When I was a kid, I loved following my dad around on the farm as he went about his chores. He milked the cows both morning and evening and both times, I accompanied him to the dairy barn where I fed hay to the young calves housed in one of the pens. One evening during the winter, I was bundled up against the cold, wearing my snow suit with its hood, a pair of matching pants and the pair of red knit mittens one of my grandmothers had given me for Christmas that year. I think I was about six at the time. As I handed some hay to one of the calves, she took the hay and my mitten and proceeded to chew both up. I yelled for my dad, but he was too busy with the milking to come to my aid. I was both sad and angry at theft by bovine.
“I hope she dies,” I said to my parents, making reference to the calf who stole the mitten.
They thought what I said very funny, although I couldn’t see much humor in having to go through the winter with only one mitten.
All the calves in that pen were Holsteins, so it was difficult to tell one from the other, but that nasty little calf had a distinguishing feature: one set of eyelashes were white, the other black. I remember carrying my grudge against her until she grew into one of the cows we milked. She didn’t die as it turns out, and she was a good milk producer. Neither of these attributes impressed me.
None of these cows look guilty, do they?
I promised last week on this blog that I would run a contest to give away a book. Here’s the contest: name as many farm tractors produced in the United States between the years of 1940 and 1970 as you can. The first person naming the most will win a ebook copy of the newest Eve Appel mystery, Mud Bog Murder which will be released by Camel press September 1. I’ll determine the winner and award the book after the release date.
Eve and Madeleine find that mud bogs hide more than just swamp vegetation when Eve catches the disembodied head of the rancher renting her land for the mud bog races.