A few nights ago, my 13 year old son was about to orbit Mars when our new Guernsey dairy cow, Izzy, kicked over the 3 gallon milking pail which was almost full of creamy, frothy fresh milk. She kicked. He scrambled for the milk pail and missed and we watched the milk flow like a river all over the milking area. He jumped up shocked, upset and in disbelief that he just lost all that milk.
His older brother, who watched the whole thing unfold, offered comforting advice that was ill-timed, “Well…. you really shouldn’t cry over spilt milk.”
He told his dad…”But that was like $25 worth of milk she kicked over! I can’t believe she did that!”
He was so upset but it gave a good learning opportunity to practice “not crying over spilt milk”, literally. It’s upsetting after working so hard to get all that milk and then the very animal who you’re getting the milk from kicks the bucket over…and you’re right there watching the whole thing come crashing down in slow motion and can’t do a thing to stop it.
It’s really ridiculous how a silly incident can end up inciting “get the gun” and “off with her head” thoughts. Ohh, how we are creatures of extreme overreaction in many triffle-ly areas of life. After all, in this instance…there will be plenty of milk awaiting us eary in the morning. It’s really going to be O.K.
Everyone has triffle-ly spilt milk experiences in life: you lock your keys in the car, the AC breaks, you burn supper, your kid throws up in the middle of the night when you’re beat tired after a long stressful day. How many times do we cry and whine and fuss over “spilt milk” in our life? Those daily circumstances and situations test our character. Do we give it to God and ask for grace and mercy to be able to properly respond when things happen or do we buckle down and dig our heels in the ground hardened and angry at the things that happen in life.
This specific experience was an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and remind us look for the other “spilled milk” issues in our life and practice responding correctly.
Beyond that, here are some practical milk cow tips we talked about after the unfortunate milk loss:
1. Never put all your milk in one bucket when milking a new cow. When you are training a first time milk cow, it’s probably a good idea to pour out what you do have into a separate container so that when the cow does kick over the bucket, you don’t loose everything.
2. Never take your eyes off a new cow. Always watch her body language. Watch the muscle twitching in her legs, her tail swipes, the flies landing on her, how she is eating or not eating. It’s a hard job to juggle all of that and physically milk out gallons of milk at the same time.
3. Never assume one cow is like the other. All cows have their own personality. They have likes and dislikes. They are all very different and unique. It takes time and patience to know your dairy cow. Be watchful and observant.
4. Sometimes you lose milk just because that’s the way things are. It just happens sometimes no matter how watchful you are . Sometimes the cow kicks over the milk bucket and sometimes you trip over the goat laying in the field and break all the eggs. Be thankful when you have milk and be thankful when you don’t.
The encouraging thing is that she’s new to this milking thing and she is making progress every day 😉 We’re thankful for the life lessons we’re learning from our new milk cow.