In a Sow’s Ear |

In a Sow’s Ear

I spent the weekend at a writing seminar. The assemblage was made up of highly educated folk ” some doctors, some lawyers, some teachers and other professional people ” from all over the U.S. All of them city born and bred. They had no knowledge of how food and fiber happens. No clue about what it takes to provide daily sustenance to keep them happily going on with their professional lives. But they did know that they knew more than any farmer or rancher about the profession of farming and ranching. They had strong opinions on “red” meat, “organic” food and especially on “endangered” species such as wolves.

In an attempt to educate without preaching or screeching, I made copies of the following A to Z country-life list, written some 15 years ago. With country panache (translation: smile and keep snide comments to myself) I gave each of the seminar attendees a copy.


Agriculture’s country rhythms city folk don’t know

Blatting lambs and bawling calves and colts that whicker low

Counting critters, checking heifers, calving out the cows

Dally ropes and playful doggies, time to farrow sows

Ear-ing down a snorty bronc and getting set to brand

Finding strays and feeding bums and fencing ‘cross the land

Grasses, grains, and gardens flourish ” rich with food to eat

Hay and horses, hens and eggs, and bees make honey sweet

Irrigating, shoveling mud and hauling heavy dams

Jug the ewes in early spring, assist the birth of lambs

Kittens mew in plaintive voices in the milking barn

Lambs grow fat and ewes grow wool to make the fine-spun yarn

Mow the hay and harvest grain in summer until fall

Nestled calf behind a bush awaits his mamma’s call

Oysters cut from scared bull calves sure make a gourmet treat

Powder River, let ‘er buck! The cowboy keeps his seat?

Quarter horses, Appaloose, Mustangs in the West

Riding ranges, rural fun, the country is the best

Sheep are trailed to mountain grass, coyotes stalk a lunch

Trail the woolies home in fall, the bucks now join the bunch

Underwear beneath his Wranglers warm a puncher’s hide

Vegetation chokes the coulees where the cowboys ride

Wild and woolly, full o’ fleas and when the work’s all done

X the dates till Xmas comes, the days are short of sun

Yoke the teams when snow is deep, the livestock must be fed

Zany fun at New Year’s dance, oh how this year has sped!

I made no dent in anybody’s city thinking, but hey, I had fun, especially when I

mentioned that all city parks east of the Mississippi are scheduled to receive a pair of wolves, a couple of mountain lions, two grizzly bears and a herd of buffalo to re-establish a balance of nature.

The Government is importing the wolves from Canada. This will help the economic balance of trade between Canada and the U.S. as well as providing a heap of entertainment as we yokels watch the city folk cope. A “reality show” you might say.


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