Throwback Thursday – Would the Real Cows Please Stand Up?

So I knew when I started dating the Mister that he was interested in livestock animals – particularly cattle – and that he wanted to be a veterinarian. What I didn’t take into consideration, however, was the fact that this interest would lead to a life-long repeating conversation about the legitimacy of various types of cattle and how well they fit the definition of a “cow.” We’ve had this discussion countless times, and now several of his vet school friends have gotten in on it as well. I once published a blog article detailing my feelings on the topic (which, oddly enough, has been the most Google-searched and most popular article ever published on this blog), and for the benefit of certain vet school friends, I will resurrect it now.

(NOTE: I do, in fact, understand the difference between male and female cattle and between different types of breeds; I just continue the discussion to purposefully annoy my husband, because that’s what loving wives do. So for those vet students who tend to act like I couldn’t possibly understand anything about animals because I’m not taking your classes, I’m not stupid, I’m just a humor writer.)

Would the REAL Cows Please Stand Up? – originally published March 11, 2013

As a young child, I, like most other kindergarten-aged children, learned about farm animals. I learned that cows are white and black spotted. I learned that boy cows have horns and girl cows do not. I learned that boy cows get eaten while girl cows live to have baby cows. I also learned, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that cows say, “moo!”

These are cows.

What we've learned as "real cows" are actually Holstein cows.

See? Cows.

But one shocking thing I have learned as part of my marriage is that everything I learned about cows is WRONG!

IT’S ALL LIES I TELL YOU! LIES!!

First of all, according to the Mister, I’m not supposed to call them “boy cows” and “girl cows.” I’m supposed to call them bulls (males who can make babies), steers (males who cannot make babies), heifers (females who have never had babies) and cows (females who have had babies). The term “baby cows” still seems to be ok, but I’m going to ignore all that for the time being and just address the more major issues at hand.

 

Falsehood number one: Cows are black and white spotted.

The picture above is not a cow. Or at least, it’s not a “normal,” common cow – in our area at least. That is a picture of a Holstein, a type of dairy cattle that is actually not seen very much anymore. (It’s also the Chick-Fil-A cow, which drives the Mister nuts because they are not meat cattle and therefore shouldn’t be concerned about whether or not people “eat mor chikin.”) What IS a “normal” cow? Stay tuned. I’ll get to that in a minute.

 

Falsehood number two: Boy cows have horns and girl cows do not.

Both male and female cows can have horns. That depends on breed, not gender. Oh, and girl cows don’t always give milk either.

 

Falsehood number three: Boy cows get eaten while girl cows live to have more baby cows.

Dairy cattle are dairy cattle (like the Chik-Fil-A cows), regardless of gender. We rarely eat them at all – even the boys. When it comes to meat cattle, we eat everything. No cow is safe. (Except maybe those that throw off enough rodeo riders. But those would be bulls anyway, not cows, so the statement stands.)

 

And, finally and most traumatically,

Falsehood number four: Cows say, “moo!”

Cows, as I am constantly being corrected, do not say, “moo.” The Mister insists that in all his time in the cattle pens at work he has never heard a cow say, “moo.” They in fact say something more along the lines of “blugh.” (Did you ever hear about Old McDonald’s cow that had a “blugh blugh” here and a “blugh blugh” there? No. I didn’t think so.)

 

So what IS a “normal” cow? Well, it turns out there are lots of kinds of cows, and practically none of them look like the “real” cows pictured above. Here are a few I have learned to identify since I got married. (And go argue with the Mister about whether or not these are real cows. I dare you. It doesn’t end well.)

 

Angus cattle

Angus – all black; make good steaks

 

Black baldy cattle

Black Baldies – like angus, but with cute white faces

 

Belted galloway cattle

Belted Galloways – or, as we like to call them here in the Martin area: Oreo Cows

 

Hereford cattle

Herefords – red with white faces; very sweet

 

Brahman cattle

Brahman – cows with camel humps, essentially

 

Long Horn cattle

Long-horns – duh

 

Confused enough yet? Yeah. That makes a lot of us.

However, I, for one, will still teach my young children that cows say “moo;” regardless of how many times the Mister cringes.

