The bovine offices: Meditation and milking

Good morning, cowgirls!” Sister Carol Bernice calls. We have two cows and a new calf on the farm. Syl, Jiffy and her daughter Mercy are lovely fawn-colored Jerseys.

“I think I was predisposed to love cows,” says Sister Carol Bernice. Her grandfather was the general foreman on the Victoria Regina Ranch in Wyoming. She remembers the look of satisfaction on her grandmother’s face as she spooned fresh cream into her coffee. At the time, little Carol knew that that looked like something good that she wanted too. Sister CB had no experience taking care of cows before we acquired Jiffy and Syl last spring. “Good thing Jiffy and Syl knew what they were doing. And like the cows, I am a creature of habit, and having our schedules coincide is delightful. I call my times with the cows ‘the bovine offices.’”

Jiffy and Syl are happy to see Sister CB. A low moan becomes an appreciative moo. She gives them a mixture of grain and molasses called “sweet feed,” and while the two adults lap up the treat, the calf is unsupervised by her mother for a moment. Little Mercy opens the bag of wood shavings and then explores my pad of paper with her tongue. Sister CB lights a small camp stove to heat water to wash the cows, and eventually she’ll make a cup of coffee for herself.