Cows stand in Line: A short tale of two farmyards

Cows in the morning by Michiel 1972
Cows in the morning by Michiel 1972

Once Upon a Time two farmers lived on either side of a large valley

They were distantly related many generations back, but time and circumstance had shaped their ways and they were not so much alike these days.

In the middle of the valley was a mountain stream which fed a deep lake of clear fresh water. Each day the two farmers would lead their cows off the green pasture, back up the valley to the milking sheds, and sometimes they would wave to each other, and other times they would call out their news across the narrowest part of the stream.

Farmer Brown had a fine herd of fresians. They were his pride and joy, and he knew every one by name. Whenever his cows were calfing, Farmer Brown would be there to encourage and assist. If any became lame or sick, he would send immediately for the vet, and do his best to nurse them through. And when they became too old to produce any more calves, the kind hearted farmer turned them out to pasture, and looked after them in old age, in appreciation of all the years good service they had given him.

Farmer Giles had an altogether more business-like approach to farming. He had a large herd of Jersey cows, and they were famous throughout the county for their exceptionally rich, creamy milk. He employed a farm hand to look after them day to day. The milking parlour on the Giles Estate was state of the art. It was designed to extract every last drop of creamy milk, efficiently, and without waste. The cows had no names. They had numbers marked on their ears, and a record was kept of their produce, and the resulting profit was entered into a computer along with every expense incurred along the way. Their health and well-being was a priority and the best of the local vets attended them, and as long as any treatments needed were not experimental, or for a pre-existing condition, they could have whatever the vet recommended. These fine Jerseys continued to calf and produce milk until there was no useful productivity left in them, then they too were turned out on the high pastures until old age or sickness took hold of them, and the farm hand rounded then up so that they could be dispatched with a bolt through the brain.

Farmer Brown was not a rich man, although he was comfortable enough. He enjoyed his life, and he loved his animals. His battered old landrover was a regular sight on the hill-side. He knew that his neighbour made jokes at his expense, but it didn't trouble him.

Farmer Giles grew richer and richer as the years went on. He had the best of everything money could buy, and he cut a dashing figure round the countryside in his latest model landrover, and his fine smart clothes. His distant cousin on the other side of the valley was a constant source of amusement to him. 'He treats those cows as though they have feelings!' he would snigger. 'Doesn't he know they're just there to be milked?'

Dutch cows crossing the road by Ciell courtesy of Wiki Commons
Dutch cows crossing the road by Ciell courtesy of Wiki Commons

A questions about the cows in this story

Many thanks to Misha who inspired this hub in a recent comment

 

The True Story of Dairy Farming

More by this Author


Comments 33 comments

diogenes 7 years ago

I worked at Lady Anderson's farm once in East Grinstead. She had an award winning herd of Fresians. And four bulls. One was called Prince Philip and I was conned into washing his testicals by laughing farm hands. I was 15 at the time. I also got knocked out by a Jersey who horned me over the right eye. I'll wink at a cow now, but never turn my back on a bull. And what any of this has to do with your hub I don't know! But I liked it and will go for the kind farmer as cows as lovely creatures and nice to cuddle up to on a cold morning. Their breath is sweet, too.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

hi Bob, it's good to see you. I bet Prince Philip was a handful! LOL! (Probably more than a handful, but this is a family hub!) Truth to tell, this hub is more allegorical than factual, but I'm sure you know that anyway. It was written in response to a cryptic remark left by Misha on one of the American Healthcare hubs. Needless to say, the kind farmer would have my vote too.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas

Very nice story with a point. I like Farmer Brown.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Me too, Smireles. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.


pgrundy 7 years ago

Put me down as being from the Farmer Brown gene pool. I'll never be rich because it just isn't that important to me. What good is life without love and kindness? Money can't hug! lol!

Great hub Amanda! :)


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Sweet story, Amanda. Love its grounded, down to earth nature. Reminds me of life in North Dakota, where values seem more pure. There are Giles folk everywhere, though. Sigh. My heart says Farmer Brown and my practical side-- especially after listening to the health care debate on this side of the ocean and recognizing the horrors of poor health care-- says avoid being too negative on Mr. Giles. Still, I would err on the side of cows having feelings...


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Pam, you're so right, money can't hug, and life would be very hard without love and kindness. Or without friends, too, for that matter!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Storyrellersrus, that health care debate is set to run and run. There's even been quite a bit in the UK press about it. I've been following some of the related hubs, and a comment left on one of them implied that the Brits and Canadians were like cows waiting in line. It occurred to me that the analogy had more than one meaning, and hence this hub was born. Obviously, I'm not on your side of the Atlantic so I shouldn't judge, but I am very grateful for what we have here. We quite possibly, as a family, would not all be here today without the NHS!


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

LOL You are welcome Amanda, you made a good use of it! Look for more inspiration down the way. :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Misha, glad you found your way here. I thought you might miss it...


