..the ad read about the Jersey milk cow being advertised. The ad said she was only about 2 years old, but may have a sight problem as she tends to "run into things".
Oh that's not a problem....I thought as I was reading it. I'm a bleeding heart for things not quite perfect. Really, it seems most anything must be slightly awry before the Universe sends it my way.
What got me was the ad was local, not the usual 25 to 50 mile distances that I have been seeing for these dairy cows.
I saw the ad come up online, but it was late into the evening, and even though there was a phone number listed, I didn't want to call someone that late. So.. I sent the e-mail and went to bed.
This morning there was a reply in my inbox from the seller with directions and two phone numbers! Her name was in her e-mail address...and for some reason, her name seemed so familiar to me. I was trying to place her name in my brain to see if she was perhaps a client of mine somewhere in years past. I couldn't quite place it.
Aside from the feelings of familiarity, I was a little hesitant on how to react to this e-mail, because deep down...I KNEW I really didn't have the extra money to spare on a dairy cow, especially with Christmas coming up..Halloween costumes to get...Thanksgiving groceries to buy...etc etc. As bad as I have been wanting one, the timing couldn't have been worse, and I felt myself regretting wasting this lady's time.
On the other hand...she DID say "best offer" in her ad, so I thought hhmmm... perhaps I could just go and look (which would temporarily satisfy my urge to be near a dairy cow and talk homesteading with someone)...then I could tell her to let me know what offers she gets in and then I could tell her "thank you but it's out of my price range". Yup, it was all planned out!
After a confirmation call with the lady, I was on my way down the road to see this cow. The entire way I was thinking to myself "Rachael, I know you....you are going love this cow and then you are going to come home and start thinking of ALL the things you can sell to buy this animal...yup...you're thinking it now....'What can I put on Ebay?'"
And ya know what? I wasn't lying! I WAS thinking of all the things I could scrape together to sell for some money. Ugh..I know myself too well, and I hadn't even set eyes on this cow yet (Isabelle has some baby clothes I could auction, and those candle molds I don't like, and maybe those back issues of Countryside magazines I have acquired over the years)..
10 minutes later I am pulling off the rural highway and going down a pot-holed driveway. I was met by the worlds friendliest but most obnoxious barker of a Bassett Hound that let the entire farm know...THERE WAS SOMEONE HERE.
I got out and the hound escorted me, barking the entire way, to the front door of the little white ranch style house. I knocked and moments later an older farm gal answered the door and stepped out. She had such a pleasant and humble aire about her, but I didn't KNOW her like I thought perhaps I did. No, I had never seen her before in my life...yet she still felt familar to me. Some sort of connection was happening and the hairs on my arm lifted slightly.
We greeted, and she led me down to the pasture where the heifer was at, while the obnoxious Bassett chased a tormented tuxedo mama cat under the branches of a cedar tree. "Your hound has ADHD." I joked and to which the lady heartily agreed.
We reached the pasture.
"Little cow!" she called out, and out of the tallgrass and weeds, all by her sweet lonesome, came the littlest Jersey girl up to the call of her name.
By first glance I could tell she was not quite 100% Jersey, but plenty enough to be called so and worthy of a family milk cow! She was just a darling thing, and the lady was right..she did sort of act like she couldn't see all that well. There was nothing superficial on either of the eyes, although one eye looked slightly sunk in compared to the other. Whatever it was...it did not affect her having an amazingly friendly personality, nor did I believe it would it affect her milk in the future.
"I bought her at an auction a year ago",the lady explained, "and she was like that then and has just always been that way."
The lady and I discussed not just the cow, but our families and her grandchildren, and "kids these days", and growing things, and cheese making, and canning, and herbs...and after awhile I was so consumed in conversation that I had nearly forgotten about the little cow!
My heart sank a bit..knowing I couldn't afford her anyway, and I felt rather guilty taking up so much of this wonderful lady's time. It was time to "get to it" and get back to the business at hand.
"Well," I stammered. "Have you gotten other e-mails on her?"
She dropped her arms and shoulders "I can't even tell you how many!" She laughed with an exasperation.
This was bittersweet news, since she did say she would take the best offer, and I didn't have much to offer anyway. Infact, I didn't offer anything. "Why don't you just let me know who gives you their best offer and I'll see after that if I can afford her.."
She stood in silence for a moment, looking at her dear little cow whom she had raised from a calf. She scratched her chin a bit, much like an Irish farmer would scratch his whsikers while contemplating a counter offer on the sale of a plow horse.
"You know...", she said. "I'd just be happy if you traded me in milk next year."
Huh??!! I couldn't process the words that came out of her mouth! Was I hearing this correctly?? No, not possible. Huh??!!
"I LOVE raw cows milk, nothin' better," she says. "You give me raw milk here and again from her...and you can have her."
It took several minutes for this to fully sink in, but when it did...I couldn't choke back the tears, they just fell on their own. I hugged her, and was speechless, but I was able to mutter a very grateful and teary "Yes!!"
After leaving the pasture, we continued to visit and walk her property. She showed me the blackberry bushes that were growing like crazy. "I'll get you started with some if you want them." she offered pleasantly.
We then went to her herb garden by her back deck and she ever so gently bent down and snipped off a lovely sprig of lavendar and handed it to me. "I love lavendar in so many things," she added as I sniffed the fresh sprig. The smell was so intoxicating that it recorded the entire memory of the day into the scent of lavendar.
It was then that I started to sense the likeness and presence of Tasha Tudor, and the hairs on my arms raised slightly, just as it had when I had first met her. She looked nothing like Tasha, and not ready for her crone days either. She was a younger grandmother.
By the end of the visit, she had invited me to make cheese with her in the spring, and I offered to provide the goat milk!
I cried all the way home, and have since returned while the lady was at work (she gave me permission) to take photo's of our new precious little cow (who we'll be bringing home Monday)...and to leave a jar of fresh raw honey on the lady's doorstep.
Our new baby! A name is forming in the Universe....you will have to wait a bit...
A great dairy cow build..
Love our girl..