Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finally Decoded

One word could describe the weather on this operation lately, and that would be cold.  The Farmer has been working extra hard to do the smallest things.  We have noticed he needs his kerosene heater as much as his tractor these days.

Agent 214 has been hard at work on the codes we have been tracking.  She has discovered that they originate from one source, Bovines United Legion Can Rule All People.  This is the organization behind all of this group of messages.  They are a strange collection of cows who put way too much thought into the "four legs good and two legs bad" philosophy.

We have been anxious to see what the messages mean.  Are they veiled threats against C.A.L.F.?  Are they gathering intelligence of something that is to come?  Could the messages be sent to other agents with embedded orders?

Agent 214 motions me over the the laptop in her stall.  It is cramped with both of us in there, but I can see the message on the screen and I'm not sure how it will affect our current mission.  She's very excited to have completed her first assignment out of school. The decoded message translates to "Eat mor chikin."

Agent 101 reporting from the Udder Side.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's the Score?

We had been monitoring the messages for a while.  We monitor television and radio broadcasts, newspapers and magazines, as well as online content.  These messages had begun coming more frequently.  They were short, to the point, and undecipherable to the common observer.  But we saw them, yes, we did, whether they were meant for us, or not.

Agent 214, fresh out of studies, took the lead on the investigations.  She is highly trained in languages and mathematics.  Seeing higher numbers, imaginary numbers, and patterns are her forte.  She examined the data carefully.

Unfortunately, before her work could be completed, we were interrupted by a visitor from to the farm.  A man from a cow breed association had come to look at some cows.  This group of cows were all daughters of a certain bull and the breed association wanted to give each animal a score and report it along with scores from other daughters.  This would enable them to know how well the bull transmitted certain traits and production abilities to his daughters.

Agent 471 was elated after her scoring.  "I have great feet and legs!  I have great feet and legs!" she kept mooing over and over.  It was no way for an agent to behave.  And it ruined the day's operations as everyone else, agents or not, came over to see what the fuss was about.  Agent 214, was becoming befuddled and couldn't work with all the excitement.   Tomorrow, she promised, she'll have the messages decoded.

Agent 101, reporting from the Udder Side.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Preparing For The Cold

With cold weather coming we are making lots of preparations.  One of the hardest times to do undercover work is when the temperature is well below freezing.  Technical problems and just trying to stay warm are impediments to doing your job right.  We are adding heating pads around our computers to keep them running.  We have also made sure we have battery back ups available just in case the power was to fail.  

This kind of weather always reminds me of my first mission in the frigid Northeast.  I was a springing heifer and we were still using wired communicators.  My ear piece had frozen to my ear and I was unable to remove it before The Farmer came around.  The wire hung precariously in the air as he approached.  I quickly stuck my head in the hay manger and began munching.  He was fooled, and I never made the mistake again.

The Farmer has also been getting ready for the cold.  We have seen him making sure the heaters are turned on for the water tanks to prevent them from freezing.  The Farmer also made sure he had hay readily available to feed for the next few days.  He has been seen running drop cords to the tractors to plug up the heaters to enable them to start on cold mornings.  

Agent 65, reporting from the Udder Side.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Key To Information

Due to some technical difficulties, news traveled slow on the farm today.  We had to resort to the archaic method of just "moo-ing," due to some wireless glitch that was affecting our equipment.  The good news was that I did receive the message that The Farmer had gone to town and would be away for a while.

I used the opportunity to approach the locked door.  I had studied the lock on Thanksgiving and brought the tools needed to open it.  I used a special spy skeleton key that would open almost any door, including this one.  What was inside suprised even me.

The room was filled with records of all kinds.  For each cow and calf there were documents about their births, vaccination history, and other details.  There was milking data for each cow for each lactaction.  This data included records on volume of milk produced, butter fat and protein content, and more.  The amount of information I found was staggering.  The Farmer was documenting everything about the herd.  He also used a system called Dairy Herd Information to gather the data and use it to improve his operation.

The Farmer had a lot of information on the cows, but none on the C.A.L.F. agents on the farm.  Our secrecy was still intact and the room had been infiltrated.

Agent 462, reporting from the Udder Side.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Thanksgiving is something everyone celebrates.  We at C.A.L.F. are no different about this.  We look at all creation around us, pause, and give wonder to it all.  Definitely we give thanks to the turkey, the designated animal of Thanksgiving.  Make no mistake about the gobbler, he was chosen.  In life there are no coincidences.

The Farmer will no doubt spend time with family and friends to celebrate over the holidays.  This presents the perfect opportunity to do more work undetected.  There are certain areas of the farm we have yet to investigate and this will be a great time to do it. In particular, the door labeled "Employees Only" seems like a good place to start.  Everyone has something to be thankful for.

Agent 57, reporting from the Udder Side.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mystery Solved

Well, I would like to say that all the spy training that I had helped me to figure out what I was hearing, but it didn't.  I got lucky one day and saw it.  It being the cat heading upstairs to the loft.  This is where my C.A.L.F. spy training did kick in.  Was the cat friend or foe?  Can you trust a four legged feline, or not, and what knowledge might it have?

