Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Cowculator:

Today I helped Bobby build a feed trough. The weather was gorgeous - balmy spring-like breezes, deep blue sky and the perfume of thawing earth. Midway through the afternoon a call came in from Bud, across the branch, that a cow was about to have her calf. "Let's go deliver a calf." says Bobby, and off we went, the four wheeler slinging mud every which way, Baby riding in my lap, me hanging on for dear life. Bobby loves to push the four wheeler envelope.

The new calf was subject to some attention even more unusual than my camera, a cow, not his mother, was determined to adopt him - so there were two cows trying to take care of one calf. The faux mother was over the top with her maternal instincts - when we walked up, she started pawing the ground and snorting like a Spanish bull at a matador. I stood behind Bobby, who was not intimidated. He sic'd Baby on her and popped her in the rear with a dirt clod. "Go have your own if you want one so bad." (She is expecting.) This little bull calf makes 14 - not enough to support a child by the cowculator, but the spring will bring more, and none have been lost.

As we watched the cows and calves, Bobby and Bud alternating between ribbing each other and recounting which cow came from where and what its nature is, the branch, full of melted snow, burbling along, occasional high thin notes of the meadowlarks and killdeers sounding across the fields, the late afternoon sun gilding the scene, such a wonderful contentment settled in that I felt almost newborn too.


SBD said...

These two blogs bring more purpose than all the forecaster, robbers and bad politicians could possibly imagine. Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can.

Dan Dutton said...

I talked to Bobby the other day about permission to write about him, use his image in my work, etc - the basic civilized courtesy - and he was charming and gracious, as well as hilarious about it - "It doesn't bother me."
It was also an occasion to talk about the farm & art. I told him that it meant the world to us, though why might be hard for some to understand. He said, "It's home."
When I told him that at least 5 generations of men before my generation had all been farmers & I was a deviant. "Dummy" sez he, and we had a laugh.

The cowculator's assessments may be the best remedy I've run into for taking art TOO seriously!

Cathy said...

Bobby is an amazing guy, and I'm so glad you two have forged such a wonderful friendship.

Dan Dutton said...

Yeah, me too. I think it surprises us both a little - the world of art and that of cattle farming might seem to admit little common ground, but in this case, both are responsive to nature. (and manned by contraries!)