An intimate memoir on the work and wonder of ranch life, critiquing the inhumane and environmentally destructive factory farm system and offering sustainable alternatives for ethical omnivores. Although there are nearly 100 million cattle in the United States, these animals are often ignored or dismissed. In Meditations with Cows, Shreve Stockton inspires a more reverential attitude toward these affectionate and intelligent creatures as she shares captivating stories of ranch life. At the center of the narrative is Daisy, the matriarch of the herd. Through the daily ritual of milking, Stockton forges a relationship with Daisy that deepens with each passing season: "When you have a milk cow, you are together every day, no matter the weather, no matter either of your moods. The hind leg of this twelve-hundred-pound animal towers over you as you crouch beside her... both of you aware of the fact that one well-aimed kick could kill you if she wished. Yet you are allowed to rest your cheek and forehead against her warm belly as you milk... her trust in you entwined with your trust in her, you become family." For anyone who loves animals or cares about the environmental impact of their food, Stockton explores conservation and the important role of cattle in local ecosystems, models the humane treatment of animals, and shows how pastured cattle can be our allies in averting climate crisis. Blending together narrative, science, and thoughtful reflection, Meditations with Cows offers a moving portrait of the rhythms of work, life, and hardship on the ranch.
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