The first thing to overcome would be the language barrier, and I discovered one thing very quickly.  If you call the Rosetta Stone people and ask for French or Russian they take your money and send you the product.  However, if you ask for Feline, all you get is a dial tone.  So, I checked the spy manual I keep in a fake block of straw in my stall.  It turns out that cats can speak the common animal dialect.  Who knew?

I watched and waited for the cat to return.  I planned my strategy as time passed.  I could use this animal as my eyes and ears outside of the calf barn.  Then the cat appeared, walking slowly down the steps to the loft.  As I was beginning to speak to it, the door of the calf barn opened and the The Farmer walked in.

The Farmer began looking at each calf in each stall very deliberately.  My training kicked in immediately and I became calm, cool, and collected as I munched on some hay.  He moved down the line.  Was he looking for me, I wondered as he approached my stall?  The Farmer finished and went up the stairs to the loft.  Then everything became clear.

Blocks of straw fell in the stalls, with each getting just the amount they needed.  The Farmer went to the stalls and spread the straw out so that every calf would have a warm, comfortable, clean stall to stay in.  As he left my thoughts returned to the cat.

Agent 4330, reporting from the Udder Side.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who's Watching Who

As the top security agent here I've told my crew never to be intimidated.  Be vigilant.  Eyes on the target.  And that is why I was the first one to spot the visitor we had on the farm.  This visitor turned out to be a friend of the farm, The Milk Co-op Man.  He came to perform some kind of survey of the farm to make sure the animals and the land were being well treated.  A gold star program, he called it.

This program is probably similar to the FARM program, which C.A.L.F. had sown the seeds to get started.  Consumers are watching all types of production agriculture.  They want their food to be made under acceptable practices. These programs look at animal well-being, environmental stewardship, and milk safety and quality. These programs can validate with third party auditing that the results are accurate.

The good news is the farm passed the survey without any problem.  My experience with C.A.L.F. is that most farmers are good stewards because that is what it takes to run a profitable operation, big or small.

Who's watching who?  As I tell those bovines working beneath me, I'm watching you and that's all you need to know.

Agent 459, reporting from the Udder Side.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Keep Your Ears Open

I did not think anything could be more exciting.  I had been chosen to join the illustrious spy group, C.A.L.F.  I could imagine the thrill, the intrigue, and the danger of being a spy.  I might go in disguise like a longhorn calf with dyed hair and fake horns with a camera and microphone. I could be a body double for a famous show calf at a state fair.  But where did they send me for my first mission?  A calf barn on a dairy farm.  How exciting......

My orders were to keep my ears open.  Got it. Done it. Done.  Isn't there anything else I could be doing?  Shouldn't I be saving the world or bagging the bad guys?  Sure, I get nice warm milk twice a day, cool fresh water, leafy hay, grain, and comfy straw bedding, which are all nice perks.  The Farmer is good to me.

Ahh, but there is something I've noticed.  There's a noise in the hay loft above me that I hear sometimes. Noise, or words maybe?  It is something or someone I'm not familiar with.   My orders were to keep my ears open and maybe that's what they were talking about!  Perhaps I should investigate this mystery.

Agent 4330, reporting from the Udder Side.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Naked Truth

Today began as a normal day.  I came in from the field, ate some hay, and was milked.  Then, I was sorted away from the main group of cows by The Farmer.  My bovine mind was racing!  Was he on to us?  Did he realize we walked among them and were reporting back?  I was motioned into a comfortable wooden chute for questioning, I assumed.  

Out of the blue, I was stuck with a tiny syringe.  My first thoughts were of poisons, or perhaps a truth serum to make me talk and expose the rest of C.A.L.F.  Name, rank, and serial number.  Name, rank, and serial number was all he was going to get.  Then I stretched my tongue and prepared to knock the cap off my fake tooth that held a suicide pill for times like these. 

And from the corner of my eye, I noticed something.  The solution I was injected with was not poison, or even a truth serum.  It was an animal vaccine.  I was being protected from infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, bovine viral diarrhea, bovine respiratory diseases, and many more.  The Farmer had been fooled, and was treating me as he did all his other animals.  I was quickly turned out of the chute and feasted on corn silage.

Agent 207, reporting from the Udder Side.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Operation Milk Can

I am proud to announce that phase one of Operation Milk Can has been successful.  As a member of the Cow Alliance Legion Federation, aka C.A.L.F., my fellow bovines and I have infiltrated  another farm.  We were able to smuggle in a camera and laptop to assist us in getting the word out.  Hacking into the farmer's wi-fi was no trouble with our extensive training.

So far we have blended in with the other cows very well.  We are milked twice daily, have access to plenty of  hay, silage and water, and spend most of our day on pasture.

We plan weekly messages to the world on what really goes on at dairy farms.

Agent 459, reporting from the Udder Side.