April 20, 2008 by Ellen Stimson in Uncategorized

For a long time now I have been coveting a cow. When you live in the country you do not stop wanting things. You may have moved here in part to keep your kids out of malls every Saturday, and you might be quite proud of the reduced consumerism of your family since the move, but it doesn’t stop you or any of the others from wanting things. It merely changes what you want. I see cows and so that’s what I want. Eli, likewise a country kid now, sees dirt bikes, and kids on four wheel things racing around the woods, and so he wants one of those. John, my sweet sensitive poet husband, unaccountably wants a truck. Nevermind that he doesn’t load things, or carry them. He sees trucks, knows all the local guys by their trucks, and by God he wants a truck. He is currently convincing himself that since we have chickens, a truck is actually required. After all a couple of times a year we need straw and it always makes a mess in the back of our car, but a truck…Maybe a turquoise truck, he is after all still a poet.

Me, I see these beautiful cows munching along the sides of the roads. They are lovely ladies really. There is an elegance and a quiet peaceful feeling about a cow. A wonderful young hippie couple have opened a boutique dairy just up the road and we go there now for our milk. It tastes as sweet as ice cream, and I don’t think I could ever of back to its watery store bought cousins. We get a gallon or so every week, and one half gallon we always let sit for a day or two so we can scrape the cream off the top for our coffee. There are few more romantic things than scraping your own cream off the top of your jar of milk, and swirling it into a cup of hot strong coffee which you carry out to the yard with you when you let the chickens out in the morning. It feels like a waking dream.

Now we don’t actually have room for a cow. We only have about two and a half acres and most of that is taken up with the house, and the chicken house, and lots of trees next to wild, almost, gardens. But this does not stop me from fantasizing about getting one. Or maybe I could share one with somebody who has more land. What I really want is a kitchen cow. These sustained pioneer families, and though cows are pack animals, some breeds are more easily acclimated to living in a one cow family. I think our cow would be perfectly content with our three dogs, Stuart, Eloise, and Pippi, the 10 chickens, Mabel Madge, Minnie, Edith, (you get the idea), and Zoe the cat. Plus all of the humans would interact with this fantasy cow. We and our critters are outside a lot during these warmer months. She’d have plenty of company, and since we have these keen old fashioned kitchen windows which open out, there would be a perfect place for her to dip her head in for a scratch and a carrot.

But alas there isn’t room for a barn. And the winters up here are hard. Cows need either a warming herd and a sturdy lean-to, or like our chickens, a cozy heated barn with cute flowerboxes outside its windows. (My idea of farming was decidedly city magazine influenced)

There are goats. They are surely cute and many of them produce wonderful rich milk. But goats can get out of anything humans build to keep them in, and I do not fancy chasing goats throughout my middle age. Neither do I appreciate the reliable, but ugly pens, that the real goat farmers use. And my little picket fences would be like a happy habitrail to any goat worth her salt.

But it is spring and the babies are being born. I have gone admittedly rather batty over animals since moving up here. I know this. But knowing it and helping it are two very different things. I simply cannot help it. I wonder if we could attach a little barn to our chicken house, more of an extension really, and they could share the space. I have no need or impulse for 100 pairs of shiny strappy sandals, but a cow. Oh a cow.
Maybe just a very little one. I’d like tol call her Tallulah….or maybe Lulu for short…


  • Bia

    Cute little cows grow up to be great, big cows don’t they? I’m a city girl, here, so don’t quote me on that.

    Also, I love the image of your chicken house complete with flower boxes. Useful things (like chicken houses, barns, etc.) can be pretty, too!

    Does that freshly scraped cream make a good cappuccino? If so, I’m coming over for coffee!

    God bless.

  • jamie

    I think you should get a little cow. And when it gets big–well, cross that bridge when you come to it! 🙂

  • Kellan

    We have some friends that have a ranch south of where we live that we visit from time to time. Recently we went down for the weekend and were fortunate to be there when many baby cows were being born – it was incredible and they are just adorable!! I can see the desire to have a cow – especially if you live where there are cows – and Talulah is a perfect name. I love this post – so cute (I loved, “Maybe a turquoise truck, he is after all still a poet.” – this was so funny!)

    Hope you have had a good weekend E – see you soon – Kellan

  • Anonymous

    You know, you could be the Goat Woman of Vermont… I don’t think the post is taken yet. And, really, I’m sure they are handsome tennants.


  • Peace is every step

    We also get our milk from a hippie couple. I love scraping the cream for tea, strawberries and peaches! We also make our own yogurt from it and it is THE BEST.

    Get yourself a cow. Your only regrets will be the pies.

  • library lady

    When I was an undergrad, my roommate lived on a farm. I spent a lot of weekends with her and I got to know cows. I tell you now, quite sincerely, that the last thing you want in your life or your yard is a cow. I could tell you all sorts of tales about cows, and they all add up to: DO NOT GET A COW. If you want to name something Lulu, get another chicken.

  • Angela

    You paint such a beautiful picture here it almost makes me want a cow too..

  • Family Adventure

    I love the little lambs, myself. But then they grow up…and get dirty and messy and not very bright.


  • Katrina

    Oh I have always wanted a Jersey cow. This post didn’t help….

  • Jaz

    It is their eyes I love. Goats would just not be the same. I want the mooing not that maaaaaing…
    Maybe those of us who love cows need a little bit more mothering in our lives….

  • Molls

    You live far from my city life. But I love reading about yours. I have always fancied a country life and in this fantasy I always have a cow. How big are they anyway???

  • katiedid

    god, i have always craved a cow too. we have much in common, me here int his highrise in nyc and you up there with your yard full of chickens.
    i long for soem of your life
    this should be a book, you know

  • beesknees

    How fattenig is this fresh milk that tastes just like ice cream?

  • drew

    25 pounds of manure a day..that’s a lot of

  • Anonymous

    I have a secret fantasy.I have always wanted to sleep with a cow.The warm smells, the old story about the manger,the snuggling and the mooing….if you get one can we have a slumber party?

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