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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


We have always had a few cows to keep pasture grass a civilized length, and as an excuse for fences, tractors, cattle gaps, and so on. Lawrence Smith has been our "cow man" since forever, and the arrival of his old blue truck engenders a stampede towards the barn. He knows every quirk of every cow, how much she cost, how many calves she's had and what they sold for.

We usually have a bull and have never had a speck of trouble. Our bulls have all been gentle giants, or at least gentle mediocre boy bovines--I'm not sure why, in the more than 20 years I've lived here with them, we've never had a single one that fits the stereotype of the pawing, charging, fence-destroying behemoths of legend. Maybe because they always live with the girls. At any rate, kids, cows, bulls, and donkeys have always coexisted peacefully around here.

Ellen's cows are both higher-class than ours--hers are Angus, ours are mutts--and more spoiled. They get hand-fed from a bucket, instead of a blue truck. But ours are art-lovers: one of our huge concrete sculptures mysteriously seemed to shift positions from day to day. Turns out our bull was in love, and pushed it around during the night. That's amore'!

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