Milk fed

chapter one

To the right the vast modern bulk of the Kendal Hill Combine sprawls all corrugated iron and fancy machinery glittering in the sun while to the left the modern electrified fences give way to the moss clad dry stone walls of the Old Kendal Dairy its faded sign declaring it the home of the 'best handmade cheese in the county'.
Mary Kendal stood framed by the early morning sun in the doorway to the aging farmhouse reading yet another final demand for payment. Mary had been running the farm with the help of her daughters since her husband passed several years previously. Her dark copper curls may have been starting to grey a little but she still looked closer to thirty than forty with an impressive bust and a slim waist kept trim with hard farm work.
Across the farmyard Suzie walked out of the dairy and waved to her mother, just shy of six foot tall her eldest daughter had inherited her father's height mixed with her mother's curves and flaming red hair, she was dressed in faded denims covered in oil stains and patches.
'Hey mom you look like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, did we get another love letter from the bank?'
'No this ones from the feed company they are upping the price on us again.' she replied with a sigh.
'Again?' Suzie asked angrily 'that is completely unfair they are going to run every independent farm out of business at this rate.'
'I think that's the point honey, they run us into the ground and their buddies over the hill buy us out at auction for nothing.' Mary crumpled the letter and threw it angrily.
'I take it he who shall not be named from Kendal Hill made another offer?' her daughter asked.
'He called while you were out yesterday, offered ten grand less than he offered last time and suggested we stop propping up this old dinosaur and by ourselves a tea house somewhere'.
'That misogynistic old bastard!' Suzie exclaimed 'I'd like to see him run a working dairy instead of sitting behind a desk counting his money in that automated steroid factory he calls a farm.'
'Well I'm going into town to talk to the bank' Mary replied pulling the keys to the truck out of her pocket. 'If they don't give us an extension we will be out of feed in a fortnight.'


Suzie watched her mother get in the truck and drive out of sight with a worried frown, Mary had been working far too hard since dad died and the bank wasn't likely to agree to another delay on their bill. Deciding that she needed to let the twins know what was going on she went in search of her sisters.
Clare and Kim Kendal were identical twins and as girls they had shared an uncanny resemblance but as they got older they each took separate paths. Clare spent most of her time in the dairy making cheese and laying it down to mature. Years of sampling her own wares had made her the most well rounded of the Kendal girls and she was quite chubby.
Her sister Kim was a beanpole, the family 'genius' she had gone off to train as a vet but came home after their father had died with a good dozen different qualifications. Technically she was a qualified veterinary nurse but she spent most of her time working on the milking machines with her father's old manuals trying to keep them limping on with her limited mechanical knowledge.
Both the girls were in the dairy preparing a load of matured cheeses for delivery, Suzie let them finish before telling them the bad news.
'How can they raise the price again that's got to be illegal' Kim said angrily.
'The feed company and Kendal Hill are both owned by the same company it doesn't take a genius to see they are trying to swallow up the last small farms' her twin replied.
'Legal or not I don't think we can do anything about it, we pay what they ask or we end up paying even more on shipping costs from another supplier. Face it unless we have a freaking miracle we are out of business inside a year.' Suzie said doing her best not to get upset, the family farm had been her whole life since childhood and soon it seemed it would be snatched away in the name of big business.
Their conversation was interrupted by Suzie's mobile phone ringing, the call was from the police there had been a car accident and their mother had been badly hurt.
Over the next few days the girls kept things running as best they could while spending time at their mother's bedside, out of necessity one of them remained on the farm to take care of the animals while the others were away. A drunk driver had side swiped their mothers truck writing off both vehicles and leaving Mary in traction with serious compound fractures. Thankfully the prognosis looked good and their insurance would even go a little way towards covering their money issues once the company paid up but Mary wouldn't be out of hospital for some time.
Kim was alone on the farm one morning when the blare of a truck horn startled half the herd into a panic. Running outside swearing about inconsiderate idiots Kim discovered a big rig truck in the farmyard.
'This Kendal Farm?' the truck driver yelled down from his cab in a swirl of cigarette smoke.
'Yeah it is' Kim replied waving away the stink of tobacco with a free hand.
The driver turned off the engine and hopped out of the cab, on the ground he turned out to be short and fat in a rumpled grey coverall.
'Well then where you want it?' he asked gesturing back at his load.
'We weren't expecting a delivery' Kim answered.
'Says right here twenty tons of experimental feed for Kendal Farm.' the driver said thrusting a clipboard in her direction.
'Hey there should be contact details on here for the supplier' Kim said leafing through the slightly dog eared paperwork.
'Look luv I'm just a driver, I'm paid to deliver this stuff not ask its life history, either you take the load or I dump it back at the depot and let them sort it out your call.'
Looking closer at the paperwork Kim realised that the delivery was almost certainly for Kendal Hill no doubt more of the superfood stuff they fed their cattle to make them so productive, she was about to tell the driver he had made a mistake when she was struck by inspiration. This was an opportunity to save thousands in feed and get one over on their competition.
'Okay you can unload it over there' she said gesturing at the feed barn 'must be an early delivery or something.'
The trucker grunted in reply and began the lengthy process of unloading the truck with the forklift. Palette after palette of plain white feed sacks slowly filled the barn while Kim kept a careful lookout for the rest of the family.
After dinner she told her sisters about their unexpected windfall.
'Mom will go mental' Suzie declared angrily 'it's still stealing even if it is from those bastards at Kendal Hill.'
'Chill sis' Claire said interrupting her sisters imminent tirade 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth if we carry on the way we have been the dairy will be out of business by the end of the year. This way we can keep the herd fed and if this stuff works we might even improve production.'
'It's wrong.' Suzie replied stubbornly.
'And putting us out of business isn't?' Claire snapped back.
'We don't know what this stuff is it could have god knows what in it, you know what those idiots are like the calves grow to maturity in half the time from all the steroids and drugs they pump them with don't tell me that's healthy.'
'It doesn't matter though does it' Kim said quietly interrupting the argument her two sisters turning to look at her 'we need a miracle to survive right now well this looks like a damn miracle to me. Sure mom wouldn't like it but by the time she gets home most of it should be gone and we will have saved a ton of money.'
The three girls looked at each other for a few moments watching the same look of worry and desperation mirrored on their sisters faces, eventually Suzie broke the silence.
'Okay we try the feed, but no one tells mom...'
The next few days passed quietly though each of the three girls kept an eye on the farm gate the half expected angry deputation from Kendal Hill failed to turn up to demand their property back. The new feed turned out to be pretty ordinary looking dark brown pellets though it gave off a rich earthy smell that even made the girls stomachs rumble but if the herd could tell the difference from their usual feed they gave no sign.
Indeed they were all beginning to hope that they had gotten away with it when Kim burst in on the other two eating breakfast one morning.

'I think you guys need to come see this' Kim interrupted bursting into the kitchen 'there's something wrong with the milk!'
3 chapters, created StoryListingCard.php 9 years , updated 2 years
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Incubi 9 years
next chapter almost done
Biddygal 9 years
excited to see where this is going to go. are you ever going to finish your other stuff??
Incubi 9 years
there will be much more soon just finishing chapters 3-4
Bobbyfad 9 years
Promising start, can't wait for the rest