Cows are Strong


Me, sitting on an overturned bucket in the middle of our little dirt country road, pouring milk from my milk bucket into quart jars with lids so I can drive it up to the house without spilling it.

Beulah Petunia waits for me in the mornings by the gate to her field. She knows I’ll be along soon and she doesn’t want to miss me.

I come with the good stuff! Sweet feed and corn. I carry my milking bucket and other things across the creek and over to the sheep shelter where we have her stanchion set up then I go back for her feed. She knows what’s coming. She heads on into the shelter and gets in position. Waiting. Not missing a meal, our Beulah Petunia!

The offending pin that allowed her to release herself from the stanchion was corrected and milking went wonderfully on Thursday. I got a gallon plus 8 ounces. I was ready for more yesterday morning. Maybe a gallon and a half! We can do it, I told my pretty brown cow.

She said, “Where’s my food?” or something like that, and I gave her a big bucketful of the good stuff and loaded some nice fresh hay on top of it. It takes her a little longer that way to pick through the hay to her feed. When she’s sucked up all the feed she can find, she munches on hay and occasionally swats me with her tail to let me know that I am the slowest milk maid she’s ever encountered.

Jack has appointed himself the dairy supervisor. He’s the only one in the pasture with Beulah–the sheep have been shut off to another field due to interferences and bad behavior by Mr. Cotswold. Jack stands in the entrance of the shelter, sometimes stepping a little bit inside. He puts his big head on my shoulder while I’m milking or nuzzles my back.

What he’d really like to do is get some of Beulah Petunia’s goodies, but he’s a little scared of her so he doesn’t even try. Boomer attends every milking session, too. He considers it his moral obligation to be on-hand for all official farming activities.

Yesterday was my fifth day of milking. Quite a few challenges had been overcome and reconfigured. I had a stanchion! The pin holding the head-lock had been fixed! I had a new system for transferring the milk to quart jars with lids so I could drive it up to the house instead of carrying the bucket. I was tired, a little sore, but doing pretty good at the milking. And determined to up my bounty for the day!

I milk at about the rate of one quart per 15 minutes. I’d been there about an hour. I knew I had, or was close to, a gallon, and I felt really comfortable with continuing. We’re not done yet, Beulie Petunie, I told her!

Then I felt a disturbance in the force. Possibly, an earthquake. The ground was moving.

Or actually it was Beulah Petunia that was moving.

And she was moving WITH THE STANCHION.

Oh, yes, indeedy.

She’d pulled her head back, and since she couldn’t get out of the head-lock with the faulty pin corrected, she just moved THE WHOLE STANCHION. Picked it up. With her head. And started backing out of the shelter with the entire contraption on top of her. Not, like, in a ferocious way or anything. She is not ferocious. She had been standing there letting me milk her quite calmly. She’s not a kicker. She was pretty calm about picking up the stanchion, too. Sorta like, “Excuse me, I’m done now.” Just very slow and methodical and UNSTOPPABLE.

Because a thousand-pound cow IS unstoppable. No need to be ferocious about it. She knows she is an Amazon.

I grabbed my milk bucket and jumped out of the way. I nestled my precious milk around the side of the shelter and ran back as she was continuing to step backward out of the shelter with the stanchion on top of her. I managed to release the head-lock. She seemed to realize her head was free and she set the stanchion down, pulled her head out, and said:

“Martha Stewart is on now and I have go watch.”

She’s very interested in cooking and home decor.

And she plodded her leisurely way off across the field, taking her udder with her.

This is what the stanchion looked like when she was done with it.

Jack helped himself to leftovers.

He knew all that waiting around would be worth it eventually.

The stanchion, version 3.1, is already being prepared.

I think we should build it out of titanium this time–and bolt it to the Earth’s core.


  1. Nancy in Iowa says:

    She did it because she CAN!!! What a beautiful face – I’d forgive her anything. Your description of the event is amazing – I can just see her slowly – and regally – backing away! And Jack – oh, our Jack – resting his gentle head on your shoulder! Thank you for those visions. :cowsleep: :heart:

  2. MousE says:

    “bolt it to the earth’s core” – HAHAHAHA

    Oh my.

    Hang in there, the two of you!

