It's not essential to have a "milking cow" made by a famous author in order to have this kind of fun, but, you know, that's how we roll at Woodland Park.
Actually, it's a shameful story that I told here once before:
My friend Garth Stein (best selling author of the novel The Art Of Racing In The Rain) made this magnificent cow for our children’s school’s Fall Festival celebration 8 years ago. It’s now been on loan to Woodland Park for 8 years. A latex glove filled with water serves as her udders and children milk her by squeezing the fingers. She’s something of a super cow in that she usually has two sets of udders to accommodate demand.
I still can't look at "Old Bessie" without feeling a pang of guilt, but obviously not enough to give her back. The only thing that would make me feel better, I think, would be knowing that some of you have run out to buy a copy of his book -- or even all 3 of his books.
Old Bessie still looks pretty good considering her age, but that head is getting wobbly and one of the ears is just hanging on. She's is well loved.
I was pretty impressed by how well these 2 and 3 year olds cooperated with one another, figuring out how to share the udders with their friends. I've had the experience of milking a real cow and the technique for operating Bessie isn't too different from that: you use your whole hand to gently squeeze, but not pull. Pulling, I warn the kids, could result in a burst udder!
It was perfect for a hot day and several of the kids went home quite wet although impressively, we didn't burst a single udder.
Several of the kids asked if she could visit again today. I think I'll try feeding her blueberries, cherries and limes to see if she produces colored milk.