Tag Archives: cows

Ruminants, Ice Cream, And Welding Feet

I often send cryptic reminders to myself when I think of a blog topic but don’t have time to write the whole post.  Usually a few words are enough to jog my memory, but when I discovered this email on my laptop a few days ago, I was confounded:

“Ruminants.  And ice cream.  Welding feet.”

All-righty, then.

I do actually remember sending the email; but beyond that I don’t have a clue.  It must have been something so weird that my brain discarded it in self-defence.

I guess I’ll never know, but at least “welding feet” still makes sense (to me, at least).  ’Cause you never know how foolish you’re willing to look until you’ve shuffled around wearing welding gloves on your feet.

(Note:  I’d like to emphasize that it wasn’t my fault – I didn’t know I was going to be welding.)

Hubby’s uncle Bert had offered to fabricate a trellis for us, so I drew up the plans and we went over to his workshop.  I planned to hang over Bert’s shoulder and watch the master at work, so I had worn jeans and a denim jacket and brought a welding helmet and gloves.  But when he offered the stinger to me, the learning opportunity was too good to pass up.

Everything was going fine… (that is to say, I sucked just as badly as when I first tried welding as a teenager) …until I felt a sizzle on my toes.  And then another.  And another, until I was doing a funky little soft-shoe shuffle in an attempt to avoid the pain.

Yep, I had worn nylon running shoes instead of my usual boots (see “not my fault” above) and specks of red-hot slag were burning through my shoes and socks and toasting my toes.  But I wasn’t about to abandon my educational opportunity, so that’s how I ended up shambling around with welding gloves on my feet like some deranged leather-toed waterfowl.

My welding didn’t improve much, but at least the trellis is solid and I had fun revisiting another long-abandoned skill!

And best of all, there’s no photographic evidence of my latest goofball performance.  Instead, here’s the almost-finished product:

We still have to clean it up, attach the decorative panels (they’re only laid in place in the photo), and paint it. Then it’ll support our peach tree in an espalier-type setup against the garage wall.

Any oddball activities in your life this week?

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Mad Cow!

No, I’m not referring to myself in the title of this post, even though I have been known to act like a total cow on occasion and I’m more or less permanently barking mad, especially after the past couple of highly-stressful weeks.

Here’s the reason for the madness:  We’re trying to buy a new home and move to Vancouver Island.  We’re in negotiations now, which is both exciting and scary!

All in all, I’ve had little time for laughter this week (although I accidentally typed ‘buy a new homo’ in the previous paragraph, so that was good for a snicker).

But since my laugh-levels were critically low I turned to my joke file for the favourites that are guaranteed to make me laugh, and here’s what generated the title for today’s post:

Remember when Mad Cow Disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) hit the Canadian news around 2003?  I’ve had this video for over 13 years and I still can’t get past the 20-second mark without laughing uncontrollably:

And here’s another giggle:  When I searched for the BSE link above, I had typed as far as ‘bovine s’ when the suggestion pane appeared:

bovine sex club

Say WHAAAAT?!?  I didn’t even know bovine sex clubs were a ‘thing’, let alone a big enough ‘thing’ to come up second on Google’s suggested searches.  I was tempted to follow the link out of sheer prurient curiosity, but I decided against it.  There are some things that just can’t be un-seen, and I suspect that link leads to many of them.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), I seem to have quite a bit of bovine-sex-related humour in my joke file.  Some of these jokes are so old they’re probably new again, but you know what they say:  “It’s dejà moo – the feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.”

The first one’s just a short pun:

Two cows are standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, “I was artificially inseminated this morning.”

“I don’t believe you,” says Dolly.

And Daisy exclaims, “It’s true, no bull!”

And here’s a longer joke:

Amy, a city girl, marries a Texas rancher. One morning on his way out, the rancher says to Amy, “The artificial insemination man is coming over to impregnate one of our cows today. I drove in a nail above the cow’s stall so you can show him which cow it is.”

The rancher leaves for the fields. When the artificial insemination man arrives, Amy takes him down to the barn. They walk along a long row of cows and when she sees the nail, she tells him, “This is the one.”

Impressed that such an obviously citified girl would know about cattle, the man asks, “How did you know this is the cow to be bred?”

“That’s simple — by the nail over its stall,” Amy explains.

Then the man asks, “What’s the nail for?”

And she says, “I guess it’s to hang your pants on.”

And, in a similar vein, here’s why cows hate winter.

But enough about screwing cows.  Instead, here’s a little video about wooing cows… with jazz.  It always makes me smile!

What’s mooooved you to laughter this week?

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New discussion at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  Support Or Co-Dependency?  Are Aydan and Hellhound helping or hurting each other?  Click here to have your say!

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Cow Farts And Doobies

Hubby and I were discussing cow farts the other day.

We didn’t suddenly turn to each other at the dinner table and exclaim, “Cow farts!”  No; our conversation actually began as a semi-serious discussion of global warming.  It’s just that whenever I’m present, the conversation tends to go rapidly sideways.  I blame this on my brain’s annoying tendency to latch onto useless but amusing bits of trivia.

