html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Following up on that last post.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Following up on that last post.

Maybe the whales wanted to go look at the ancient Chinese junk buried in a sandbar in the Sacramento River up near Chico! That's the story, that there is a 15th century Chinese junk buried up there. I heard about it when I was working on farms in the Sac Valley, but the guy whose property it is on is top-secret mysterio, so his farmer buddies wouldn't tell me where it was.

The couple weeks working near Chico were pretty good. It was two solid weeks of undertree sprinklers on almonds, which are my favorite irrigation system. Almonds aren't a great orchard to work in; weak shade and the trees are grabby and scratchy. Walnuts have the best shade of any tree I've ever seen. You guys know that when you're out in ag land, almond rhymes with salmon? People will know you're not a local girl if you pronounce the 'l'.

Since we were talking about cows, I would like to take this opportunity to explain that I AM NOT EITHER SCARED OF COWS. I am naturally wary of any animal with that much mass and such a tiny little brain. Little tiny brains, the size of walnuts and so much cow to control. How are you going to negotiate with a tiny little walnut, explain that we have common interests and can work out mutually beneficial arrangements where no one needs to charge anyone with all their tons of pounds?

Although, I'm not sure I like cows any better if they are smarter than I give them credit for. At CalPoly I personally saw two bulls work together to up-end a watering trough so they could scratch their horns on the legs, which I figure is exactly one step away from them figuring out the latches on their stalls, coming into my classes and competing with me for the top of the curve. I don't need that.

So, I am a trifle... cautious about cows, and I don't think it is necessary for the funnier Megan and Jason to notice this and point it out when we are in the same meadow as cows, who could well overhear us and exploit that weakness. And for all that the funnier Megan was all "Hah hah, you're scared of cows and I am not", don't think I didn't notice that she always arranged it so I was between her and the cows and NO, I DO NOT NEED TO CONFRONT THOSE FEARS. I am not afraid for one, and for two, I do not come to terms with it because I nearly never encounter cows.

Besides, I have too been around cows enough. We learned surveying in the cow pasture at CalPoly, which was oh-for-two, because I hated surveying as much as any subject I've ever taken. And then! The summer I worked on irrigation systems, there were two days of wheel-line on pasture and there were lots of cows in the pasture. It was just coincidence that those were the days they weaned and removed the calves, so the cows were all jumpy and would crowd us when we approached the gates to get back to their calves. I quietly explained to them that I was the vegetarian and my colleague was the one who ate steaks all the time, and if they had any issues to take it up with her first. They only trampled her, so I guess you can talk to them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are cows, and then there are cows... convice them that they should cooperate, or be dinner, and cooperation it is, unless they are bulls. If they still have all their parts, and you head towards them with a pair of snips, there may be trouble. It's surely better to have them in stocks, then. Oh, and be carefull about the brain size thing... they get a complex about that.

"why should I listen to you, puny human?"
"every cow for themselves, run away!"

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Indigo Starblaster said...

I went to visit the Experimental Farm here in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) with my three-year-old for the first time a few weeks ago, and saw my first real live cows since, oh, the sixth grade.

My, they're big.

My three-year-old didn't want anywhere near them, and I was just as glad to stand back myself, even if they were tethered and, in some cases, corraled by electrical current (I guess these ones were the Bad Cows).

By the way, I love yer blog. Keep flying,

Indigo S.

1:22 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

I quietly explained to them that I was the vegetarian and my colleague was the one who ate steaks all the time

This seems to work for me too--far more often than it ought to considering they probably don't have the ability to parse my sentences. They just somehow know I'm the friendly one.

Someday I will learn to do the same with people and they will like me for reasons they don't quite understand too.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Anyone for a quick game of cow tipping?

4:26 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

I'm sorry, since when are whales carnivores, and since when are dolphins whales? Are they changing science on me again? All that learning about baleen and everything?

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some plankton are animals.


5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Whales come in baleen and “toothed” varieties (think Shamu) dolphins are the small end of the toothed branch of the family. Justin is quite right – baleen whales are filter feeders, but zooplankton are numerous! If you want vegetarian marine mammals look for manatees (aka sea cows) which are fairly numerous in Florida. That’s it – it’s the cow thing that keeps Megan from liking Florida – cows above and cows below!


7:07 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Whom are you trying to convince?

All I'm sayin' is, I smelled many things in that field and one of them was fear. I'm pretty sure "Number 43" could smell it too.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous HC said...

Just a thought.

12:32 AM  
Anonymous jon said...

Meggie wrote:

" You guys know that when you're out in ag land, almond rhymes with salmon? People will know you're not a local girl if you pronounce the 'l'. "

TMML.....the old joke is that they are aLmond trees, but the nuts are called amonds like salmon - and that's b/c to harvest the nuts, the farmers have to shake the 'ell out of the tree.....

Cows are nice and cows are tasty and cows give us good things like cheese and ice cream. Maybe you need to take a road trip to Wisconsin for some Cow Immersion Therapy?

6:07 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I've spent plenty of time with cows. I am NOT scared of them. Just hesitant. As one should be about something with that much mass and no thought.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

hc, that was GREAT. I loved his rhetorical gestures during his speech. Also, it confirmed my fond belief that during the Revolution, the Revolutionaries will recognize our common cause, and I will be spared.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad doesn't pronounce the 'l' in almond. He grew up in Durham picking them.
Also, he has a spectacular cherry tree in the back yard, just dripping with cherries. Want me to let you know the next time I go over there? All he needs is your solemn promise not to sue if you fall off the ladder.


1:13 PM  

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