#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things C

C for Cows

They are curious and will always look at you, which is good for pictures. Photo credit: Esther Armstrong

Back in the old days…

Often in the late afternoon, when it was time to do the milking, I was sent out to find the cows. Sometimes they would be waiting to be let into the barn (depending on how uncomfortable they were, needing to have their udders relieved). But since they had many acres of grassland on which to feed, they were at other times, nowhere to be seen. I would head off, running or on bike, in the direction they had last been seen, opening gates as I went. The cows tend to follow each other in a line, wearing a path about a foot wide, dotted with what we descriptively called cow pies. Being able to yell in a voice that carried, was also helpful. Our cows answered to “Cum boss!” and we always made the “boss” long and loud like a fog horn.

Once I found them, and got their attention, they would stop grazing and start toward the barn. Slowly I would urge them – we were not to make them run. Cows must think, because the thought of going to the barn would sometimes cause them to let down their milk. Nothing looks more counterproductive, not to mention painful, than to see a running cow with a swollen udder flapping between her legs, spraying milk this way and that as she trots. All in all, they liked coming to the barn where they knew they would get food, water and relief.

Our cows were all named, and they all had their own places in the barn. The barn was always prepared beforehand, with stanchions opened and turned the right way, and hay or silage laid out on the floor in the manger area. The automatic watering cups were checked to make sure they were clean and working and full. The smart cows would walk sedately to their place, stick their heads in the stanchion and begin to eat, waiting for us to come and close them in. The smarter cows would quickly stick their heads in a place other than their own, eat a few mouthfuls and then scoot into their place. They aren’t dumb when it comes to food.

Cows are large, warm, smooth haired with long pink tongues and breath that smells like hay, most of the time. They are very curious and will come running to investigate new things that appear in the field.  After being held in the barn over our cold Wisconsin winter, they would be let out in the spring and race around kicking up their heels, which was quite comical because cows are not the most graceful animals. They just aren’t.

Today I was taken back in time, as I once again went looking for the cows. I had a file on my pc, and wanted my favorite cow pictures for this post, because, yes, I had enough of them to have favorites. The cow file was nowhere to be found. This digital age has given them too many pastures in which to hide, except for these few stragglers who have finally heard me yelling “cum boss!”

These were the only cows I could find. They knew I was taking their picture and would have been on me in a second…

So, who has ever accidentally landed in a cow pie?

11 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things C

  1. Never lived on a farm, but my sister did for years. They named all their cows too, except the ones that were gonna be slaughtered. Their logic: Didn’t wanna be eating Susie, especially if Susie happened to be coming over for a visit.

  2. When my family moved from the Mid-west to San Diego, we lived in a neighborhood that is now in the center of the City of San Diego. But way back then, our back yard marked the border between the City and the County. There were horse corrals a block and a half from us (where there is now a Kaiser Permanente Hospital), and a dairy farm about half a mile away. We would go — against Mom’s instructions — to see the horses, but we never went to see the cows. However, on days the wind came out of the west, we sure knew there were cows close by. lol

  3. When my parents bought the house that my father still lives in, there was a working dairy farm next door. I loved to watch the cows. Pa Jackson — the farmer — still milked by hand into a bucket.
    Now I’m staying with my dad to help him since my mom passed away. In a field in the opposite direction from Jackson’s, I walk past some steer, who are nowhere near as friendly as Pa Jackson’s cows. One fellow shakes his head and horns at me in warning nearly every time I go by.
    But cows are most definitely photogenic. Loved your pictures.

  4. I like your letter “C” because who doesn’t like cows? I grew up in the city, but my grandparents were farm folk and would tell stories about cows, among other animals, of course. As for your cow pie question, my answer is: “not me!” That just doesn’t happen in my suburban world. 😉

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