Did I Mention Counter Space?

My best friend (“Goose”) and her husband bought their first house this past weekend, and I don’t think I could possibly be happier for them! It’s an adorable starter home, and I cannot even begin to describe how jealous I am that she’s going to have kitchen counter space. And a washing machine. And a giant closet… the list could go on and on.

The new Gunter house. :-)

The new Gunter house. 🙂

But while the Mister and I were flipping through the pictures on Goose’s facebook profile, and he zoomed through the most important images, I realized a very major and important difference between he and I.

“Hey! Go back!”

“Back to what?”

“The kitchen! You didn’t even let me look at the kitchen!”

“It’s just a kitchen.”

“Well that’s just the yard. I don’t care about the yard. I want to look at the kitchen!”

**Blank, confused stare from the Mister**

He didn’t even want to look at the kitchen!!! I was in shock. While I wanted to examine every detail of the countertops, backsplash design, appliances and room layout… he just wanted to flip through and look at the yard. The yard! Yes, a yard is nice and I’m happy they have one, but the kitchen is infinitely more important. To have the cabinets just right, enough counter space the right distance apart, all the proper utilities… how could you NOT be concerned about that???

I can see us now, looking at houses (or even just apartments) someday in the future:

Me: “Oh, honey! Look at the big windows in this kitchen! I love the counter space!”

Mister: “Ok.”

Realtor: “The kitchen appliances are all being included by the owners.”

Me: “Did you hear that, honey? The appliances are included!”

Mister: “Ok. What type of grass is in the yard? Is this area zoned for cows?”

Realtor: “Zoned for cows?”

Me: “Honey, did you see the size of this pantry?!”

Mister: “Yes. Cows. For the yard.”

You see how this is going? There’s going to be a house someday with the perfect kitchen, and we’re not going to buy it because it doesn’t have the right kind of grass or something.

Actually, no, that’s not going to happen. Because if I find the perfect kitchen – or really, at this point, if I find any decent counter space at all – I’m going to duct tape myself to it and refuse to move until it’s mine.

Even if the current homeowners have to cook around me.

(Did I mention Goose is going to have counter space????) 🙂

What did your first home look like? What features does your ideal home have?

**Oh, and a note for last week’s readers: The chicken coop pictured in the blog is not the same coop we found at Tractor Supply Company. The TSC website would not let me steal that picture, so I Googled “fancy chicken coop” and found the one I used. For all the women who have asked my mother-in-law where they can buy that chicken coop (you do realize I was referring to it as a crazy contraption, right?), the one we saw was the same style pictured here: http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/ware-manufacturing-premium-chick-n-barn–nest-box-kit

Would the REAL Cows Please Stand Up?

As a young child, I, like most other kindergarten-aged children, learned about farm animals. I learned that cows are white and black spotted. I learned that boy cows have horns and girl cows do not. I learned that boy cows get eaten while girl cows live to have baby cows. I also learned, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that cows say, “moo!”

These are cows.

What we've learned as "real cows" are actually Holstein cows.

See? Cows.

But one shocking thing I have learned as part of my marriage is that everything I learned about cows is WRONG!

IT’S ALL LIES I TELL YOU! LIES!!

First of all, according to the Mister, I’m not supposed to call them “boy cows” and “girl cows.” I’m supposed to call them bulls (males who can make babies), steers (males who cannot make babies), heifers (females who have never had babies) and cows (females who have had babies). The term “baby cows” still seems to be ok, but I’m going to ignore all that for the time being and just address the more major issues at hand.

 

Falsehood number one: Cows are black and white spotted.

The picture above is not a cow. Or at least, it’s not a “normal,” common cow – in our area at least. That is a picture of a Holstein, a type of dairy cattle that is actually not seen very much anymore. (It’s also the Chick-Fil-A cow, which drives the Mister nuts because they are not meat cattle and therefore shouldn’t be concerned about whether or not people “eat mor chikin.”) What IS a “normal” cow? Stay tuned. I’ll get to that in a minute.

 

Falsehood number two: Boy cows have horns and girl cows do not.

Both male and female cows can have horns. That depends on breed, not gender. Oh, and girl cows don’t always give milk either.