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

Reminded me of my childhood in the Forest of Dean when I used to help out on the local farm and bring the cows in for milking. Can't remember what happened to his cows once they stopped producing but they were well cared for as far as I know.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Brian, a childhood in the Forest of Dean sounds like an absolutely perfect start to life. I expect you had a lot of fun.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

What a sweet story. Sad that the world today is more Farmer Giles than Farmer Brown! I grew up drinking fresh, raw milk - and yes, our cows and hens all had names. Maybe it's a time that's passed or passing - will it ever come back, I wonder?


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

Funny thing, looks like I was the only one who voted for being a wild cow LOL. And no Amanda, your pre-set answer to the quiz is incorrect. We'll come back to it in several years, providing we both are still alive and able to communicate :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Let's hope so Shalini. The greed machine is always hungry and never sleeps. It would be lovely to return to a simpler way of life.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Misha, I meant to make that a poll, not a quiz, but it was late and I got in a muddle with it, so I left it as it was. Misha, as you and I are only a few days apart in age we've a fighting chance of being able to compare notes later in life. I look forward to it!


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Nice allegory, Amanda - I think that you know where I stand on the issue. I enjoy my free-range life in the Greek Mountains :D


Jess Killmenow profile image

Jess Killmenow 7 years ago from Nowheresville, Eastern United States

Maybe Sufidreamer is right. I voted to be a brown cow, but maybe wild cow is really where it's at. Thanks for a thought provoking story, Amanda!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Sweet, Amanda! I guess I feel a bit like Storytellersrus, and not because of any political debate, just because there is a practical side to me that would make me nod to Giles, even though my heart goes out to Brown. I wouldn't begrudge Giles that he tried to benefit from his cows, but I would begrudge him that he was a heartless idiot. Pretty much the same way I feel about people nowadays :-)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Sufi, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I expect, like me, you've been watching events unfold on the other side of the Atlantic. It's been interesting, to say the least!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Jess, personally I would choose Mr Brown, because even if I didn't get the very best of the best, I'd know that I'd always be cared for, even if my yield was down, or I became old and past it.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Elena, there speaks the voice of a true businesswoman! From a human perspective I can see why Farmer Giles just wants to get what he can out of his cows, and why he would choose not to care too much for those that are unproductive, but from a cow's point of view, I'd be pretty worried about what will happen if I only turn in a dribble of semi-skimmed instead of a gallon of full fat cream!


Ashley Joy profile image

Ashley Joy 7 years ago

Nice story! Really as long as I am not a feedlot cow I would be ok with it. Those that get to live in the fields have it made but those that end up standing in the lots are the ones that I would not want to be.


Raggits 7 years ago

Great hub story. Sounds like my 2 uncles. One had standard milking machines, each cow had her name, each was taken care of the best he could. The eldest uncle passed away, living a very fruitful, and working for Dillard's just to be around people, and enjoy life. #1 raised 13 children on this dairy farm. The second uncle had standard milking equipment. Only he finished milking out each cow by hand, not stripping the last of the milk. But keeping his 'ladies' comfortable. He raised 5 children on this dairy. Both men were successful and have lived or are living very happy, completed lives.

I love dairy farms. The smells, the animals.

GREAT HUB!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Ashley, you are so right, being a feedlot cow would be a hideous fate. At least Farmer Giles cows have an illusion of freedom, and they get to enjoy life so long as they stay productive!

Hi Raggits, Uncle number 2 sounds a real sweetie with his hand milking to keep his 'ladies' comfortable! I'm fond of cows and dairy farms myself, and I recently painted a large canvas of a cow to hang at home. It gets a lot of comments!


BJC profile image

BJC 7 years ago from Florida

Loved it!! From England originally and had forgotten how funny it is to see cows in the road.

BJC


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi BJC, I guess that the huge ranches you have in the States means that cows never have to walk along a lane. I love the English countryside and all our winding, leafy lanes, and the hedgerows full of hawthorn and cow parsley, and it's always a pleasure to see the cows forming an orderly queue on the way to the milking parlour.


kate Darcey 7 years ago

Loved your story! I have recently been dating a farmer who took me to meet his new calves. As I was bent over looking through the bars at the calves the farmer brought a new one to join them, I didnt see it coming and it ran straight in to my rear and knocked me flying! Then he showed me how you A.I a cow, definately different dating a farmer.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Kate, your farmer sounds like fun! One of my brothers reared cows for a while, and I was always surprised by how rough the calves' tongues are.


Sue Adams profile image

Sue Adams 7 years ago from Andalusia

What Al Gore omitted to mention is the enrormous impact of

Lifestock Farming on Climate Change. Want to know more? Watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZiInXFJsD0&feature...


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

I've come across a few campaigns to encourage more people to adopt a vegetarian, or semi-vegetarian lifestyle, so that we have less dependance on life-stock farming. It's surprising how much methane cows generate!


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Very good story. Thank You.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for stopping by Stars.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working