Thursday, August 14, 2008

Farm Animal Observations

While we were on vacation we attended a Perkins family reunion in the gem state of Idaho (que the Idaho State Song). We stayed in a great cabin in the hills overlooking Clifton Idaho. I think the population of Clifton is about 250.

The farm animals far outnumber the people in the area around the cabin for miles around. Having lived in the city all of my life I don’t profess to know much about farm animals. While we were at the cabin I made a few observations about farm animals which I’m sure is common knowledge to people from rural America but was a surprise to me. Here we go.

Cows aren’t sun worshipers
I knew there were tons of cows in the hills around the cabin but during the day you couldn’t see many for some reason. I asked my father in law and he said the cows all huddle in the shade of the trees during the heat of the day and probably sleep. Then in the evening they come out to graze when it has cooled off. I guess I would do the same if I had a thick leather coat on in 90 degree weather. This totally blew my vision of the California cows basking in the sunshine like they advertise on the radio. Maybe Idaho cows are different than California cows. I can only hope.

There’s a queen bee among cows that call all of the shots
Just like there is a queen bee in every hive that calls the shots so it is with cows. One morning Jenny and I got up early to take some pictures of the sunrise. When we walked down the dirt road to get some shots of the cabin in the new sun we ran into some heat fearing cows. They were coming down from a nearby hill where they had been grazing most of the night. As the sun was starting to come out they were heading for the shade of the trees for the day. We heard one of the cows making this terribly painful mooing sound. This was the queen bee cow. Once she saw that there were humans coming her way she increased the volume of her moos to call all of the cows down from the hill and into the safety of the trees. It was like she was yelling….. “Ned come down from that hill and get into these trees before the humans get here. Don’t make me come up there or you’ll be sorry”. She continued this painful sounding moo until all of the cows were safely in the trees. It was like a cow version of a control freak soccer mom. I guess cows can’t live in peace either.

Sheep aren’t loaners
While Jenny and I were out observing the cows coming home to the shade of the trees for the day we saw one lone sheep wander down from the hills with the cows. As far as the eye could see there weren’t any other sheep around. This lone sheep followed the screeching moos of the queen bee cow and followed the rest of the heard into the trees for the day. I thought this was quite strange but my father in law said that sheep have a high need to be with a herd of some sort. I guess this sheep felt pretty comfortable hanging out with the Idaho cow gang for some reason. Hence the saying “Another pathetic sheep following the herd”. Sheep aren’t loaners.

Calves are pretty nimble
On the drive up to the cabin you have to drive for a couple of miles over gravel and dirt roads. The only life you see on the way there are cows and more cows. Occasionally, you will turn a corner and there will be cows standing right in the middle of the road. Obviously, these cows are used to cars coming by once in a while because if you drive up behind them they will saunter off of the road and out of your way. Cows aren’t very fast animals. On our drive up to the cabin we encountered some cows that had some calves with them. As the cows sauntered out of our way one of the calves ran beside our car and like a graceful gazelle leapt between two barbwire rows of a fence. I was shocked that any form of a cow could be so nimble. I’m sure over time with a lot of hanging out in the shade of the trees and standing around all night eating like they are at a Chuck-A-Rama buffet calves make the transformation from graceful to slow and round.

So in my estimation, if cows would spend more time in the sun playing cow games such as kick the salt lick and spend less time grazing they would be a lot more nimble and graceful. I’m glad they don’t because I still occasionally enjoy a good marbled steak.

Keep up the good work cows.

1 comment:

Emele said...

People should read this.