A Year In Cows by Jane Booth

(Cover painting by the author)



Early May


   The new bull has developed such a neck this past month as to make a sumo wrestler weep. Never before have I seen a bull quite so testosterone laden. His aching bellows are not only near deafening, they are obscene; I've seen people get embarrassed who've been out here when he cries out his agonizing tenor aria.

   He's waiting alone impatiently in the orchard just next to the house for the big day when he'll begin the race for 33 cows and run 500 pounds off his bulk in a couple of weeks.

   My old, blind and deaf German short-haired dog has a good sniffer and chases cats only by smell, so she feigns left, then right, as the cat does, rather than taking the shortest distance—a version of Simon Says.

   Found a morel today. The white-faced calves are getting fat, the trees are lacing out, warblers coming through, and Scissortailed Flycatchers.  A gulp of air is all a body needs on a day like today.



Late June


   Right now there's a herd of fifteen giggling heifers in the orchard east of the front porch, huddled together like teenage girls at a party—where one goes, they all follow in a cluster. The young virgin bull has just been turned out with them to earn his living, and now all sixteen of them are flirting avoiding pursuing ignoring and mounting one another indiscriminately with awkward exuberance and without scoring.