“Some days you're the pigeon and some days you're the statue.”
(Get it? Pigeons poo on statues? So some days you are flyin' high and pooing without a care and other days you are stuck in one place just getting poo splattered all over you?)
Well, I won't say that today was a statue day, but it sure wasn't a flyin' high day. I'd say there was probably more poo than flying. So call it what you will.
And that's nothin' special, is it? I'm sure 1,023,811 of you out there have also had days like this. Maybe today WAS your day like this. But from the very moment I got up this morning, I knew I was going to be resembling a statue.
Stuart woke me up 7 minutes early, which really got my goat. Doesn't he enough how precious those 7 minutes are at 4:53 a.m.? Doesn't he know that mentally I can withstand getting up at 5:00 a.m. but that even a moment before makes me shutter in agony?
Reluctantly, I peeled myself from underneath the down comforter, slipped on my coveralls, BOGS, XXL milking coat, and fleece hat. I slowly drug myself down the cold, steep driveway and into the barn. As I do every morning, I handed Stuart the key to the locked gate, which he then entered to halter and tie up Sal for me. I proceeded to carry my milk bucket, wash bucket of hot soapy butter, milking stool, and bucket of oats into the milking parlor. Sort of like a clown juggling fifty balls – but I'll be danged if I'm takin' two trips to carry it.
Once I arrived in the milking parlor, I had a brief moment of joy when I realized how clean Sal had stayed overnight. Some days, she lays right in her poo and leaves the entire side of her body and udder as dirty as a New York City phone booth. Other days, she's dry and clean as a whistle – I like those days. I finally purchased a bale of straw to put in her stable and could tell she was quite pleased with that fact because she looked dry, warm, and clean. Ah. Sweet moments of flying high.
But then. I sat down to milk.
Normally, when I give Sal her grain bucket, it's like starting a countdown on the clock. From the second she begins to eat, I've gotta get in there and get to milking! She's a pretty patient cow but if she gets done too far before I'm finished milking, she'll let me know she's not very happy about it. Girlfriend has expectations of me. And being a quick milker is one of them.
Today, though, was odd. She didn't eat at all. With the teeniest tip of her tongue, she lapped up a few grains of oats and then slowly moved her head to the side. She was rejecting my oats and I, somehow, still had to milk.
Cows are creatures of habit, you see. They like routine and they like things to be done in a particular way. So if Sal had nothing to eat during milking than milking would soon become a statue-moment. Which it did.
(Yes, I'm still talking about the pigeon analogy. Get over it.)
Even though I gave her a flake of hay to nibble on while I milked and left the grain bucket within her reach, she used her front hooves to kick straw up in my bucket and used the back ones to duke it out with knees. But if there's anything more important than routine for a dairy cow it's the physical act of getting the milk out of that udder.
Have you ever lactated? Well I have. Twice, thus far. And literally, one of the WORST FEELINGS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD is the feeling of engorgement.
Come hell or high water, I was going to milk this darn cow.
And so I sat, quickly grasping my bucket out of the way every time a hoof or wad of hay came flying.
For a few minutes, I worried about her health. Was she sick? Did she have a stomach ache? Fever? But then she kicked up another wad of hay at me and I quite feeling bad for her.
I still sorta felt bad for her.
After I finished milking (the best that I could), I untied Sal so that she could go and eat her breakfast of hay, which she did. After a few hours, I went back down to the barn to check on her. She had eaten her morning breakfast and was sipping some water. She seemed alert, her eyes looked clear, her head was up, and she was vocal. All good signs. I checked for diarrhea or bloating and saw signs of neither. More good signs.
I came back up to the house after checking on Sal to find a kitchen full of dirty dishes, crayon drawings of “princesses” on the dining room table, four loads of dirty laundry on my bed waiting to be folded, and a to-do list so long it was beginning to resemble the Great Wall of China. And I still had to run to the post office, the Chiropractor, to take milk to my local farmer friend, to deliver a signed cookbook, and the bank. Buuuummmmer.
I spent the rest of my day working away: baby turds were cleaned off the floor, chicken feed was made and sprinkled out to some hungry hens, bills were paid, dishes were washed.
(Though, I'll be honest, the laundry is still sitting on my bed. Shh. Don't tell.)
I never felt “done” or accomplished or great. My little Georgia was challenging me to no end. The car is a mess. There are errands that didn't get run. And I'll be danged if I'm not slowly accumulating things on my front porch in true trashy fashion.
And yet here I sit.
I'm not folding laundry. Or cleaning up said trashy thing.
Instead, I'm writing to you in hopes that you've had statue days too.
At the end of a statue day, I don't want to be productive. Instead, I want to sit. Perhaps, one could say, “wallowing in the poo of the day”.
YES. This is the day that the Lord has made and I will REJOICE and be glad in it.
But that doesn't mean I won't be hoping, and PRAYING, for a less poo filled day tomorrow.
I mean that literally and figuratively.