I've been mulling over what to do now that my cow is gone. My mind has thought of little else lately; forever a plaguing question that quietly bubbled at the back of my mind. I'd wake up at 1:30am, and 3:30am to feed the little goat kid, and while sitting on the rug in front of the wood stove, in the dark with a baby goat nickering for me, I'd think... And wonder what I was to do with myself.
I considered all my options, I came up with new ideas, I looked at old plans, and in the end came to one very specific conclusion: I have to stick to dairying. It just has to be.
Everyone has something that speaks to them. Something that holds their undivided attention and gives them that sparkle to their eye. For me, it is dairying. It is cows, goats, milk filters, and vacuum pumps. It is alfalfa hay, stainless steel, glass jars, and silicon inflations. I can't do anything else on this small farm unless I have the dairying to anchor me. Without my milk cow, everything suddenly seemed dull and colorless. The dream of having a flock of Texel sheep no longer seemed interesting... The idea of turkeys was unappealing. I wanted my cow back. And until I have a cow again, I feel unable to do anything at all... I need the routine of twice a day milking. I need the familiarity that comes with having a cow. After 5 years of milking dairy animals (four years with goats, one year with a cow), I've found that I'm just as bad as the cows themselves when it comes to wanting and needing routine. But when my world around me seems to be falling apart, whether it's family problems, personal problems, natural disasters, world catastrophes, or what-have-you, I have that wonderful familiarity of milking chores. To know that while things may be falling apart, I have stability, and a sense of "sameness" waiting for me in my barn. My subconscious automatically knows what to do when I'm milking. Every part of what I do is so ingrained in me that it's no longer a chore, but a wonderful routine that reminds me that I have an anchor in my life. While something in life is going wrong and I'm left in a whirl, I still have that grounding time twice a day where I can let go of every thought and focus on the task at hand. I need my milking time like a person needs water. Without milking chores, I'm like a ship drifting in the bay. I don't know what to do with myself.
I feel lost.
When I milk, everything literally has to be "just so". The cow has to be milked just so, the vacuum line coiled just right, the milking machine gets taken apart in the exact same way every time, and the jar lids *have* to match. I can't have a gold colored ring with a silver lid.
I think a lot of this drives my family crazy, but I really can't help myself. Habit is stronger than will. I like my routine. I go out at the exact same time every day to milk, and I honestly don't know who gets more upset in the rare occasion that I'm late: The cow, or me.
So as I've considered what to do with myself now that Mattie is gone, I've found that the answer is staring at me: I need another cow. I wince slightly at the thought; it's only been seven days since Mattie died. But I know that I won't be happy with any other farming venture until I have a cow to anchor me again.
This is just the way I am. I have to have dairying in my life. It has to be.