Happy Friday! (And Valentine’s Day if you choose to celebrate that “holiday.”)
I am staring a weekly series called “Farm Fridays.” With this series of posts, I am going to confess some of the thousands of agriculture related questions I had for my farmer when getting to know him and his operation. (I am sure there will be many more in the future too!) I grew up in Iowa, my grandfather was a farmer, my cousins grew up on the farm, and I had spent time of farms, so I thought I was pretty agriculturally savvy. Turns out . . . I had a lot to learn!
Look at all the cows!
My farmer is a cattleman. He feeds cattle twice a day so that they turn into delicious steak. The first time I visited the farm I think the dialogue went a bit like this:
Me: Wow, look at all the cows. How many are there?
J: Well those aren’t cows.
Me: They sure look like cows to me.
J: They are heifers.
Me: Isn’t that just a kind of cow?
J: Let me explain . . . <<insert ramblings on the difference between cows, heifers, steers, and bulls here>>.
I am neither the first nor last person in the world to think that all animals that look like cows are cows. Thanks to J’s lecturing, I can now give you a high level summary in layman’s terms:
- Cow – A female bovine who has baby calves. She is the mama you see in the rolling pastures.
- Heifer – A female bovine that hasn’t had any babies. This is one type of cattle fed at our farm.
- Steer – A male bovine that has had his testicles removed (for a good reason I will explain someday). These guys are also fed on our farm.
- Bulls – A male bovine with everything intact. He breeds the cows. He’s pretty important and knows it.
If you are REALLY interested. WikiHow has a great entry on this topic.
I still slip from time to time and call them cows. I try to be on my best behavior around other farmers so that they don’t catch on that I am a total novice. I am not convinced it has worked.
Side Note: During the penning of this post, I looked out my window and saw a heifer running down the driveway toward the road. As I am getting the hang of this farm wife thing, I knew I needed to take immediate action. I got up from my desk before my husband could summon me out. I quickly put on my boots and coat and went outside. There was definitely a situation happening. I did the only thing I could, close the gates to make sure no one else was leaving the farm. However, as quickly as I closed the gates, the loan heifer wanted back in. Oops! I felt like I did the wrong thing, but J assured be that I did a good job and he was proud. I guess I can do this after all!