Thursday, May 03, 2007

The cow says MOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday was unbelievably, incredibly gorgeous. It was one of those very rare days when the sky is rich, deep blue and cloudless, and it's warm enough to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt, but it's not too hot.

To take advantage of this glorious day, after picking Peanut up from school, I took the girls to Fosterfields, a working historical farm that has a plethora of baby animals running about at this time of year.

We went last year, and it was a huge hit. Peanut remembered the baby animals very well and was so excited she could barely keep still on the drive there.

"Mommy, I am going to run right up and KISS the baby lambs," she exclaimed. "And I'm going to kiss the COW too."

"You are? What about the piglets?"

"No, they are too muddy," she responded (audible eye roll fully in play). "But I can't wait to KISS the COW. I'm going to kiss that COW right on the head!"

So we arrive, pay, and walk down to the barnyard. On the way we see some horses, geese and two very big, very fat and very stinky pigs.

Then we saw the piglet (only one this year - bummer) and watched it suck down a huge bottle in literally less than a minute.

Finally, we came upon the barn where the sheep, lambs, cows and calves were being held. Two of the cows were being milked, which both fascinated and horrified Peanut.

"What's that they're taking out of the cow's butt, Mom?"

"That's not her butt, honey; that's called an udder and that's milk."

long drawn out pause

"Who drinks that milk, Mom?"

"Well, we do. Remember when we talked about how milk comes from cows? Well, that's how they get it."

second drawn out pause

"Can I have some?"

Not really feeling much like explaining the entire pasteurization process, I just said, "it’s not quite ready yet." Thankfully, that was good enough.

We then went and ran around the fields, washed some "clothes" (really just scraps of cloth) on a washboard and hung them on a line to dry, churned butter in the farmhouse, and pumped water from an old pump.

After an hour and half, we were all exhausted. Loaf climbed into the stroller on her own and we started making our way toward the exit.

"WAIT!" shouted Peanut. "I didn't kiss the cow! I want to say goodbye to the cows!"

So I parked the stroller in the barn's entrance and walked inside. The barn was dark. All of the cows were now in pens along the walls, but looked over the top of their stalls to check us out.

"Can you lift me up, Mommy? I want to see the cow and say goodbye."

So I lifted her up and there she was, eyeball to eyeball with the absolutely enormous head of a cow.

"Isn't she pretty, honey?" (And she was. She was a soft brown and had big gentle eyes rimmed with long eyelashes).

"Can I kiss her now, Mommy?"

And before I could begin to explain all the reasons why she could not in fact kiss the cow, the animal handled things for me by mooing. Very loudly. About two-and-a-half feet from Peanut's head.

In the barn, the sound reverberated and seemed even louder and Peanut just about jumped out of her skin.

Clutching tightly onto my neck, eyes as big as saucers, she looked at me and said eagerly, "I'm ready to go now."

As I pushed the stroller back toward the parking lot, Peanut was completely silent. Finally, I asked her what she thought of the farm.

"That cow is much, much, much bigger than me," she said.

"Yes, they're big. Did you like when the cow mooed at you?"

"No, I did not."

"She was just saying hello, honey. That's how cows talk."

Considering this for a moment, she stopped, looked up at me and said, “I don’t want to talk to anymore cows. And I’m definitely not going to kiss one.”

Poor, sad, misunderstood cows.

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