It’s a Girl’s Night Out, Honey There Ain’t No Doubt…

… and now you’ve got that awesome song by The Judds stuck in your head.  You’re welcome.

So we finally have internet back at our house.  That was 2 weeks of my internet-less life I’ll never get back.  And I’m not going to lie and say I loved not having internet, that I got so much other stuff done and that I’m walking away from the online world.  Nope.  Not happening.  Still need The Interweb.

In other news, we had an important event at our house today.  Two, actually.  The first was our daughter’s 3rd birthday.  I officially have a “threenager”and man, am I ever pumped about it (coughsarcasmcough).  Don’t get me wrong – my first-born is very agreeable, comparatively speaking; quite the sweetheart, to be perfectly frank.  But, in the depths of despair brought on by the end of her favourite TV show (Buh-buh-bubble gup-gup-guppies!  Bubble-bubble-bubble guppy-guppy-guppies!), she can be a real drama queen.  But today, I showered her with even more attention and love and hugs than she normally gets.  And it was great (no sarcasm this time).

Here she is on her brand new big girl bike!  By the end of the day, she was even pedaling it down the driveway by herself (she IS only 3, after all).

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 Our little girl is 3!

The other important event at our house today has to do with the cows.  Nearing the end of chores tonight, my husband popped his head into the house to let us know that they were going to let the cows out when they were done milking.  On our farm, our cows – the 50 that we’re currently milking – call our tie stall barn home.  That means they are tethered to a rail, side by side, but have their own space to stand and lie down, eat, drink and be milked.  We don’t usually let our cows outside (especially during the winter).  Cows are very finicky, very particular animals.  They don’t like to be too cold or too hot.  They don’t like rain or snow or really hot sun.  So keeping them happy (and therefore, healthy) can be challenging.

For us, this – keeping the cows happy – meant a major renovation of our barn and facilities about a year and a half ago.  Without going into too much detail, we changed and added to our 100-year-old barn to allow for better light, more room and much better air flow so the cows are, well, happier and produce more, better quality milk (which is good for you, the consumer, as well as us).  So far, they are loving the new barn and are doing really well.

But another way to help them stay happy is to let them outside every once in a while.  As I said, we don’t usually let them out, which is especially true over the winter – unless it’s a warmer, really sunny, no-wind-or-wind chill kind of day (which is rare).  And even then, we only let them out into the barnyard because the pasture is full of snow and that’s just a disastrous cow-stuck-in-snowdrift waiting to happen, so, no.  Instead, we let them out to pasture at night during the warmer months.  And the first time they got to go out to their pasture this year was tonight.

It’s always really cool to watch the cows go out to pasture for the first time.  You can see how much they enjoy being able to graze on the grass and be out in so much open space.  Some cows will even kick their feet up and jump around, or start pushing and play fighting with other cows!  It’s pretty entertaining to see, that’s for sure.  We even make sure to call my husband’s grandparents – they milked cows on our farm until my in-laws bought it from them in the 80s – so they can come watch the cows be let out each spring.

Now, I understand that you might be reading this and thinking that it’s not fair that the cows are kept inside, and/or that we should let them out because to do otherwise is cruel.  But before you make a judgement like that, you’ve got to understand something about cows.  Cows are animals of routine and of schedule.  They do not take well to change (if they take to it at all, and some don’t).  To give you an example – and this is extreme but true and happens all the time – if a dairy barn is on fire, the cows who actually get out safely will often go back into the burning barn because that’s where they know they will be safe.  Even though it’s burning to the ground around them, the cows go back in because the barn is their home and where they feel the most safe.

Cows are happiest when they know what they know, and are kept in a solid routine.  And we just want to keep our cows happy.  So even though our girls may be kicking up their heels when they’re let out for the first time, they are more than ready to come back inside when morning comes.  At that time, we open the door to the barn and they all walk in, right back to their own stall (most of the time. Some mornings, it’s not nearly that easy).  They know exactly where they need to go to get back to their own little space and are happy to be there once they are.

So tonight, as I climb into bed after a hectic day of celebrating our 3-year-old daughter, our window next to the pasture will be wide open (it’s a lovely 13 degrees Celsius – perfect sleeping weather) and I’ll drift off to sleep listening to the steady munch-munch-munch of our cows as they graze and enjoy their evening.

Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the phrase girls’ night out…

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The cows out on pasture for the first time this spring.


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