Thursday, August 26, 2010
Kismet: when everything falls into place and the universe seems to align in front of you. On my last morning in Yellow Springs, Ohio, I drove north up Route 68, passing Young's Jersey Dairy for the last time. You saw what happened there in my previous post. Slurp, slurp. Ice cream for breakfast.
As I approached the dairy, a big door opened in the milking barn and the girls poured out, fresh from their morning milking relief. (Young's milks their cows twice a day).
My dad grew up on a farm not far from Thornton, Iowa. Here's the old barn where he grew up.
Their cows were Jerseys. For him, and for me, no other milk cow compares. They produce milk with among the highest butterfat of all--Guernseys are right up there, too. Not only that, but they are exceedingly pleasant in temperament.
And they are beautiful, deerlike, airbrushed in shades of buttercream tan, with black or white points. These little gals are all tarted up like they're going to the fair--see those shaved polls and spines? They're show cows, because they're on display every day right where the ice cream and cheese made from their wonderful milk is sold.
The girls were curious about me, this woman who spoke so kindly to them and seemed so glad to stop and talk with them. I wanted to hear about their lives, and they told me with their eyes, their demeanor, and their shining coats that they had good ones.
Sweet breath huffing...
Just before her tongue lashed out for the lens.
The girls gathered under a couple of maples, enjoying the deep shade on the already-hot morning. This makes for a difficult photographic situation--your subject in deep shadow; the background brightly sunlit, but the Canon G-11 was more than up to the challenge. It picked up background colors in Landscape mode that my Rebel couldn't have. This is probably the most difficult light regime you could select, and I was impressed with its performance. I juiced the photos up just a bit in post-production, but the point is the camera caught some color in that blindingly bright and contrasting landscape, and that is something to remark upon. And it is nothing my Digital Rebel TSi could do. The G-11 continues to amaze me.
They set about replenishing the milk factory.
The gentle sound of tearing grass.
One of them had such a huge udder that I thought she must've been skipped in the milking. She had to sort of walk around it. So I looked around inside and spotted one of the employees who looked like she probably works with the cattle (in contrast to the dewy teens working most everywhere else). She told me that the older cows get enormous bags that don't shrink down after milking. Oh, that made me feel better.
A Jersey's productive milking life can be 13-14 years--much longer than a Holstein's.
It's not a bad life for a cow, all things considered. I can't say I'd want a huge milk-producing organ hanging down between my hinders, but I suppose you get used to anything.
Still, the grass outside the fence is always greener, even for a contented cow.
You beautiful little thing. Look at your eyes, your caramel hair.
Here ends our little trip to Young's Jersey Dairy, Yellow Springs, Ohio. If you visit, order black walnut ice cream for me, for Dad, and for you!