Theme songs

The wild idea for this column was born from a simple conversation between Peter and I about one of our cows, Grace. This tank of a creature has always been easily identifiable, from first calf heifer status to a mature fourth-lactation cow. She has a confident air about her. This may seem like a bizarre way to describe a bovine, but as Peter exclaimed, “She’s huge, and she is well aware that she is.”
Grace was on our radar as a potential cow to have post-fresh problems, but despite her stature, she sailed through those few challenging days with no issues whatsoever. If all the other cows are peering through the bars on a gate, Grace is standing with her head over the top. She stands tall and proud, ears perked, ready for anything; that’s who she is.
As I milked Grace one night, I began to wonder, “What if our cows had their own theme songs?” Similar to a rodeo where the gate is pulled and the bucking bull flies out, and his song is blared over the stereo system. Except, in our case, I imagined the songs being played every time a cow enters the parlor to be milked. Grace’s song, you wonder? “Sexy and I Know It.”
Francesca is a tall, slender cow with a bit of a hitch in her giddyup, perfect for the classic Roy Orbison hit, “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
Cruella has unique facial markings, giving her the look of having white eyebrows on her otherwise black face. She also can be quite vicious. “Cruella De Vil” is her song. If you have ever watched “101 Dalmatians,” I’m betting you know the tune.
Frankie is a beautiful black cow with a mellow personality, but her name alone earns her the Aerosmith song, “Dude (Looks Like a Lady).”
Woodstock has laid claim to the rock classic “Brick House.” “She’s a brick house, she’s mighty-mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out.” She is one solid gal. She was giant when she was dry, plowing her way through the pen, and one would have thought she’d slim up a bit upon calving, but not so.
5526 is so old she doesn’t have a name, but she has a song nonetheless. “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers fits her. She snores so loud you can hear her across the barn which makes it easy to tell if she’s not where she’s supposed to be. Just listen for her chainsaw running.
Honey is a lovely little first calf heifer that is truly a sweetheart. Always welcoming a gentle pat, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is Miss Honey for certain.
Shaq is a statuesque older cow that could likely be caricatured playing basketball, like her namesake. I can’t walk by her without hearing “Pump Up the Jam” and simultaneously thinking it is the ‘90s again.
Gemma and Tassia are named after sisters in real life but only birthday buddies in the farm world. Yet, they are often seen together in the parlor and their pen. “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher fits this pair.
The Winter Olympics four years ago gave us plenty of naming fodder for newborn heifers. We have Lauren Gibbs, Lindsay Vonn, Kyle Mack but the most magnificent of all is Shaun White. Named for a redheaded snowboarder, she is an impressively large cow. “We Are the Champions” would undoubtedly be her theme song.
Carmena constantly leaks milk, and is a champion in the sense that her cow story started out as a young heifer that calved too soon and we nursed her along to become the noble creature she is today. Her proportions scream out the song “Milkshakes”, as in ‘my milkshakes bring all the calves to the yard.’
Dirt is a lazy cow that prefers to always be the last in the pen and last out, then stand by the gate until informed she needs to move along. “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” seems relaxed enough for her tune.
Pepito is a Jersey who has an udder that is getting closer to the ground with each lactation. Flo Rida’s “Low” is most definitely her jam.
Kendall is a striking animal, and after a close call with an unhappy stomach, she has claimed “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” as her tune.
Hannah was struggling with intestinal issues a month ago, but as Gloria Gaynor sang, “I Will Survive.”
Starburst had a rough couple weeks in the post-fresh pen and is now climbing up in production. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” comes to mind as I see her.
Aerosmith has developed a bit of a waddle as she ages. “Walk This Way” by her namesake is her theme.
Macy is a large, handsome cow that outgrew some of the stalls and then calved early with twins, however these days if you asked her how she was doing she may quote Lizzo and tell you she’s feeling “Good As Hell.”
Skittles cannot keep her feet still when being milked. “Footloose” best fits her. Perhaps she hears it in her head and calls what she does dancing rather than kicking.
Belvedere has a mustache of epic proportions. Truly. She needed a song by a group known for great facial hair. “American Made” by the well-groomed Oak Ridge Boys.
Saving the best for last, Cora’s Swiss would polka into the parlor to the oomp-pa-pah of the “Too Fat Polka.” “I don’t want her, you can have her, she’s too fat for me.”
Now that I have started this, I can’t seem to turn it off. The kids keep asking me what this cow or that cow’s theme song is. Hope you enjoyed a chuckle to chase away the winter blues.
    Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira (14), Dane (12), Henry (7) and Cora (4), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.


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