a ripping good yarn

Farming, especially with livestock is not without its funnier moments [I believe the famous phrase is ‘never work with children or animals’] and we have had an absolute classic this morning.  I have just stopped laughing long enough to try it get it down in detail and hope that those who read this blog will find it funny too.

Ruby, the house cow heifer calved as you know 2 days ago. The calf while he is so small cannot manage to drink all she produces and it is time to start to get her used to the milking machine. Once we start milking properly the plan is to milk her in the mornings only and leave the calf on all day, removing him from her side at night. It is the ancient cottager’s system whereby you can rear beef and have milk at the same time and we will let you know how we get on. There are websites with information too.

Jethro put the halter on her and then moved her bucket with the feed to a better place in the byre to tie her up near the milking machine. Ruby is a very greedy girl and very swiftly plunged her head into the bucket of meal while at the same time inserting one of her little short horns into one of the long thin pockets for tools on the right leg of Jethro’s boiler suit. At this point they were both completely stuck, tied together as it were. Jethro unable to move and Ruby unable to eat. There followed a lengthy tussle between the two of them and a lot of cursing from Jethro. He was trying hard to get free but remained stuck fast and stooped low as she pushed harder and harder downwards in the direction of the bucket while grunting from the effort as she tried desperately to reach her delicious food.

Me,  I was paralysed with laughter, clutching the gate for support, silent to start with as I thought it would be bad form to show my intense amusement but in the end something gave: the seam on the boiler suit burst open with a loud ripping sound, Jethro was released, Ruby finally got her food and I could actually laugh out loud. Oh dear… the tears of merriment still fall every time I think of it.

The good news is that Ruby coped with the clusters of the machine well and only lifted her legs in a minor protest once or twice and we milked off about 2 – 3 pints. She soon settled and stood quiet when Jethro scratched her back. The part milking out will help the heifer as she is a well bred Shorthorn cow, bred to be a good yielding cow and the calf is only sucking one teat at present and is replete on that. This is Ruby’s sire.

Of course it could have been worse, there may be those who point out that Jethro could have been hurt but he wasn’t. Ruby really likes people and should make an excellent house cow in due course.



Filed under Country Life, food and farming, rural musings, Food, Life

4 responses to “a ripping good yarn

  1. Pondside

    House cow???? That’s a new one!
    Is the boiler suit salvageable? I’m glad that farming has its lighter moments – as my mother would say, you have to laugh or you’d be crying.

  2. Inthemud

    Wonderful! How funny!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, don’t get to write much on it these days.

  3. Hello AA. I’m sorry to say that this is the first time I have managed to get to your blog only to find it is exactly the sort of thing I love! Off for a nossy through now xx

  4. Oh I can imagine the gales and hoots that emited when this happened. I bet you didn’t have a camera to hand and are regretting it. When M&D lost a sheep then foud it dad had (stupidly) left the rope/halter at the house, so took his trousers off and used them as a halter to lead them home. Mum dashed back to the house for her camera and the pics of him walking up the farm tack in wellie and undies is hilarious.
    Remember the funny times when the sad times happen too. So sad that your calf died. I often think that farming is v well balanced in this way.
    Lovely tale.

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