Then Sophy kicked Mona Lisa
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In the meantime, Wallflower got sent to the right-hand milking aisle instead of to the left as usual. She hesitated (for she is well named) but might have taken the change in stride if she hadn't been mad at Joe, who was milking the right. Her pique with Joe is a week old, but Wallflower tends to be sulky. Seeing Joe she darted back to the left into a stall that Boo Boo was just about to enter, making Boo Boo cry.Skip to next paragraph
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To avoid chaos I moved Boo to the right and left Flower where she was. Boo is a lady, and I thought she would give up her stall politely. Breakfast is served on both aisles, after all. I forgot about Big Mac. At present we have two bulls - Sullivan, who is a gentleman, and McDonald, who is not. Boo Boo will tolerate Sully, but she considers Big Mac a real brute and protests his presence on the farm. Mac is kept in a bullpen on the right.
If she were human, Boo Boo would have been an opera star. Today she was outstandingly vocal as she bellowed forth about the tragedy of placing a well-bred cow like her anywhere near the likes of a seedy character like Mac. Joining Joe on the right to quiet her down (she had warmed to her theme), I neglected to secure Agatha.
I named Aggie after Agatha Christie, because her behavior is a constant mystery to us all. Today she ate only half her grain, then wandered off without being milked. Eventually I found her at the calf barn inspecting the new arrivals. To get to the calf barn she had had to invade turf belonging to the Disciplettes.
Last spring 12 heifers were born in one month and I named them after the 12 disciples. Since then I have lived in fear that the minister would find out, especially since the Disciplettes have reached a difficult age and become a roving youth gang. Perhaps they're just going through a phase. Matilda (for Matthew) and Beth-Emmy-Lou (for Bartholomew) were approaching in a menacing manner, and the others were ganging up behind Agatha. Agatha is spacey. She stood her ground, ignored the feisty heifers, stared at the sky, eyed the newborns, and then allowed me to lead her quietly away.
The rest of the milking passed without incident, except that Peppernose, who is usually docile, kicked me. I was in a bad mood by the time I milked her, and I think she knew it.
My friend Jennifer is an advertising executive in Madison, Wis. She speaks of management problems, office politics, and the daily grind. The last time I saw her she told me how lucky I was to live in the country and to be home all day.
It's 8:30 a.m. I've been awake for four hours. The milking is done, but my chores are just beginning. I think of Jennifer who is just now heading for her clean, air-conditioned office. Today I'll work in the heat and be ankle deep in manure. As I pull on my rubber boots I look out at the barnyard; the cows tiptoeing through the muck, three clouds playing peek-a-book with the silo, the sun burning a red hole between the leaves. And Jennifer thinks I'm lucky.
She's absolutely right.