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A cowful

Baxter Black, DVM
On the Edge of Common Sense

Grandpa Tommy’s dad used to say “A cowful is a substantial quantity.” According to my research, the rumen on a mature cow can hold up to 300 pounds. And by anybody’s standards that is quite a bit.

Say you had a cowful of pocket change. You’d almost need a cow to keep it in. Say you had a cowful of wet laundry. It would take a forklift to get it in the dryer. Say you had a cowful of manure. Well, I guess a lot of us do.

If cowful became an accepted unit of measure it could replace the antiquated English standards like the dram and the rod. And those bland, simple-minded metric names that somehow sound communistic; kiloliter, hectometer, decigram. Can you picture in your mind a decigram? Is it the weight of a decimated graham cracker? Or 10 grandma’s standin’ on the scale?



Under the cowful system 15 scoopfuls would equal a cowful. Two bootfuls would make a scoopful, two hatfuls would make a bootful. Half a hatful would equal a capful. six canfuls, as in beer cans, makes a capful. One canful equals 40 thimblefuls, 20 teardrops in a thimbleful.

The dosage for penicillin would read: 4 teardrops per 5 scoopfuls of body weight IM.



For Blackleg four-way vaccination: 1 thimbleful SQ. Repeat in 60 days.

Bizarre, you say. If cowful was a measure of weight or volume, possibly the distance between postholes would become the standard unit of measure for length, i.e. 660 post holes per section line — 4 thumbs to a hand, 3 hands to a foot, 4 feet to a coyote length and 2 coyote lengths to a posthole.

Decibels of loudness would be described in more understandable terms. From chicken peck to pig squeal for everyday sounds. Loud noises would be categorized as small wreck, big wreck and heck’uva wreck.

“So, did you hear about Orbin gettin ‘bucked off? Musta sailed 5 coyote lengths, hit the side of the grain bin with a moose bugle and two cowfuls of pellets fell on him. Smashed him flatter’n a rabbit ear.

“They got him to the Doc in half a coon’s age, transfused him with a six pack of type 0 negative and removed a posthole of intestine. He’s doin’ okay but he’s lost about six hat fulls.

“He’s been a sheep’s gestation recovering. Doc says it’s shock, but I figger it just scared a pea waddin’ and a half out of him. Well, I gotta go. I’ve got an appointment in 4 1/2 shakes of a lambs tail.”


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Baxter Black

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