Faith could not find her horse earlier today and I had not seen the cow since late Saturday, so this evening she and I went to find our respective favorite large mammals. Bella has been drying out in anticipation of her delivery Clark and Claire, because they cannot resist the chance to get out on the property, went along for the walk. We never did find the horse, but this is not a big deal to me as the horse is a drain on our resources and the cow is a money saver for us. I would rather find Bella than Abraham any day.
We checked the creek bed, the home of the finest grasses on the farm, but she was not there. We checked the house site and the pipeline site, again to no avail. We checked the tank and there weren’t even tracks to report. After about an hour of walking (and playing hide and seek) we found her in the midst of some mesquite trees. As I walked up to her she just stared at me with her big, brown cow eyes. Her udders are beginning to empty, which is a good thing as we want to get the calf out of the chicken field as soon as possible, but if Bella has milk in her the calf will steal from her and keep her lactating. A bad thing and we try to avoid bad things.
So I checked out her udder and in the process got a great big whiff of cow. You’re probably thinking that this will be leading up to some cow poop comment. It isn’t. The smell is like living leather with sweat mixed in. Bella has her own distinct smell, like each of out kids has a smell that they have had since they were given their first bath after being born. It isn’t baby oil or powder, it is a smell, an essence, that is the person (or cow), that overpowers whatever else you smell. With Bella this smell is also a part of the taste of her milk.
Anyway, I got a great big whiff of Bella and realized, as dumb as this sounds, that I have missed milking her and smelling her every morning and evening. It is a part of the routine and the rhythm of life here on the farm and even though it has just been about a week and a half that we’ve drying her out it has thrown off some of the simple joys of living out here. Bella must have enjoyed smelling me as well because she followed me all the way back to the house. Funny, but three weeks ago getting her to come in for a milking meant pulling her in and then pulling her back out after it was over. Maybe she missed me also. Don’t tell Melissa, but the cow seems to love me.