Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cow Manure and Cow-pie Cookies

Although today is cool again, and snow is again (still) in our forecast, there are signs of spring everywhere. There's a tinge of green along the edge of the well-house, water is flowing along the ranch roads, and the probability of miring the tractor in mud is high. The cawing of crows and the honking of north-flying geese fills the air.

The brood mares and the bulls are getting their hooves trimmed as I write. Calving will begin on April 20 and foaling two weeks after that.

Earlier this week, the second-calf heifers needed a booster vaccination. And because a couple of heifers had displayed symptoms of a suspected affliction, stool samples had to be procured from a random twenty animals.

It was my job to label the "specimen" bags with the numbers from each heifer's ear tag. Easy enough.  It was The Cowboy's privilege to don the shoulder length plastic gloves and obtain the sample. Needless to say, we were both well spattered with the aromatic brew by the time we were done.
Cattle doing what they do best.
A 1000 pound beef animal will produce between 50-80 pounds of excrement a day. We have about 3000 cows and horses on the ranch. That's a lot of fertilizer! It's spread out on the pastures, adding nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon to the soil, along with weed seeds (bad) and undigested organic matter (good). Well-rotted manure is as good as gold to the farmer or rancher.

After showers had set us all to rights again, I remembered I needed to bake something to take to quilting the next morning. At that very moment -- isn't Facebook amazing? -- a friend posted a recipe. I whipped it up, because it was easy, quick, and yummy. It wasn't until later that I realized the irony.

Cow-pie Cookies.
The recipe has been around a long time and has a variety of other names. Preacher cookies, because you can throw them together when you see the dust of the preacher's car as he's coming up the lane for an unexpected visit. Moose Droppings, although they don't resemble any moose droppings I've ever seen. And No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. Boring. Whatever you choose to call them (and I like Cow-pie Cookies the best), here's the recipe.

1/2 c butter
2 c sugar
1/2 c milk
4 tbsp cocoa
1/2 c peanut butter
3 1/2 c quick cooking oats
2 tsp. vanilla

Add the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute. Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop onto wax/foil paper. Let cool until set. Makes 2 to 2.5 dozen.

It was a delicious and sweet end to a day that started out with an unpleasant, but necessary task. I would love to add a philosophical and platitudinous comment about how to get on with life when manure happens, but I know it's never as simple as making a batch of cookies. Hang on to that last knot in the rope. This, too, shall pass.

1 comment:

  1. Around here (New Brunswick), those cookies are known as frogs. I've no idea why!

    Kathy N., aka AfricaKathy, who has no idea if I've any other choices other than anonymous for commenting!


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