Chickens. But I needed to build a hen house as my new little delights would make a lovely meal for the coyotes in the area. My totally cool son also liked the idea and we began to build a chicken coop. Have I ever built a chicken coop? Nope. Have I ever built anything from scratch before (remodeling doesn’t count)? Nope. Did I have an idea of what I was doing? Nope. Throwing good sense to the universe, up went a large chicken coop.
It turned out. Looks a little like a Salvador Dali painting…but it works. Now for the chickens. Do I know anything about chickens? Nope. A neighbor about a mile away has about 300 chickens so I asked him if I could buy 4 egg laying hens (I did know the difference between a hen and a rooster). Came to his farm, picked out the four I wanted, put them in Publix reusable bags and drove home. I named the ladies after the female members of the maternal and paternal sides of my family. Muriel lays BIG green eggs, Maude lays blue eggs (my grandmother and great grandmother on my mother’s side). Ethel was sent back cause she was a “poser”…just sat on the nest and never laid an egg (something like her namesake – hope no family members are reading). And Lizzy, my great grandmother on my father’s side lays blue eggs, too. I got Gloria (great aunt on father’s side) to replace Ethel and she lays brown eggs.
Garden – did it. Success. Chickens – did it. Success. And now for the “What in the hell were you thinking?” idea. COW. I have horses and have been riding and taking care of them for 30 years. I competed, I rode race horses, I trained horses…everything. So, what would be the big deal about a cow? Yes…I was planning on milking the cow. Not a good idea to milk a horse. I was getting fresh, raw milk from this really cool lady that had her own dairy farm and I thought, why not. One cow would save me from having to buy raw milk 40 minutes away. Pretty legitimate thoughts. I can tell you now that I was totally out of my mind or I lost it somewhere. A COW?? A cow is NOT a horse. Not even close. No idea. I did go on the internet to look at cows and try to figure out what type of cow would be best for me. I just wanted my own milk so I wanted a little cow. After looking on the internet I started to go to dairy farms (which there were not many of them here-most beef country). I went to a Holstein farm (the black and white cows) and they are HUGE. One cow can give almost 13 gallons of milk a day. Ok, so now I know not to get a Holstein. I looked at a Dexter cow (never heard of them). Little brown cow. Not cute and not friendly. Remember, I want a cow for personal milk so it’s got to be a “personal” cow- cute and nice. The smallest cow is something called a Zebu (they’re out of Africa and they are used mostly as a tax deduction). Little, little, little. So, I started calling people who had Zebu farms (mostly accountants). I told them I wanted to have a personal milk machine. All I heard was laughter. Apparently, milking a Zebu is unheard of …like milking a hamster.
Get ready to meet ZsaZsa in the next blog post.