Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Silence of the Cows

Sometimes what you think is, isn’t.

For instance, I’ve often heard the cows across the road humming. One cow would start: “UUMMMMMmmmmmmmm.” Another who join in, then another. Imagine a bovine group meditation. I thought the group hum meant the cows were content and at peace with the world.

Turns out I was wrong. At my vet’s recent 10th-anniversay of his practice dinner, an agricultural Phd. was the guest speaker. While chatting with him, I asked why cows hum. Turns out they hum when they’re under stress. Since cows prefer cool weather (they’re happiest when the temps are slightly above freezing!), the heat could be stressing them.

The cows are pretty good neighbors. Sometimes one or a few come to the fence to visit. The other evening a beige heifer, the panda-faced bull, and one of the black bulls were at the fence.

There are several bulls in the pasture. They all seem to get along, but Panda-face is the leader. He’s the one who calls the herd to him with his distinctive "Muuuuhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmm-bwwwwaaaahhhh-buwwwWAAAHHH!" bellow.

Anyhow, I crossed the road to visit. I noticed the two bulls were licking the heifer.

Here Panda-face takes his turn at a lick.

Where they currying her favor? Trying to get her to choose one over the other? Was this (Gasp!) bovine foreplay?

Then it occurred to me: the day had been really hot. The cows were sweaty. There was no salt block in the pasture that I knew of. The two bulls had merely found a substitute for a salt block.

At least, that’s what I figure. The cows aren’t telling.



Anonymous Claudia said...

A real.....
" Cow-lick"
had to do it....
The last picture makes the beige cow look like she has breasts!!!
Ya just gotta love cows...

3:27 PM  

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