The Magic Paddle

A while back, I was involved in an incident with seven year-old bull calves.

There they are, photos made a day or so after the incident occurred.  All seven were sold to the dairy not long afterwards and all of them were purchased by a very large dairy in Missouri and have gone to live there.

Our bull calves remain intact (we don’t castrate them). They are all registered Jerseys, and carry pretty nice pedigrees, so they are typically used for several years for breeding.

I posted something about it, along with the top photo, on Facebook when it happened.

The guy on the far left (in the upper photo) and in the foreground (in the lower photo) is Frances’ calf.

Anyway, when I posted an account of what happened, I found it a little bit astonishing that Cathy Harris decided the story was not only hilarious but also total bullshit and she has derided me for it ever since.

The reason I find this interesting is that she insists that not only did she grow up living on an active dairy farm (she did) but also that Cleo forced her to do all the milking and clean-up every morning before school.

See what I mean?

I doubted the veracity of this story the first time I read it, for several reasons.

First, dairy cows are expensive.  Cleo was a tightwad.  If a cow is not milked properly, she is very likely to come down with mastitis.  It’s expensive to treat and sometimes impossible to cure.  Nobody would ever entrust the milking of an entire dairy to a sixth-grade child.

On some farms, children help with chores, and it’s entirely possible that people allow their young children to do basic milking with a machine, but not without supervision.

Even if the dairy is fully automated like our dairy is, milk handling is an exacting chore.  If it’s not handled correctly and it gets contaminated, the somatic cell count of the milk climbs up and then when the processing plant truck comes and tests the milk (and they do test it every time they come), they won’t accept it and all the milk has to be dumped.  In the case of our dairy, that’s 500 gallons.

She is wanting us to believe that a woman who was aware of every penny being spent on her farm was willing to allow many thousands of dollars worth of dairy cattle to be cared for by a sixth-grader, including their feeding, cleaning their teats prior to milking, drying those teats off properly, attaching the milking machine, terminating the process at the right time, applying teat dip to each teat, getting the cow out of the stanchion and another in her place, handling all the milk (hundreds of gallons) if it didn’t go directly into the tank and finally cleaning all the equipment.

But there’s something else. Cathy makes it clear here that she had to do all the chores. She had to feed and care for all the animals.

Let me tell you what you have to take care of on a dairy farm in addition to the cows.


Calves are a normal by-product of dairy production.  A dairy cow’s normal cycle is to lactate for about 10 months, be dried off for two months, calve, and be back lactating again for ten more months.  One calf every year.

Frances goes a little longer than that, but that’s because we aren’t pushing her to make the most milk possible in the shortest time possible.

Lactation starts right after calving with a bang.  Lots of milk.  Production generally peaks within a couple of weeks of calving and then starts a long, slow decline for the next ten months.

Some cows dry themselves off naturally at about ten months.  Others, including Frances, can go a good bit longer than that.  I think the longest we’ve ever had Frances lactate continuously was 14 or 15 months, and she could have gone on longer. We had to dry her off.  However, by that time, even she was only producing about 2 gallons of milk a day, instead of her peak which is six.

At any rate, this means that if you have a small dairy like the one near here, and probably similar to Cleo’s, you have about 70 to 100 cows being milked at any one time.

They are nearly all pregnant.

All the time.

That means that a dairy that size is having a calf born on average of once a week.

Sometimes they come in bunches.  Sometimes there are short spells with no calves being born. But it doesn’t last long.

And each calf has to be bottle fed for weeks and weeks.

Most dairies do exactly what our little dairy does and gets rid of the young bull calves.  They generally sell them when they are about 4 days old (that’s enough time for the calf to get that all-important colostrum).  People often buy them to raise as steers for beef.

But dairies keep the little heifers.  That’s how they replace their cows.

So, a dairy always has at least three pastures.  One for the current milking cows.  One for the dry cows.  And one for the young heifers, being raised as replacements.  Usually, that heifer area has to be subdivided somehow, because calves need to be reasonably close to the same size or the bigger ones bully the littler ones.

I’ve never heard of any dairy that does it any differently.

So that means that Cathy was feeding the calves.

She was feeding calves.

And she doesn’t understand basic calf behavior.

I told Jason about the incident involving those bull calves and he knew what I was talking about immediately.  His first suggestion was to get a paddle.

We didn’t know what that was. He didn’t know we didn’t know. He was raised milking cows and he thought everyone knew.

But Cathy had no idea what I was talking about.  She assumed that the calves were “chasing” me. That’s because she never hung around cows very much and didn’t know that they typically don’t chase people. She’s just read stories and thinks they do.  Because our babies are intact bulls, she thought immediately of the stories she’s heard about grown bulls in herds going after people.  That’s not how our bull calves behave.

Her assumptions were exactly those one would expect from somebody who has never milked a cow in her life or handled a bottle calf or dealt with them at all.

The video below includes an appearance from the very famous Frances toward the end.  She continues to bitch about royalties.


