Monday, July 30, 2012

Who's your BFF?

Visitors don't go unnoticed on the farm. Some, I might add are not welcome either.

Duck had decided to pay a visit to the farm. I'm sure he was there to stir up trouble, unionize the agents, wreck havoc on The Farmer, etc. We've seen it all recorded before in the book Giggle, Giggle, Quack. Regardless of his intentions I had a couple of my trusted agents escort him off the property. Our operation here is in tip top shape and we do not need anyone else interfering with our mission.

Interestingly enough one dairy farm is going to have several visitors. Scientists from the University of Exeter plan to visit a farm in Devon to study social interactions in dairy cows; cow friendships, if you will. They will be wearing proximity collars that will record/transmit data on their habits. In other words, they are going to use fancy equipment to find out who your BFF is. Couldn't they just ask? I know who my trusted friends are and I know which cows on the farm have such bad breath that I avoid them at any cost! Perhaps a study on cow toothbrushes and mouth washes could follow this one to see if friendly relationships improved.

If you'll excuse me I'm going to make sure Duck, who is definitely not my BFF, has really left the premises.

Agent 101, reporting from the Udder Side.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Moo 101

A fool and his money are soon parted is a great way to sum up everything that happened, but let me start at the beginning...

I was in my stall this morning thinking it was about time for The Farmer to come and feed me. Sure enough he entered the calf barn same time as usual. Instead of singing bits of songs off-key or mumbling to himself, this morning he started talking gibberish to me. Are you ready for this? He was "mooing." Uh-huh, exactly.

I finally did some asking around and found out what had happened. The Farmer bought a new book:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cow Color Commentary

I'm just flabbergasted by what I read!
The Farmer has been watching the rain come down and water his crops and hay fields and has been happy. That makes us happy, too. Nothing like seeing crops growing when you thought you were going to have none.

In the meantime I had been investigating other farms when I came across this definitely opinionated editorial that was labeled the Opinionator: Got Milk? You don't need it.

Let me start by saying that the secret agents here tell nothing but the facts, ma'am. So when Mr. Bittman starts writing in his article it is his opinion.

"O.K., dairy products contain nutrients, and for those who like them, a serving or two daily is probably fine" 

This quote is really funny when you think about it. He admits milk does contain nutrients and for those who like those nutrients they can have some. Pray tell what nutrients does my milk contain? How about calcium, potassium, phosphorous, protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin! Amazingly, this is pretty powerful stuff in a small glass. "No thank you, I don't want any of those nutrients, I'm just drinking water all day long," as he implies you should do would keep children and adults from an easy and tasty way to get these nutrients.

The same can be said with his comparison of calorie counts of soda vs milk. Soda, or coke as we say, contains empty calories. It tastes good and that is all. Milk, on the other hand, tastes great and is packed with nutrition. Not much of a comparison is it? I would refer Mr. Bittman back to his own arguments on nutrient packed foods and calorie counts in foods on why there is simply no comparison between dairy products and soda.

Mr. Bittman then describes how he might, and I say might because we only have his anecdotal evidence, have problems digesting milk and how he feels better not consuming it. I understand there are some people with lactose intolerance like Meg Ryan in French Kiss, and for those folks there are digestive aids and lactose free dairy products available. But he basically goes on to encourage others to stop eating dairy products because, and I'll paraphrase here, "if I think it's bad for me I think it's probably bad for you, and my personal anecdotal evidence proves it." Right, sure it does.

"But the bucolic cow and family farm barely exist"

Okay, look at me. Do I look bucolic? Now onto some more facts. Did you know that over 97%, wait this is really important so I'll repeat it, over 97% of farms are family farms? Really, I'm friends with cows on lots of them and we know. Now for those of you who have not fallen asleep yet I'll report some 2011 statistics from the June 2012 issue of Eastern Dairy Business:

  • The average U.S. dairy herd was only 179 cows.
  • There were a whopping 19,400 dairy farms with 29 or less cows
  • There were almost 25,000 dairy farms with 30-100 cows.
Now my math skills are not great, but that sounds like an awful lot of little farms out there that he claims don't exist. There are small and large dairy farms out there and we have agents on both kinds. The reports I read from the cows are good regardless of size unless they are complaining about who doesn't have cable TV or good cell phone coverage.

"Most humans never tasted fresh milk from any source other than their mother for almost all of human history"

When I hear that people don't teach kids enough about history this quote must be the kind of thing they are talking about. The Dairy Farmers of Canada, who know their history well, have some great facts I'll share:

"Milk has been a part of our nutrition since time immemorial. Rich in nutrients, milk in its various forms has a long, long history...
  • Around 10 000 BC, the “agricultural revolution” occurred changing societies from nomadic tribes to those who settled in communities. With this came domesticated animals and the ingenuity for people to use by-products such as milk.
  • In ancient Egypt, milk and other dairy products were reserved for royalty, priests and the very wealthy.
  • By the 5th century AD, cows and sheep in Europe were prized for their milk.
  • By the 14th century, cow’s milk became more popular than sheep’s milk."
So I could go on about the opinions in the article and replace them with facts, but it is time for my evening milking. Got milk? I do and plenty of it for anyone who wants to enjoy it!

Agent 465, reporting from the Udder Side.

Monday, July 9, 2012

You're Surrounded, Farmer!

We've got you surrounded! Come out with your hands up!

Okay, while we did surround The Farmer we actually did not say that to him. My fellow agents and I only wanted to get a closer look at what he was doing. Sometimes the best spy work is done in plain sight and I honestly don't think The Farmer thought anything about it.

He was working up the ground for planting corn which I had never seen before. I wondered why he couldn't simply plant the corn in the field and save some time so I asked my boss, Agent 101. She said the particular field we were in had not had anything planted in it since last year's corn and that the ground would be very hard. If you plant in ground like that the roots will have a hard time stretching out and growing. So, while The Farmer does sometimes "no-till," that is plant crops without working ground, in this particular instance he would not.

We had been worried about the corn because it has been so hot and we had a couple of weeks with no rain. However, after some good rains this past week it is looking much better.  Maybe we'll have something good to eat this fall after all.

Agent 2432, reporting from the Udder Side.

Monday, July 2, 2012

UFO Message Decoded By Dairy Cow

Where did we come from? Why are we here? Is there life beyond the stars? These are the questions I ponder as I sit in the pasture field and chew my cud. The other cows do not believe me when I say I believe in aliens, but what do they know? I've seen them & recorded them. Some cows, and people, just need more proof!

While Agent 101 was away at some secret convention, I borrowed some of her super sensitive spy equipment and pointed it at the stars. After a long time of searching I finally came across a strange noise that I knew had to come from intelligent life. Could it be a message from beyond? What if the aliens were sending a message like in Close Encounters or  Prometheus? I saw the latter at the drive in in 3-D and somebody needs to make some bovine 3-D glasses 'cause the human ones kept sliding down my face, but that's a problem for another day.

I ran the noise through a program on our super computer using a complex algorithm to try and decode it. The computer after hours and hours of whirring and humming finally was able to translate it. With today being July 2 and World UFO Day, I can think of no better time to share this. Was my original premise about milk loving UFO's correct?  I'll let you judge for yourself.

Agent 167, reporting from the Udder Side.