In a Sow’s Ear
In 1996, John Pukite ” I am not even going to try to pronounce that last name aloud ” wrote “A Field Guide to Cows.” It’s still available and if you’re looking for a reference book that can tell you everything you might want to know about cattle breeds, history, cow products, statistics and famous cows of yore, rush to the nearest book store.
It begins with a discourse on “How To Watch A Cow.” Like bird-watching, there are certain regulations and requirements for viewing and recording the cows you come across. The Guide ends with a free “cow call” and includes instructions on how to use.
In between, the richness of factual information is astounding while the writing style is done with such humor, you go from a smile to a grin to a chortle to a guffaw. On about every other page is a cartoon drawing of a cow under the caption “Cow Fact” followed by a pithy piece of cow information.
Page 19: Per day, a cow spends 6 hours eating and 8 hours chewing cud.
Page 27: It takes about 1 1/2 gallons of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream.
Page 31: Today, dairy cows produce double the amount of milk compared to cows from the 1960s.
Page: 49: From 1866 to 1895 cowboys drove about 10 million cattle out of Texas.
Page: 51: Cows can hear lower and higher frequencies better than humans.
Page 55: Cows can live 25 years.
Page 65: Cambridge, Mass., started off as a cow pasture, and Boston was actually laid out by cow paths.
Page 67: A cow’s heart beats between 60 and 70 beats per minute.
Page 73: A 1,000-pound cow produces an average of 10 tons of manure a year.
Page 77: A cow stands up and sits down about 14 times a day.
Page 79: An average cow with two milkings produces about 10 gallons of milk a day, or 50 to 60 pounds.
Page 83: From “Verses From 1929 On” by Ogden Nash: “The Cow is of the Bovine ilk; One end is moos, the other, milk.”
Page: 85: An average cow drinks about 30 gallons of water and eats 95 pounds of feed per day.
Page 87: There are an estimated 920 different cow breeds in the world.
Page 95: In the ancient Celtic religion the cow of different colors held different meanings: A black cow meant death; a brown cow meant fertility; and white cows symbolized the sun cult.
Page 97: A cow can detect odors up to five miles away.
Page 99: In 1540 Coronado, coming from Mexico, brought 500 head of cattle onto U.S. soil.
Page 101: There are approximately 350 squirts in a gallon of milk.
Page 113: Old cows in India have their own nursing homes.
Page 119: People first domesticated cows about 5,000 years ago.
Page 126: Cow Products: A 1,000-pound steer produces approximately 430 pounds of beef; around 1 percent of the gross weight is lost during processing, and the remaining 570 pounds might go into: Bandages, baseball gloves, buttons. “Camel”-hair brushes, candles, ceramics, chewing gum, combs, cosmetics, crayons. Deodorants, detergent. Emery boards, explosives. Floor wax, fly swatters. Glue.
Hood ornaments, hydraulic brake fluid. Ice Cream, imitation tortoise shell, insecticides, insulation, insulin. Linoleum, luggage. Margarine, marshmallows, mayonnaise, medical sutures. Natural sausage casing, neatsfoot oil. Paints, perfumes, piano keys, photographic film, phonograph records, plastics. Runway foam for airports. Shaving cream, sheetrock, soaps. Textiles, trypsin. Wallets, wallpaper. And yogurt thickener.
When those anti-cow folk are busy eating their free-range yogurt, do you think they know they’re eating cow?
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