 

Falsehood number three: Boy cows get eaten while girl cows live to have more baby cows.

Dairy cattle are dairy cattle (like the Chik-Fil-A cows), regardless of gender. We rarely eat them at all – even the boys. When it comes to meat cattle, we eat everything. No cow is safe. (Except maybe those that throw off enough rodeo riders. But those would be bulls anyway, not cows, so the statement stands.)

 

And, finally and most traumatically,

Falsehood number four: Cows say, “moo!”

Cows, as I am constantly being corrected, do not say, “moo.” The Mister insists that in all his time in the cattle pens at work he has never heard a cow say, “moo.” They in fact say something more along the lines of “blugh.” (Did you ever hear about Old McDonald’s cow that had a “blugh blugh” here and a “blugh blugh” there? No. I didn’t think so.)

 

So what IS a “normal” cow? Well, it turns out there are lots of kinds of cows, and practically none of them look like the “real” cows pictured above. Here are a few I have learned to identify since I got married. (And go argue with the Mister about whether or not these are real cows. I dare you. It doesn’t end well.)

 

Angus cattle

Angus – all black; make good steaks

 

Black baldy cattle

Black Baldies – like angus, but with cute white faces

 

Belted galloway cattle

Belted Galloways – or, as we like to call them here in the Martin area: Oreo Cows

 

Hereford cattle

Herefords – red with white faces; very sweet

 

Brahman cattle

Brahman – cows with camel humps, essentially

 

Long Horn cattle

Long-horns – duh

 

Confused enough yet? Yeah. That makes a lot of us.

However, I, for one, will still teach my young children that cows say “moo;” regardless of how many times the Mister cringes.

My Great Barnyard Adventure

I am married to a cowboy.

While this does have its advantages (i.e. white cowboy hat), it also has its downsides (cue barnyard smells).

But this past weekend, when the mister rolled out of bed to go feed the university’s cows far earlier than anyone wants to be up on a Saturday, I was struck by an inexplicable desire to go with him.

For some reason completely foreign to me, this semi-city girl wanted to go see the cows.

Sort of like a small child wanting to meet the Muppets.

So I went. And I hung out the Dodge window and took pictures of the cows thundering past on their way to the feed trough. And I felt like I was on the set of the Lion King when the buffalo stampede. And I loved every minute of it.

I wasn’t allowed to get out of the truck while the boys fed, partly because I was way too interested in taking pictures to pay attention to not being run over, and partly because I probably would have stolen the tiny baby calf named Minnie Pearl.

The mister’s farm buddy, J, kept looking over at me like he thought I was crazy. I wonder why.

I don’t know what it was about watching the boys walk through the sixty-six massive steers waiting at the feed trough like children, or watching the sheep run along the fence in single file waiting for the boys to bring their food, or hearing the goats bellow from their barn stall that made me feel like I was in another world.

Probably because I was.

My world is full of air conditioned offices, comfy computer chairs and gossipy secretaries. In my world I type documents and research product costs. I give presentations to high-ranking administrators and plan promotional campaigns.

I don’t wade through herds of living animals three times my size like they are a flock of chickens. I don’t pat enormous angus bulls on the head and treat them like puppies. Needless to say, I was impressed by the mister’s and J’s lack of nervousness around such giant creatures.

Our worlds are almost as far apart as they could get, but somehow that separation helps the mister and I get along as well as we do. I don’t necessarily understand all the things he deals with every day, but I don’t have to. Just like he doesn’t have to understand what a SWOT analysis is or when to apply the ROSIE method. We just have to know when to nod our heads and make approving gestures at appropriate times.

However, my great barnyard adventure did give me a bit more perspective on what the mister’s life is like on a daily basis.

“Playing” with the cows was fun for an hour, but it’s not something I would want to do every day. Even from the truck. . . in the air conditioning. . . not loading and unloading heavy feed buckets. . .

But then again, he wouldn’t want to stand in front of a conference room of executives and pitch campaign plans either. So I guess that makes us even.

The second picture is of Minnie Pearl, the tiniest of the babies, who reminds me a bit of Bambi for some reason.