A guest post by my Husby, Grant.
On the farm in the early 1960s, one of the daily chores – actually twice daily, morning and evening – was milking the cow.
For a few years we had a super-gentle, highly-milk-productive Jersey cow named Daisy.
In rotation with some of my brothers, our twice daily job was to go out into the north pasture, bring Daisy into the barn, and tease from her the twice-daily bounty of rich, creamy milk.
Milking Daisy wasn’t a terribly hard task. She always stood very quietly while one of us milk-boys would sit on the three-legged stool beside her and extract her bounteous supply.
Her only quirk – and I am convinced she knew exactly what she was doing – was that she quite enjoyed swishing her tail around to her human-occupied side, pretending to swat at flies but hitting us square in the side of the head with a rather hard and hairy-raspy appendage. I think it was her way of saying “hurry up, I haven’t got all day here!” Daisy loved her rich pasture much better than the annoying milking barn.
Daisy’s pasture was directly north of the barn, and she seemed to always migrate to the far side, at least a half mile away. When it was time for milking, we could always bet that she would be right in the far corner. Bringing Daisy in was the hardest part of the milking routine, because we always had to walk out to bring her in – about a mile or more, twice a day.
Then, as a young lad, I discovered the concept of laziness.
I realized that Daisy was a gentle enough soul that I could actually hop up on her back and she would let me ride! This cut down the twice-daily walking by half!!
I thought I was pretty smart.
Except that Daisy liked her pasture.
Oh, she would move alright when I was on her back, but she would head to yet another far corner of the pasture rather than towards the barn.
I decided that what Daisy needed was a steering wheel. So one day, going out to get Daisy, I took an old corn broom with me, hopped up on Daisy’s back, and used the broom to “steer” her, so to speak. She would start walking in a random direction, but if I wanted to steer her meanderings toward the left, I would cover her right eye with the broom – magic! She would move left. And of course the opposite happened when I needed to go to the right. Within days I had the system perfected, and Daisy had been trained to take me right to the milking stall in the barn, complete with my laziness and broom steering mechanism.
Daisy was with us for many years.
I am sure my bones are still made out of her wonderful, fresh milk.
When Diane and I married, we bought two more lovely Jersey milk cows largely because of the good memories I had of Driving Miss Daisy.