Crazy Cow

Photo by Josh
Crazy Cow loaded inside the trailer the day before slaughter. Photo by Josh

Every Tuesday, Sean or Gregory make a trip to a slaughterhouse in Eagle Bridge, NY. The day before, the whole team works together to load in about three pigs into a trailer. Josh and I have been here for two weeks now, and we’ve loaded pigs for slaughter twice. I have had no emotion realizing these animals will be killed for consumption. But today was a little different. When I came back from milking this morning, a cow was also loaded in the same trailer for harvest. Unlike the pigs at North Plain Farm, we have a much closer relationship with the cows. The cow for slaughter today was too wild for milking, but she was given a name fit for her attitude: Crazy Cow.

All of the dairy cows have names. Jessie, who used to be a milkmaid in Arizona, told me they all have different personalities. She said within time I would be acquainted with all of them. After two weeks I’m getting to know them well. Dame is a bully, Orka knows when she’s done getting milked and tries to kick the machine off, Bee is ticklish, Joy is known to give roundhouse kicks, and Lia is a complete pain in the butt.

Crazy Cow has her own story. She was pregnant when she moved to Blue Hill Farm last Spring. Sean took her in from a friend who needed help taking care of her. They had an agreement that Crazy Cow would only be in North Plain temporarily. She had her calf shortly after arriving. Sean’s friend was unable to take them back and they had been living at North Plain for almost a year. Crazy Cow was transferred into the trailer yesterday afternoon. When Jessie and I walked to the fields this morning we heard Crazy Cow’s calf mooing. After a whole year being together, his mom was gone. We herded the dairy cows towards the barn and the anxious calf tried to follow us, loudly crying along. We went about our day and returned back to North Plain Farm for breakfast.

As I was getting out of the red truck I could hear Crazy Cow mooing inside the trailer. I saw her head through the openings, her eyes bulged nervously as she tried to look outside. I could feel her panic. I stood outside watching her. I looked around the farm and everything else was still and quiet. Gregory was working on the cabin and Jessie was on her way back to the basement. Our lives were the same, but Crazy Cow’s was about to end. A few moments later, Sean entered the truck and drove away for Eagle Bridge with Crazy Cow and the three pigs.

Tonight for dinner, Gregory made slow-cooked pork ribs. While everyone was commenting how delicious it was, Sawyer suddenly asked, “Is this from Crazy Cow?”

Jessie answered, “No, it’s from pigs.”

And three year old Sawyer said, “Thank you pigs for your life!”

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5 Responses to Crazy Cow

  1. Terry Gerritsen says:

    It makes me sad, seeing this. Sometimes I think I could almost be a vegetarian because of what animals have to go through. But then I get hungry for meat!

  2. CN says:

    Marya, your writing here is so perfectly executed. You set the scene so masterfully to build the emotional tension of being witness to this moment. And then wonderfully eased your readers down with Sawyer’s irreverent innocence. I really enjoyed reading this. And as someone who has never read your writing, I’m really glad to have discovered it.

    Having said all of that, I’m soooooo sad for Crazy Cow!!!!!!!

    • Marya says:

      Thank you so much Chad! That means a lot to me, especially coming from you. Any pointers will be greatly appreciated.

      I learned more about Crazy Cow the other day. Her real name was Burdock, and she was actually really sweet. All you had to do was approach her calmly and quietly. She was also milked before arriving to Blue Hill.

  3. Jerry G. says:

    NoOo! I’ll rescue her! Just like I was!

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