Tag Archives: Cows

cowcount poem #1100

cow poses for camera

mitch you’re totally wrong
when you say why do I need
1100 cows on my computer my
reply is if you need 11 cows it is
good to have 1100 to choose from
we have the singing cow the
suspicious cow the bellicose cow
the contemplative cow we have
cows in parades cows reluctant
to go in the barn cows coming
from pasture eager to be milked
cows that are beauties a cow
really ugly with crumpled horn
spavined hips whose name is
actually beauty we have cows
surrounded with schoolkids
cows being milked in the barn
daisy being milked in a milking
contest at a college field day
we have two farmhands sitting
on a cow fields of contented cows
and we haven’t even got to bulls
and calves yet no 1100 is not too
many mitch when you dive to photo
fish in a coral reef do you want just
11 fish no you want 1100

Every Day is Mother’s Day


“The cow is a mother. Treat her as such!”
–Governor Hoard, of Hoards Dairyman magazine

“Why don’t we have a ‘Children’s Day’?” we have all known kids to whine. Our inevitable reply is, “Every day is Children’s Day!”

On the Dougan farm, every day was Mother’s Day. In her actual motherhood, the cow was carefully tended during her pregnancy, and when she “dropped” her calf, someone was there to help if she needed help. If she had real trouble, the doctor —the vet —saw her through her birthing. Her natural process was to lick her newborn clean, help the calf totter to its feet, then nudge it to the udder where it knew by instinct how to suck. It stayed with its mother several days. When it was separated and went to live in the calf barn, the herdsman, for several weeks, still carried it a bucket of its own mother’s milk —this was for the natural protection offered by its own mother.

Sometimes, in the summer, a cow gave birth in a field. Then she stayed with her babe, fending off the other cows —always curious –until the herdsman came and brought them both to the barn and a special stall. Once a befuddled cow returned on her own, without her new baby. No one knew where the calf was. The call went out, and everyone searched the pastures till a tiny bleat was heard, and there was the babe close to the fence, hidden in the grass. Mother and child were happy to be reunited.

In 1926 my grandfather wrote, “I confess I have a tender feeling toward Motherhood. I am almost nutty on the subject. I cannot harm a mother mouse, I save the homes of mother birds, not because I want their young rascals to strip my corn and steal my berries, but because I respect the mother spirit. And, with the domestic animals, I take great delight in observing the mother pig, getting her confidence and helping her in caring for her litter. Especially does the baby heifer going though her first experience of motherhood appeal to me; and I try to heed Mr. Hoard’s injunction, ‘The cow is a mother, treat her as such.’ When it comes to the motherhood of humans, my thought and respect is only deepened and intensified. The pregnant mother is beautiful to me. This prudishness would not be, if men and women could revere motherhood.”

Happy Mothers Day!

Six-Day Cow

I’ve been digging through materials from my family farm and found a clipping that fits with something my grampa said. I used it as a poem in Illinois Times where I supply a weekly column:

1952 news item just found:
“Dairy Workers to 5-Day
Week.” —ten years before
this clipping I heard my
grandfather say “We can’t
go to a six-day week until
we breed a six-day cow.”

Speaking of labor issues, I’ve also found items dating from the 1920s that document Grampa’s struggles with how to give each of his hired men a day off. He also wanted each man to to have a half day on Sunday for relaxation and devotion. He solved the problem by working himself one day each week in place of the man released, and juggling Sunday in various ways. He included himself in having a full day off every week. He’d get up and put on his good clothes, then read, write, and spend time with his family.