Mail Call: Letters to the Editor in our May/June 2019 Issue

GRIT readers share stories of fresh cream from a wandering milk cow, the brilliance of butterflies, friendly skunks, and memories of Grandma’s old stove.

Photo by Getty Images/Михаил Руденко.

Delivery Milk Cow

My wife and I live on the outskirts of downtown Bonita Springs, Florida, in a subdivision where the houses are on 3/4-acre lots, spaced about 75 feet apart. One day, about 6 a.m., our dog jumped off the bed, ran to the kitchen, and started barking. I got up and went to the sliding glass doors to the backyard, and saw a cow standing out in the yard. We’ve had other animals in the yard, including wild hogs, bears, deer, raccoons, and opossums, but this was the first cow. I thought I’d just let the dog out and she’d chase it away. I opened the door and she walked up to the cow, sniffed it, and then licked its nose and laid down in front of it like they were old friends. I grew up on a dairy farm where we raised Holsteins, and our neighbors raised Guernseys, Jerseys, Brown Swiss, Black Angus, and Herefords, but I’d never seen a cow like this. She was small like a Jersey, but black with a white face. She was making a strange sound like she might be sick. I looked at her udders and could see she needed to be milked. I got my lobster pot and started milking her. She gave us about 6 quarts, and then she walked to the end of the street and disappeared into the woods. I thought that would be the last I saw of her.

She returned at about 6 p.m. that day. I got my pot and block, and milked her again. This time I got about 5 quarts. Then she went back into the woods. I talked to several of our neighbors, but none of them knew who might own her. I named her Minerva after my dad's cow from 65 years ago.

She kept coming back twice a day to be milked. She’d nibble on my grass, but never grazed much, and she looked well-fed. I started freezing the milk she gave us, and I even washed my dog in skim milk; her hair had never been softer!

Photo by Getty Images/NCHANT.

And poop! I forgot how much a cow could poop. She never ate at my place, but she always left me a pile of poop. At first I thought I’d use it around my flowers and bushes, and to fertilize my garden, but I soon realized there was just too much. I began burying it all over the backyard, but before long, there was nowhere to dig a fresh hole, so I started packing it up and mailing it to friends and relatives for their gardens.

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