Mother nature: a mysterious treasure of legends, codes and spirits!
Summer on the Sappa was an endless experience of exploring the prairies we know as treeless to begin with, yet those fire flies that came out at night, were more fun to chase like a party of indians more closely known as cousins, friends, brothers and sisters. The old glass canning jar that held our prey that began to shine in the dark, in my parents bedroom that night, began a series of joke playing, that began the day my Mother, put a flea in honey, along with a hair from the hired hand, under a looking glass. Then Toby pumped mothers shoes full of water, that she used to milk the cows. Thereafter Toby found the rim of the milk pail turned upside down, was full of warm milk, as mother carefully directed a stream of warm milk from Betsy’s bag as they were milking. His wet pants attested to another prank coming her way.
This turn of events from what lured us to what satisfied our curiosity on how to share our new knowledge with others, was a healthy way of exchange and deeply entertaining. And farm folks know there is nothing quite as satisfying as repeating these stories, forever and a day! Thus: legends that began with a new way to use warm milk, or honey to stifle the movement of a flea, or wishing to tame the hired hand, to look at me, was just part of growing up in the Nebraska prairie. Live and learn. And never be afraid of making a mistake, because small towns will never die of telling what a fool they’ve been and how they’ve come so far, to know, something will happen and we all will be a fool again.
But there was time to sit, milk, watch the cats eyeing the sprays of warm milk, begging for us to try and fill their hungry mouths. Each cow went to her own stanchion, the place between the boards that slid in place to keep her head locked, as she ate her daily supply of grain while we milked. There was time for thinking, when I get older, I will not be having to get up and milk cows in the cold and heat, or light the fire in the stove, or listen to a roster crow or cut wood for heat.
Somehow the olden days slowed us down, to appreciate the fire in the lantern, or the warmth of the cows belly, and thoughts of how to make the cows come to us, instead of making us chase down the cows in the pasture before we could milk them, grain them, make sure they didn’t step into the milk bucket and empty our precious food and income upon the ground. Now you will understand why parents would inevitable say, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
There are just some things in life, that happen, to the best of milking men or milking women, that lures us to a way of living that includes, accidents do happen. Don’t cry over spilled milk, because it’s not gonna be easy trying to pick it up! You will just get stuck in the mud and have another mess to clean up. Once you get the hang of some things that will never be the same again, it’s time to move on, and tie up the tail of the cow, so her nasty tail with manure and goat heads doesn’t slap you in the face again.
Maybe we are supposed to be closer to nature? And learn from her like mother nature, who is a treasure of information, guidance and experience. It’s -5.6 below zero and the farmer in my husband is leaving for a walk to the coffee shop, because he had to go out to milk and feed the cows, no matter what the gauge said about how cold it is out there. He said just now, “Hon, it’s time to milk the cows” his mother would say.
Me? I’m a city kid, filled with the lure of the man bound to keep the stock alive and bedded down before night, who will walk through sleet or storm to protect and defend his family. And of such a man I am totally unworthy!