1. I talk about whatever I wish on this blog.  Not what you wish, Karen.  I wished to talk about my magic paddle, so there it is.  If you find dairy-farm dynamics so incredibly boring, I suggest you quit lurking about here.

2. At no point have I ever implied that Cleo is my “hero.”  I didn’t know the woman. She seems like a crusty sort.  I’m not sure I would have liked her much, especially with all the Jesus stuff.

3. And yes, you and Cathy have used the “impossible task” defense before. I know that.  It doesn’t work, though. The problem is that Cathy implies in what she has written that this demand that she do all the farm chores, including caring for the dairy portion of it, went on for quite some time.

And she couldn’t have done it even once. Not one single time.

My point here is that her complete ignorance about bovine behavior tells me that she never did any farm chores to amount to anything. She lived there, yes, and it was a working dairy farm to some extent. But she didn’t do anything up close and personal with those cattle.  I know it. She knows it. You don’t know it because you have no experience with cattle either and so you just believe whatever she says.

Even if Cathy had never had to do all the chores herself, as she claims, and even if she had always had help, if she had even spent a small amount of time paying attention to what they were doing, she would have known immediately what I was talking about when I described what those calves did.  Everyone else I’ve ever talked to about it that had any farm experience at all knew exactly what happened.

She didn’t. What she didn’t know shows me the lie.

By the way, when did Frank get out of Facebook jail or the mental institution, whichever it was?


19 thoughts on “The Magic Paddle”

  1. Oh that is brilliant. It’s like weaponizing “Does this bug you? Does this bug you?” And the only way it could possibly hurt them is if one of them ate it!


  2. Thank you Sally! Loved the information you so willingly part with. I grew up living on a dairy farm for 10 years, Holsteins, 120 approximately to milk and care for. When I was 9 I was put in charge of the separated calves to bottle them. We had one Hereford/Holstein calf every year from breeding to a Hereford bull that would be our meat steer(hopefully)for the next year. I didn’t know then that we did this. I don’t know what the heck I thought but it wasn’t that he would be food!
    I made quite the pet of Blue, he’d follow me everywhere, bawl when I came to the barn, lay in the straw with me, let me snooze on him, play push lightly with me. I was just enthralled with him! At about five months he was put to pasture with the other calves and I’d ride out to see my boy. During school season I was away from Monday to Friday, then home on weekends, holidays etc. So in his second year I’d just came back on a Friday, eating dinner and one of my brothers asked how I liked Blue? Said I was going out to see him tomorrow. I could see Dad scowling at my brother and asked what happened to Blue and my brother gleefully told me I was eating him!! Not only did I start bawling but threw up my roast beef all over . I couldn’t believe they had slaughtered him, it was like the first time you find out there’s no Santa Claus !! I felt so betrayed
    I went a month not talking to anyone I was so mad! But it did open my eyes to what the farm really was. As a child it was a wonderful place with lots of animals to play with and things to do. After that I realized it was a producer of food and milk for a reason, to feed others and support us. Big growing step!
    We had a cane we used to move them to tap them with to move them with a little plastic flag on the end. It worked pretty good but I like yours better.
    The only bull we had was Billy the Hereford for our meat cows or if someone else wanted to use him. All the Holsteins were artificially inseminated by different bulls depending on their bloodlines.
    I remember sunbathing as a youngster on Billy’s back, had no fear of him and if my folks had seen me I’d of got a good whopping I’m sure but he was always kindly gentle with me.
    A dairy farm is so much work, most of it hard work. I got to start milking at age 12. I was so excited for about two weeks, then the novelty of getting up at five and doing it again around the same time in the pm wore off lol. But despite all the hard work (bloody haying !) I look back on my time then as one of my best in my life. I think that’s another reason I love your stories. Now a days I know no one who even has a cow!
    Sorry it’s so long ☺️


  3. Fun to watch…
    Nice to see how well little Al is doing.
    How did Francis’ butt get so dirty? I’m imaging her sitting down in a mud puddle…


  4. Your magic paddle is a lot like my lunge whip when I’m training. It’s an extension of my arm, not something with which I beat my horses. I also use it for cues. As an example, when I want them to stop I say, “Whoa” and I turn the whip upside down so the top of it touches the ground.

    Even a few calves getting feisty can hurt you, let alone a few young bull calves that are a few hundred pounds apiece.

    By “royalties”, I bet Frances means alfalfa.


  5. How did Francis’ butt get so dirty?

    She’s been on alfalfa since the weather has gotten cooler and the grass isn’t growing as well. It causes diarrhea until her gut gets accustomed to it. We usually hose her down but it’s hard to keep up with.


  6. Remember, Al, that your rams are in with ewes. They are actively breeding them.

    Our boys are not sexually mature. The year-old guys were getting there, and I suppose it would have been possible, but they weren’t around any cycling heifers. Only Frances, who was hugely PG at the time and boring. So there was nothing to stimulate any sort of “protect my herd from the likes of you” thing. That’s when they are really dangerous, and no bulls live here that get to the point. They go to the dairy long before that.

