I’ve been holding out on you, Folks. We’ve had a monumental new addition to the Acres of late: It’s time you’ve met Rosasharn, our Jersey girl.
She is the answer to a wish I made a couple of years ago, named for the character “Rose of Sharon” in The Grapes of Wrath. We much prefer the vernacular pronunciation of “Rosasharn.” If you’ve not read the book in a while, I wholeheartedly recommend doing so, if only to be able to judge for yourself whether “Rosasharn” is as hauntingly powerful a name that ever was for a family cow.
She is exactly the sort of cow we needed. Gentle. Sweet. Experienced. (she’s nine) Beautiful. So personable. She comes running to greet us each time we approach her, her massive form looming larger and larger until she reaches us and then becomes all nose and neck and tongue. And what a tongue. She came to us with the disclaimer that her sole fault might be that she’s a bit overzealous on the licking. I’ll take that over fence-busting any day.
I worried that it would take a long time to understand how she works, what she needs, but I was wrong to do so. Sometimes I forget how easy it can be to communicate with animals. She’s volunteered all her favorite spots to be scratched — I circle her neck with my arms and rest my head on hers, scratching her cheeks and then chin. We share our annoyance with the sheep, who upon seeing her enter their shared paddock for the first time, jumped over the fence no less than four times that first day. They’ve since warmed to her gentle largesse, though they are not exactly on friendly terms. They continue to jump the fence for greener pastures, reminding me again and again that the fence is only a containment suggestion, a courtesy they afford me by indulging in the allusion unless they’ve no palate for the scrub grasses inside. Rosasharn remains politely fenced each time the sheep bolt. There may be no more endearing trait.
We relish this slow, easy time of getting to know her before the demands of milking take over when she calves in mid-September. We joyously await the birth of her bull calf, who we’ll add to the pasture to grow at her side. Our dreams are full of cheese, of cream the color of sunlight, of tender beef, raised on our own succulent grass. Of bear-hugging an animal so genial it seems as if she’s always been with us. Sweet Rosasharn – already we love you.