Georgia used a scoop to fill a feed bucket while Bobbi shoveled gross stuff out of a stall in the barn. She’d asked Bobbi why there was so much shoveling and what all of this stuff was and Bobbi had given her usual short answers. Mostly, it was stinky because it was gross and it was being shoveled and dumped someplace else because it was gross.
Looking at the feed bucket and the hay already dumped into the troughs, Georgia decided cows ate gross things, too. She was beginning to wonder why she drank milk, ever, when cows were so completely gross.
“Did you write that story about the tent worms?” Bobbi asked.
“No,” Georgia replied. “I have to write a report on dandelions and cattails. Ms. Becca said I could put it in story form, but I can’t write more than four pages.”
“Only four?” Bobbi replied, wiping something grosser than gross on her pant leg. “Harsh.”
“I know!” Georgia responded with more force than she’d intended.
Bobbi shrugged. “It’s good practice. Good stories are about the things that happen in the space you have, not the number of pages it takes to make something happen. I try to force myself to write short all of the time. It’s hard, but it makes for a better story.”
“How do you do it?” Georgia asked, thinking about the six pages sitting on her desk.
“Write until the story is done and then go back and cut cut cut.”
“Cut cut cut?”
“Yep, remove everything not necessary and rewrite with whatever is left, just to smooth things over.”
It sounded like a lot of work.
“Are you done shoveling the…gross stuff?” Georgia asked.
Bobbi laughed. “Yeah, this is the last of it. I’ll just dump it outside.”
Georgia filled the feed troughs while Bobbi emptied the wheelbarrow and then they let the cows in together. This was the part Georgia liked. The cows were always so happy to get into the barn and they never fought over a stall. Just quietly walked to their own spot, started eating their dinner and waited for the milking machine.
Dan followed the last cow into the barn and started attaching the machine to very full udders.
“Does that hurt them?” Georgia asked.
“hurts them more when we don’t do it.” Dan replied. “Their udders get really full and, if they aren’t milked, they get to full, and that hurts a lot.”
“C’mon Georgia,” Bobbi called. “We need to get cleaned up for dinner. Don’t want any gross stuff on your hands.”
Georgia looked at her fingers and made a very emphatic eeeuuuuwww sound as she skipped out the barn door, which made both Bobbi and Dan laugh.