Cherry Garcia Daydreaming
by Kathleen M. Schurman
Mucking horse stalls is an adventure in random and rambling thoughts, and with a twenty-six-stall barn to clean every morning, I have plenty of repetitive, mind-numbing shoveling to take me on imaginary adventures throughout the multiverses. Unfortunately, that’s not what usually happens. My thoughts are typically more mundane and eclectic.
This morning I started cleaning Captain’s stall while contemplating how a $650 million dollar lottery win is way too much money and maybe I’d forgo purchasing my ticket this week. That way I wouldn’t have to lie awake tonight worrying about how complicated life would become if I won. Then I thought about Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia vegan ice cream. A lot. After wiping the drool from the corners of my mouth with my pink work gloves, I switched to thinking about the cuteness of our calf, Prospero, who was rescued from Vermont (where Ben and Jerry first started, incidentally) via a man named Jason who saved him from becoming veal. Then I thought about yoga pants. Not the modern kind that promises to squeeze my saggy, sixty-year-old ass into a shape it never was and has never wanted to be. I’m talking about vintage yoga pants with an elastic waist and a drawstring, in a color called “natural.” They were made out of cotton or linen or—like my favorite ones purchased in Brattleboro, Vermont—organic hemp. And then I thought about Jason again, who works to assist dairy farmers transitioning out of the industry by helping them convert their farms into hemp growing operations, while also rescuing bull calves from slaughter. Then back again to vegan Cherry Garcia (because we all know from recent reports that dairy is highly overrated as a healthy dietary option). Which naturally led me to ponder my most recent idea, which is to start an organization called DARNIT (Domesticated Animal Rescue Network Integration Team) that would promote animal rescue operations while trying to encourage them to work together. This is harder than you might imagine because animal rescue organizations only have two things in common: we all think it sucks to be an animal in a world full of humans, and we all think the other rescue groups are stupid and doing it completely wrong. And then I thought, DAMNIT! No, really. All caps. DAMNIT, which would be an acronym for Dairy Agriculture Modification Network Integration Team. Brilliant!!
DAMNIT would consist of an expert team that would go to dairy farms, evaluate their properties, and figure out a better way for them to make a living (maybe growing hemp?) that doesn’t require they get up at two in the morning or put delightful bull calves in the awkward situation of becoming a meat byproduct of the industry (leaving me to feel like I have to save all their lives and bring them home to our farm sanctuary). We would need at least $650 million to start since we would offer loans to help farmers convert their properties. If they met a deadline of between five and seven years to fully convert, the loan would be forgiven.
(This is where my husband had to stop me from leading our horse, Cole, up the hill—when he belongs down the hill—because my ideas had taken over what’s left of the functioning part of my brain.) But there’s more! Dairy operations with ice cream shops could convert them to non-dairy ice cream joints with flavors like Cherry Garcia hemp-milk ice cream!!!! And they could sell all kinds of hemp products, like T-shirts, oils, and those old-fashioned hemp yoga pants! The baggy ones! No, this is not self-serving; it’s charming and innovative, damnit!
My imagination was on a roll! Once DAMNIT was established, we would start the pig rescue branch called PHUKIT (Porcine Humanitarian Union Karma Integration Team.) No, get your mind out of the gutter. We are pronouncing it “pucket,” rhymes with “bucket.” I’m saving the “F” for when we help the chicken and turkey industries transition to sustainable horticulture: Fowl Experiences Creating Kinship Integration Network (FECKIN). It’s only natural we would then move on to farmed salmon, notorious for its concentrated pesticides and other contaminants (Salmon United Council to Kayo Industrial Treachery, or SUCKIT). So much to think about!
I finished chores and went home to feed our house animals, then squeezed my tired body into some Lycra yoga pants so I could stretch before I cleaned up and ran out to buy the Megabucks and Powerball tickets. They are a combined total of over a billion dollars this week, and if I want to fund my daydream I will have to win at least that much.
Speaking of which, I need to buy those tickets at a store that sells Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia vegan ice cream, because at this point in my life I’m more concerned with rescuing animals and the environment than with the shape of my rear end. By the way, my calf Prospero has a very cute butt. This reminds me of Vermont again. I miss visiting the Brattleboro Co-op. I remember when I got my djembe refurbished at Putney Drumming—purple, tie-dyed drumhead. Ooh. And then there’s Mocha Joe’s coffee in downtown Brattleboro.
Wait a minute, where am I, and what was I talking about?
Oh, yeah. I was trying to figure out how to get to where I don’t spend the rest of my life shoveling manure for three hours every day.
Photo by Kathleen M. Schurman
Kathleen M. Schurman and her husband David own and operate Locket’s Meadow Farm Animal Sanctuary in Bethany, Connecticut, where they are enslaved by well over 100 animals. Kathleen has been writing for most of her life, starting as a children’s playwright, then moving into journalism after earning an MS in media communications from Quinnipiac University. Over the past twenty years, she has edited and written for many Connecticut newspapers. Kathleen also authors children’s books about the animals on the sanctuary, and writes a blog called “All Glamour All The Time,” with “glamour” serving as a euphemism for “manure.” It focuses on the trials and tribulations of animal rescue and activism, as well as issues like where to put all the horse poop. When she’s not writing or shoveling, she can be found doting on her grandchildren and telling them stories about dragons, unicorns, and magic.