Monday, June 06, 2005

The 401-Cow Account

Listen, we can't all be thralls to the system.

What is a 401-Cow account? The cash money put away that would buy another pregnant and/or lactating cow.

Why would one need a 401-Cow account? Because feces happens.

Ok, really, cows have a limited lifespan and something could happen at any time, you never know. She could fall over dead. She could not get pregnant again. If you want a cow, you’ve got to have the cash for it.

Why would one want a cow in the first place? Well, because cows are sacred in India. A cow is sacred in India because it produces way more food alive than dead. A reproducing cow, lactating and bearing young, has been a real boon to our homestead economics. We slaughtered her calf and that was a great deal of extra high quality meat. We milk her and provide ALL of our dairy from that -- and we’ve come to use a lot of dairy because it is so plentiful. Sweet milk, butter, buttermilk, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, all sorts of cheeses, the base for bread (adding nutrition), alfredo sauce that you wouldn’t believe for the pasta last night! You get the idea. Nobody eats so well as we do, that’s something I believe.

And she doesn’t only feed us, but her extra milk (or the whey from making cheese), has large fed and fattened two pigs and will likely contribute to more pigs. And also supplemented our other animals’ feed.

And her manure has fertilized our entire farm. Because of her and the other grazing animals, our pastures are not mowed with petroleum burning behemoths and are not fire hazards and are not reverting to forestland either.

Plus, I love her.

That steady check is just a weight hanging around your neck, the shackles on your own personal slave ship. And debt is the master’s whip.

But there are underground railroads out of whatever you call that place you live where you really don’t want to be.

The 401-Cow account is not our ticket on that railroad.

But it is our get out of jail free card.


Sky Niangua said...

Your post reminded me of my times at my grandfather's farm.
I always bucket nursed the baby calves when he wanted his milkers back. Can't eat veal today because of it. Must be painful to slaughter her baby.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Her baby was not a veal but about 7 months old. I was already milking, just sharing the milk with the calf (I put the baby up for the night, milked in the morning, then turned them out together during the day) when the calf developed a blockage in one of her stomachs. She would have died eventually. We slaughtered her instead. In June! We had planned to slaughter her in about December -- when it was cold anyway. Slaughtering a large animal yourself in the heat is, well, even harder than doing it in the cold. Ah, but she was delicious. And it was sad, but it was good too.