My arms were full as I walked into the outdoor dining room to put the last few bits and pieces on the table for our guests BBQ dinner. I had earlier delivered their salad, a package of lamb cutlets and a loaf of freshly baked bread to the table and opened up the concertina doors.
‘Strange,’ I thought as I went to put down my load, ‘that’s not how I had left the salad herbs. And where’s the tomato? Why is capsicum over there?’ Then with rising panic, ‘Where’s the meat?’ ‘Oh my goodness, a wild animal has been in here! It’s been on the table and has stolen the meat!’ My mind was racing. ‘What could it have been? A Quoll a Tasmanian Devil?’

Then I saw the package of meat on the ground under the table. So whatever it was it wasn’t a meat eater. I started to pick through the debris and noticed that everything was wet. Not quite water… what was it? DROOL!

Long strands of ghost buster like ectoplasm. COW SPIT! Girlie had raided our guest’s dinner and if we needed any more proof there was a big muddy hoof print on the mat.

The guilty party

The guilty party

Girlie is our big bellied, quiet natured Jersey cow. Our neighbour up the back, Leo, gave her to us when he was destocking his place. He had all beef cows and this one Jersey. We noticed her a while back because a Jersey in a bunch of beef cows tends to stand out like a princess in a tiara at a CFMEU stop work meeting. Leo reckoned she wouldn’t be worth much if sold at market so wondered if we would like to have her. She is a bit past her prime being 13 years old but so serene and unflappable, just as we would all like to be in our older years. We looked into her eyes, rubbed her tummy, and fed her apples. Would we like to have her? Yes please.

Our Girlie

Our Girlie

When she first came to us she was still producing some milk and I fell even more in love with her when she calmly let me milk her. Most cows will carry on in a new place because they aren’t good with change but not our Girlie. Of course there has to be a deal struck for the milking transaction. The deal is, we give her a bucket of chaff to eat and she stands still while we get a couple of pints of milk. That’s fair enough isn’t it? It felt nice to rest my forehead on her tummy as I squeezed out warm streams of milk into the bucket. It made a satisfying noise at it hit the bottom of the metal bucket and foamed like a milk shake.

 

The first milking

The first milking

She has dried up completely now but her appetite is as big as ever. She is helping to trim the trees around about place. Some she eats and others she just brushes past snapping off branches as she goes. Girlie has very little body awareness and that tummy cuts a swathe through tight places. Crack, snap, thwhack as she plods through the orchard, the garden beds and the rose bushes.

Girlie in the bushes

Girlie in the bushes

 

It’s been a bumpy, jump out of the way journey for us as Girlie charmingly claims right of way at all times. The shortest distance between her and a food source is a straight line no matter the obstacles. It reminds me of the children’s story, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’. Girlie can’t go round it, she can’t go under it, but she will go THROUGH it.

It’s Girlie’s rules all the way. The tally of mishaps rises as she has eaten the newly planted citrus trees, accidentally stood on my foot, splattered me with poo and ransacked our guests dinner table, but the biggest test of our relationship came a couple of weeks ago. Girlie ate my daffodils! Yes Girlie ate my daffodils AND the jonquils.

 

Before Girlie ate them.

Brightening up the winter garden before Girlie ate them.

 

 

Being beautiful in the tea room

Being beautiful in the tea room

Instead of the sweet little yellow heads brightening up the winter garden and adorning the guest rooms all I have are truncated green shoots.

Where the flowers used to be.

Where the flowers used to be.

 

They were covered in drool of course. There is always the cow spit.