    One other thing is that we’ve made it a rule that we never try to feed a bunch of them like that while alone ever again. Dave was taking a nap that day and I was trying to be thoughtful and not wake him. Never again. Two of us always. I actually had a hoe with me that day, but it did no good at all. They just want to joust with me. I couldn’t hit them, even with a hoe, hard enough to bother them at all.

    Your point is taken, though. I’ll look for a prod and perhaps keep one hanging handy.


  7. Lou? Lou Canby whose family she just had a glorious reunion with? How’s that working out for her?

    There’s no way Cathy did any of the kind of work you describe. And had she done it I would expect her work ethic as an adult to be much stronger than it is. So much more to be said about her sorry lying ass…..

    Glad you weren’t seriously hurt in the bull incident. That was a lot of potential for damage.


  8. So much more to be said about her sorry lying ass…..

    Don’t we know it, Thinking. Good to see you here.


  9. I see she has Frank all worked up again.

    Frank, if she were receiving harassing phone calls, texts, etc. then Cathy would and should contact the police. Not someone who is several hundred miles away. Also, be careful about threatening an elderly citizen with bodily harm. You already know how badly that can end for you. If Cathy doesn’t have the backbone or evidence to file a case against him, then why are you assuming the legal risks?


  10. Frank’s comments about me and Richard Harris are death threats.

    I don’t have Cathy’s phone number. Have never had it. I have never texted her or called her. And if Cathy wants to notify the local authorities, I’d be happy to let them see my phone records.

    Frankly, I doubt anyone has sent her any threatening messages. It’s just that nobody gives a shit about her fabulous story and it’s all died down and she is lacking attention, so suddenly she is getting “death threats.”

    Frank doesn’t know enough about any of this to even understand that I, like he is, am an atheist. He assumes that somehow I am linked with Harris.

    The poor Canbys. They didn’t ask for this, but they sure have gotten it.


  11. If she has an open, ongoing case with the FBI, then she should be contacting the agent handling her case. Anything else is stupid.

    Not that I believe her claims. Simply pointing this out.


  12. “We usually hose her down but it’s hard to keep up with.”

    I think I’d pay good money to watch this. Would you consider videoing it? Just to see Frances’ reaction LOL
    But really. I’m totally serious. Please?!


  13. Would you consider videoing it?

    Sure, but it’s not especially exciting. She just stands there. It’s too cold right now, but it’s going to warm up next week.


  14. It’s like the inside of a schizophrenics head on that Justice For Cathy Harris/Salina Smith page. How many names does that pillsbury doughgirl have? And all the fake accounts with screenshots full of the same embarrassingly fake threats. Wtf? She not only creates a million identities for herself. She’s got to create a zillion fake enemies too? It’s 4 or 5 lunatics and the many little voices in their heads manifesting as fake Facebook/Twitter identities.

    Those repressed old lady fundie freaks sure are a porno minded bunch. Their minds in the gutter. Is that what they day dream about? Screwing every one of their god’s creatures and sucking dick? The couple of men on there just want to kill everything. Real happy bunch of freaks over there.

    They’re a shining example of why organized religion and believing in some imaginary sky daddy is bad for your health and really bad for everyone else.


  15. Frank is fairly easy to explain. He’s got nothing to do with Cathy, really. He’s a guy that somehow got on Cynthia McClaskey’s radar (she’s a blogger/activist/something who fell for Cathy’s BS) and Cynthia introduced him to Cathy. He’s a former Catholic who supposedly was molested by a priest, but doesn’t seem to have said anything about it until he realized that the Catholic church was paying bucks to victims.

    And he’s done a pretty fair amount of stalking of Catholic priests, to the point that he was charged with a crime.

    He issues death threats against me pretty regularly. I document them and then ignore him.

    This has to sort of make the Canby innocents wonder what kind of person Cathy is that she cultivates a friendship with a lunatic like Frank.

    And yes, Cathy is an expert at pretending to be her own critic. She’s done it for years.


  16. Sex deprived Karen whose head is too filled with fantasies of rape and sex with animals to think straight proved my point. Her latest pissy post on the page “Injustice claimed by Cathy and friends” has 3 commenters one who looks to be a voice from Franks head. All still exposing their sexually deviant minds for the fundie freaks to get off on.

    Karen if you can shove the bestiality fantasies aside for one minute this isn’t a fake account. It is a comment using a pseudonym.

    You know if you and your gang of deviant freaks marketed your bestiality fantasies, Karen, I’m sure you could get a few pennies from your sick fundie friends. You could buy a new car instead of using the pillsbury doughgirl to beg for one. She can’t even eat ice cream without making it look like one of your bull dick sucking fantasies.


  17. I don’t understand the constant reposts. Why do they show the same screen shots and alleged ‘harassment’ over and over and over? It doesn’t gain relevance from repeating.
    I’m not being facetious, I really wonder if there is a method behind this madness?


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