Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cows and Bulls 101

I live in farm country.
But I don't live on a farm.
I can talk for a long while on the subject of seed corn, crop rotation and the price of hogs, having learned by osmosis. But there are plenty of things I don't know about life on the farm.

I took a nice drive out into the country Friday night and was sitting at Linda's kitchen table enjoying a beer and laughs with a few friends when she gets up and excuses herself from the group for a moment, explaining "I've got to go feed the bulls. I'll be right back."

Well shoot, that sounds like my kind of fun and I asked her if I could come with her. She looked at me kind of funny, sort of the way you'd look at someone if they asked you if it was ok if they came to your house every week to scrub your bathroom floor for you, just for the fun of it. But she indulged me and off we went to the bull pen.

As we got close to the barn, Linda told me "They're kind of skittish right now because we haven't turned them out yet."

Sure enough, they were staring us down and I wasn't sure what "turning them out" meant.

She explained this means they haven't been allowed into the pasture with all of the cows yet and that's their get into the pasture and service all the cows. (Yknow, make little baby cows.) And apparently, not unlike a group of college boys heading to the bars on a Friday night, there is significant enthusiasm for this responsibility. The bulls are pretty much interested in getting right to it.

I looked up and noticed that all of the cows in the adjoining pen were lined up, head to head, along the fence line looking toward the bull pen where we were standing. Obviously there was some enthusiasm building in the girls dorm, too.

"So is that why the cows are all lined up over here looking over at the bull pen?
Are they lined up because they know they are going to get laid?"

"No Deb," she said.
"They're lined up looking over here because I'm holding the feed bucket."

A matter of priorities, I guess.

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