Cows and Champagne

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cooking like a chefWe touched down 7:00 am German time in Düsseldorf, with plenty of time too catch the 7:30 am train to Hamm.

I had impossible circles under my eyes, and only one hour of shut eye during a bumpy plain ride. “Don’t worry” my husband said, patting me lightly on the shoulder, “we’ll be able to take a two hour nap before the wedding ceremony starts.”

We reached my mother-in-law’s house, and before falling into crispy washed sheets, I spotted a bag on the kitchen counter stuffed full of freshly baked buns. “Sleep deeply,” my husband remarked as we pulled the shades, “we’ve got a long night ahead of us!”

A few hours later, we pulled up to a church surrounded by cobblestone streets lined with shops and cafes. Children squirmed and taffeta rustled while two officiates, a Catholic priest and Protestant minister stood side by side on the altar guiding the ceremony completely in German. To my surprise, I followed along just fine although my adorable nephew, Jonas, was distracting with his curious blue eyes and chubby, dimpled cheeks.

grazing cows

Once hugs, kisses, and congratulations were all in order, we were shuttled off to a large family-owned farm, my husband’s cousin’s. Cows grazed on emerald grass in the distant and waiters rushed around with trays of icy beers and champagne.

This was some serious country living to me, as my heels sunk into the lush lawn surrounding the dinner tents. The evening breeze on the farm smelt nothing like the night air traveling past my fire escape, into my small city apartment.

Meet one of the family dairy cows, tagged with a transponder: no champagne for her, but she seemed very happy all the same. Automatic feed bins served up food to old Bessy – anytime she got a hankering – but kept track of how much and when she last ate. My mother-in-law promised that the following day we would make a more in-depth visit to the farm, watch the entire milking practices, and play with a new-born calf that came to the fence, eager for a pat on the head. I had no milk to give him, but he still let me pat him on the forehead.

Visit me later this week to find out what happened on the farm.

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