Tucked away in an issue of Small Farmer’s Journal, among discussions of sprouted horse feed and asparagus beetles, is Vermont farmer Suzanne Lupien’s lovely remembrance of Nell, “the funniest, happiest cow that ever lived.”
What a hard day to have to say goodbye to that gem of a Jersey I’d milked for 12 years, enjoying her marvelous personality as well as her creamy yellow milk. I hand-milk my six or eight cows, and have come to value the time spent by their sides on the milk stool. Especially Nell! Her personality was so exuberant and fun, and so easy to read!
Nell was something of a rescue animal, as Lupien explains—injured, emaciated, a “little waif of a cow” when she joined Lupien’s small farm—but she flourished, calved, produced wheel upon wheel of top-of-the-line camembert, and lived to be 19. All with a great deal of personality, too:
Not only was she as fit as a fat fiddle, she was HAPPY, and she never stopped expressing her enjoyment of and gratitude for all the good that came her way. Good hay! Apples and pumpkins! Rearing her own calf! Wonderful brushings! Fields and woods! Plus she had the cutest Jersey face and everyone loved her.
Open House potluck? She’d hone right in on the bowl of corn chips and suck them down before you could think of intercepting. Bread making in the outdoor oven? She knew when it was Friday and she’d sashay over to the bread table and inhale 20 lb. of bread dough and any warm loaves of bread stacked in baskets for the farmers market. Opportunities and ideas sprang up in her mind as fast as dandelions in a field.
You know how a cow behaves in spring finding herself in a lush green field for the first time? Twirling and jumping? She was the Ginger Rogers of the Fields. And when she was younger she didn’t limit her performances to that initial turnout day—she did it anytime. It was impossible not to notice her exuberance, her glee: always coming when I called her, always ready for anything.
Lupien’s appreciation of her funny, spunky cow is quite beautiful, the sort of lively gem I love finding in Small Farmer’s Journal, an oversized quarterly in which practical advice shares space with personal experiences like Lupien’s.
Goodbye, dear Nell. Thanks for being the best four-legged friend I’ve ever had! I’ve got three lovely Jerseys to milk still, but it will never be the same without you.
Source: Small Farmer’s Journal (article not available online)