Friday, September 16, 2016

Names and Numbers

A recent bovine census estimates the cattle population of Wyoming at 1,270,000. I can't find any data on this, but I think it's safe to say that the majority of said citizens are unnamed.

I've often been teased--loudly ridiculed once--for naming our cows. It's likely they haven't befriended an Angus or kept company with a Hereford, so they don't know how winsome a cow can be if treated kindly. 

A typical rancher may look at a beef cow and see numerals: ID tag number, age, milk index, feed efficiency, body condition score, weaning weights of her calves, number of times she's needed to be doctored or helped with calving, profit and loss. Not me. I stink at math and can't remember numbers. Besides, I look at a mama cow and see an amiable, beautiful creature working fairly hard to help us pay our taxes and land payments. How can I not give her a name?

At this point, I'd like to tell you that a cow can recognize her name on the lips of a person who cares for her, but if I did, you'd think I was at least one bale short of a stack. 

I get that some folks really don't want to know that their cheeseburger used to be a sweet calf named Gus who was the apple of his mama's eye, or that their steak was a friendly, playful fellow named Pancho. Still, no cow has lived here and given us calves, no calf has romped around our pasture in the evening, who hasn't been dignified with a name. Sometimes, if they were particularly ornery, they even earned (albeit unflattering) nicknames. 

Princess and Penelope lead the herd down the trail to fresh pasture. Princess has enough stories and personality to have her own Facebook page. 

Cupcake watches over her heifer, Cinnamon. Cupcake is a grandma but goofs off like a young calf. 


"He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." ~John 10:3 NIV

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