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The Manure Spreader: Show Cow

Tim Moffett for Progressive Dairyman Published on 24 November 2017

If you were in 4-H or FFA, you probably still remember the first animal you took to the fair. I really wanted to show my pet pig at the fair, but my parents were right. The whole idea of a fat kid leading a pig around on a leash … nobody needs to see that.

Like most first loves, we have great memories of good times and laughter right to the break-up. What? Three dollars a pound? Take ’em! My brother has one too. You wanna buy it? Innocence was lost that day when I sent “Hank Jr.” to town to retire.

As we get older, it’s hard to remember all the livestock that have passed through these gates over the years, but we do remember some of them. Once again, like our dating lives, we only remember the crazy ones. Just like a bad relationship, we think it will get better. At least legally, with livestock, freezer camp is always an option.

I cannot tell you how many cows my brother and I have milked through the years, but I can tell you the breed, tag number and vertical reach of a select few. For instance, back in our younger days we milked in a stanchion barn. We had one particular giant of a Holstein cow.

The nickname we had for her was quite colorful and very accurate. Her tag number was No. 1. I’m pretty sure we bought this cow from a dispersal sale straight off a donkey ranch. She could kick with both feet at the same time at eye level. After a couple months, she mellowed out some.

Ironically, my brother was the only one quick enough to put a machine on her without getting knocked across the barn. One day, during a storm, lightning hit the barn, and the phone on the wall rang at the same time. Sixty-four cows in headlocks all got shocked, and milk machines went flying.

The next day, it was business as usual. We were milking a few hundred cows at the time and had no idea which cows were in the barn during the lightning strike and which were not. Until one sunny afternoon, my brother was just starting to hang the machine on ol’ No. 1, and the phone rang again.

No. 1 apparently had the memory of an elephant and associated that ringing phone with the electric chair. She kicked both feet high, low, sideways and even cross-legged. The milk machine busted into pieces. My brother had nowhere to hide.

While she was kicking, her foot got caught in his pants pocket. They were both trying to get away from each other, and all of a sudden my brother was thrown out of the ring like WWE WrestleMania. The battle was over. Standing there in only his rubber boots and underwear, he saw his pants on the ground next to ol’ No. 1 and said, “Girl, I think it’s time we broke up.”

So, remember, sometimes in a bad relationship you may not just lose the shirt off your back.  end mark

Tim is a Florida dairy farmer and comedian. Visit him at Tim the Dairy Farmer.

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