Must be swell being a steer

stockjudging1Here you see the building that’s just across the parking lots where the Liberal Arts college (including the History department) is located at Baa Ram U.  How many of you can boast a stock judging pavillion in your immediate environs?  It’s just another charming detail of life on this High Plains Desert–like two feet of snow before Halloween, and then temperatures in November in the 70s.  Go figure!  (If only there were a rodeo ring there, too–now that would be fun.  They do occasionally park some bulls at the Stock Judging Pavillion, usually towards the end of the spring semester.)

stockjudging2Take a look at the boys over here on the right:  as Bill says to Jake in The Sun Also Rises“Must be swell being a steer.”  Consider that your eye candy (of a rusticated sort) for the day.  Sorry for the poor quality of the photos–I shot these with my trusty 3-year old mobile phone on the fly as I rushed to my veal-fattening pen office Monday morning.  (Well, it’s not really a veal-fattening pen:  I have four walls, a proper door, a big window, a new heating and cooling system and unfortunately, extremely ugly carpeting.)

If you haven’t seen it already, go read Knitting Clio’s post on the state of heterosexuality and the pill in the early 1960s, which she wrote in response to my post about what a grim, joyless undertaking is heterosex on Mad Men.  This is just an open thread, for anyone who wants to “share.”  Consider it a grown-up version of “show and tell,” only with lots more telling and lots less showing, considering the technology.

0 thoughts on “Must be swell being a steer

  1. When I was an undergrad, a friend in the pre-vet stream was taking a course that involved stock-handling. She was assigned a particularly recalcitrant Hereford calf to deal with and begged our help to halter-break the li’l bastard.

    Being a sucker, I agreed. I thought my years working with horses had prepared me for animal stupidity but, no!, cows are completely different. Nothing like being dragged face-first through a pen of you know what on a cold morning to be a defining moment in my education.

    At least my friend was better able to handle the calf after that session and did well enough in the calf-handling component of her class to not disgrace her GPA. And our majors complain about the required methods class with archival and microform requirements!


  2. They used to herd a small group of longhorn cattle right by our house on the way to the big fourth of July parade in Potterville. Nothing like being awakened by the clop-clop-clop of hooves on pavement! The parade itself was always a highlight, too: not only did it feature more horses than most parades I’ve seen, but the regular passage of street sweepers mingling among the floats and cleaning up after the horses was one of the more amusing fourth-of-July displays of civic responsibility I’ve ever witnessed.


  3. Great! reminded me of Jane Smiley’s academic satire (or maybe not so satiric after all!) _Moo_.
    No cattle or other large animals around me now, but I did grow up adjacent to a dairy farm in New England, and the cows from time to time broke through their fence and got into my father’s vegetable garden – literally, “cows in the corn.”


  4. Kathie, I *LOVED* Moo when I first read it in the mid-1990s. Brilliant book–much better than anything David Lodge ever wrote. (I find his books unreadable–they’re just far too English, far too sexist, far too everything…and I like English novels a lot, usually.)

    Tom, I’ve been out of town for the 4th of July recently, so I haven’t seen the longhorns lately, but they are an impressive sight. It’s only semi-terrifying to see the streets of Potterville lined with cheering toddlers and children as the steer move down the street…I’m always fearful of a stampede, but I think they have those animals on valium or something like that.

    Janice: great story about breaking the calf! It must come in handy when dealing with recalcitrant students, on occasion, amirite?


  5. The last woman I dated is a fan of rodeo. She still comes over to watch it on my big screen. A couple nights ago I was subjected to an unholy triumvirate of television: Keeping up with the Kardashians, Professional Bull Riding’s world championship (winner is Kody Lostroh from Longmont BTW), and finally a NatGeo show on 2012 predictions, which was the clearest sign that the night had come to an end.

    I also took her to the rodeo here a few years ago mainly for the PBR event. It was quite something and I’m glad I had the experience. I drank the obligatory Coors in a plastic bottle and watched a lot of the show. They had a Clydesdale team in one segment, and a Wells Fargo coach in another. Finally with a big wagon team and they showed how you can back up a wagon that is hitched to 8 horses who don’t usually want to walk backward.

    Have you read or seen Plainsong? I caught a stage performance that I really enjoyed.

    WIRED had coverage of the newest haptic cow this week. I’m glad I’m not a vet, or a cow.


  6. I’m using Robert Dykstra’s oldie but goodie, _The Cattle Towns_, set in pre-Ozian Kansas, in the U.S. Survey this semester. We were talking about that great apostle of Western Expansion, Horace Potter, yesterday, so I swung them a little bit farther west (virtually, of course) to Potterville for a look at a *real* “on the hoof” kind of a town. I was visiting at the OTHER State U. back when Smiley’s book came out–right after the e-mail was invented I think–and I was deluged with e-mails from city slicker friends back east assuming that I knew where all of the great scenes “happened,” which I didn’t.

    The only dialogue items I’ve retained from _The Sun Also Rises_ are two classic pieces of pub-crawl guytalk, viz. “Comest the commestibles,” and the even drunker lament that “the road to Hell is paved with unbought stuffed dogs…”


  7. Well, I don’t have any cow stories (though I loved MOO too). But we do have cattle grazing right next to campus, which is kind of neat. I have helped shear both sheep and a llama — the latter leading to a sharp kick in the shins. My friend had never done it before and it was a case of learning by doing….


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