  3. carsek says:

    Oh my gosh!! That is hilarious, and bless Jack he’s got your back. Don’t you just love farm life? You have such a great sense of humor. Just keep trying, your arms will get stronger and you will be able to go faster. To milk a gallon is a LOT to do by hand. And the shape of the teet and all matters to. I’m milking a goat right now that has a really nice udder but she doesn’t let her milk down and her teets aren’t short but kind of thin. So hard to get ahold of. Takes me about 15 minutes to get a quart while she prances around. Good luck!!

  4. Karen Anne says:

    A 1000 pounds, that’s about half what my car weighs…

  5. Kelly Walker says:

    Bless her little heart. She’s trying to be patient but she’s thinkin’ “enough already”! It will get better. Hang in there.

  6. Johanna says:

    Two steps forward, one step back. But you ARE making progress. And cheese!

  7. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Cows can be so sweet yet so stubborn and determined! Bolt it down really well next time. It only takes a couple of times of getting out of the stanchion or away from you while milking and they will try it every time. I figured that out the hard way!

  8. Lynn says:

    Love the cow pictures! I have never known a cow, but she seems very sweet! She’s just impatient! Good luck with the new stanchion!

  9. CindyP says:

    HAHAHAHA!!! Oh, Beulah Petunia…..not the delicate flower…..she will have things done her way for as long as she can. Hopefully version 3.1 solves all problems. :moo:

  10. Jan says:

    My last joke of this sort, lest I wear it into the groung–
    stanchion, version 3.1, titanium, bolted to the earth:

    the ultimate BP STATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Jan says:

    GROUND, that is……..

  12. Jo says:

    Oh my word, what a steep learning curve, eh? 😆 I shouldn’t laugh, Suzanne, but I know you are probably laughing as well (perhaps after the fact). You will get yourself (and Beulah Petunia) all figured out sooner or later! :cowsleep: I have faith in you! :happyflower:
    (When 52 builds that barn for you, make sure it’s close to the house! 😆 )

  13. Runningtrails says:

    lol! She is a funny dear! I do envy you that milk cow! I’ll bet Boomer would love some fresh milk.

  14. catslady says:

    I’m crying I’m laughing so hard – thank you!!

  15. Maureen Child says:

    Well, all I can say is, it’s a good thing Super Cow is polite!

    But question here…wouldn’t it be better for both of you if her titanium stanchion was closer to the house? Thinking about you doing this every day during winter is a little horrifying!

  16. Amber says:

    That is hilarious! :moo:

  17. Ann says:

    I so enjoy your commentaries, you always make me chuckle sometime laugh out loud.

  18. Marty says:

    That half- milked udder looks really uncomfortable.

  19. 4jsMOM says:

    I have to get my Chickens in the Road fix each morning. My day is always better because I’ve visited you. The stories and pictures are so interesting. How you get such great pictures is just amazing, considering the action that is happening at the same time.

  20. Patrice says:

    If I introduced you to out Guernsey, Blossom, you would think that Beulah was an angel.I regret not naming Blossom something more appropriate like Bruiser!She has an amazing way of looking at you that says”What are you looking at? Yes, my name is Blossom. Want to make something of it?”I hope the new, improved version of the milking station works.Jack will miss his snack, but life goes on.

  21. Michelle says:

    I was expecting to read that Boomer helped himself to the MILK while you were dealing with shifting stanchion; glad THAT didn’t happen!

  22. Shelley (eastern Roane County) says:

    Suzanne you had me laughing so hard tears were running down my face! The mental picture of Beulah Petunia (great name by the way) ambling off, stanchion and all was priceless.

  23. DonnaTN says:

    Never a dull moment on your farm! I can just see Jack with his head on your shoulder!

  24. Mia says:

    Owiee.. that girl looks sore!

  25. lavenderblue says:

    BP is probably learning, too. New family, new milkmaid, new home. She’s learning she doesn’t like to be milked, maybe. Maybe she’s embarrassed that Jack is watching. Once she settles in and you get your technique down, she’ll be more patient and things will go smoother. In the meantime, it is pretty funny to read about. As long as nobody gets hurt. You hear me, Beulah? You play nice!

  26. Mary says:

    :cowsleep: You have a cow now? I LOVE cows! They are so sweet!! You will save a fortune on milk!! 🙂 :sun: :woof: :purpleflower: :cowsleep:

  27. glenda says:

    :fairy: Lovely post…now I want some chickens…lol
    We actually ordered 100 baby chickens from a mail order company a very long time ago…the mailman delivered them, and he said he was never so glad to get something delivered…those babies were cold and noisy…lol
    thanks for the memory…they are adorable…

Add Your Thoughts