In this case, the factoid in question was:  Cow farts are a major contributor to global warming gas emissions.  Because of the fermentation that takes place as organic matter moves through their four stomachs, large quantities of methane gas are produced.  The gas is, erm… expelled.  Human beings raise lots of cattle.  Lots of cattle equals lots of cow farts. (Update: Sadly, the Blog Fodder has pointed out below that this is only a factoid, not a true and useful fact.  But I still like the idea of farting bovine enviro-pirates.  It’s good to be a fiction writer.)

Anyway, that got me thinking about cows in general.  You know how some things are intrinsically funny?  For example, bananas are funnier than oranges.  Turnips are funnier than, say, lettuce or radishes.  And cows are funnier than horses or just about any other farmyard animal.

I think that’s partly because of another little piece of trivia that may or may not be true, but it sounds logical and I want to believe it:  Cows spend pretty much their entire lives intoxicated because alcohol is another by-product of the digestive fermentation process.  Maybe that explains why they’re so placid.  Whenever I see a cow I giggle at the thought that behind those big brown glassy eyes is an animal that might be completely snockered. (Update:  Nope, this one’s not true, either.  Bummer.)

And cattle are funny-looking.  They could have been designed by a six-year-old kid:  a big rectangular block supported by four knobby legs with a head stuck on the front.  Oh, and a tail on the back.

The tail always makes me laugh, too.  The skinny rope with a tassel on the end is funny in itself, but what truly amuses me is that cows and lions have exactly the same tail.  I don’t know whether to congratulate the cow on its badass likeness to the king of the beasts or offer my condolences to the lion for getting tagged with the same hair-handle as the ungulates.

And if you’ve ever seen a cow jump a fence (they are actually capable of jumping, though not very high), that in itself is giggle-worthy.  Unless the cattle in question are escaping your pasture, in which case it’s not very funny at all.

Anyway…

Fasten your seatbelts, ‘cause here comes a topic-swerve that’s only loosely linked to cow farts:  doobies.  (That’s a funny word in itself.)  Yes, I’m talking about bombers, joints, reefers; wacky tobaccy in general.

How is this related to cow farts?  Well, cow farts are funny.  And doobies are funny cigarettes.

Why am I making this extremely tenuous connection?

Because it’s a cheap and sleazy segue into announcing that Book 9, SPY HIGH has cover art and a release date!  Woohoo!  My beta readers blasted through it during the Christmas holidays – thanks, guys, you ROCK!  Now I only have to do some final polishing and it’ll be ready to roll out the door.  The tentative release date is January 16, 2015 (to be confirmed next week).

And yes, that is a funny cigarette on the cover…

Spy High book 9 cover

After four uneventful months spent guarding her boss’s eccentric hippy parents on an isolated raincoast commune, bookkeeper-turned-secret-agent Aydan Kelly is beginning to hope mildewed undies will be the only hazard she’ll face.

But some of the blissed-out flower children are not what they seem.  Aydan discovers a plot to kill her lovable charges, and in her fight to protect them she unearths the commune’s deepest secret.  Suddenly she’s facing dozens of enemies who threaten the lives of all the innocent commune members as well as her own.

She’ll only survive with a little help from her friends…

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Highway Child(ishness)

(Apologies to Bob Seger, Jimi Hendrix, and the Stones)

Before you read any further, I’d like to note that my travelling companions are (usually) mature and admirable people.  Please don’t judge them harshly.  You’d be a basket case, too, if you had to spend fourteen hours in a car with me.

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A couple of times a year, I drive from Calgary, Alberta to just outside Winnipeg, Manitoba.  The trip is about 800 miles one way (1,200 kilometres).  When I’m driving by myself, I do it in about twelve hours.  If I have company in the car, it takes closer to fourteen.

The mind does frightening things when it’s cooped up in a car for that long.  When I’m on my own, I beat my brain into submission with loud music.

When there are other people in the car, things get… strange.

I frequently drive with my sister and a friend whom I’ll identify only as Swamp Butt, in order to protect the guilty.  Since she can’t retaliate without revealing her true identity, I’ll also disclose her nickname for me:  “TB”, short for “Tiny Bladder”.

Three grown women in a car for fourteen hours.  What a wonderful opportunity for deep discussion, bonding, and meaningful dialogue.

Snort!

There’s something about the trip that makes us revert to the mental age of ten.  Some examples:

When you drive directly into the sunrise, the angle of the light reveals the fact that we all spit when we talk.  And not just on plosive consonants.  It’s a constant, fine spray of spittle.  There’s no way to prevent it.  Sorry, but it’s true.

Being the refined and sophisticated person that I am, I pointed this out within seconds of discovering it.  My sister heaved a huge sigh of relief.  “I thought it was just me,” she admitted.  “I’ve been trying to stop doing it for miles.”  She then proceeded to demonstrate various facial contortions designed to reduce the spray.  Much merriment (and aerosolized spit) ensued.

Later in the day, we passed the umpteenth pasture with cattle dotted across its expanse.  I glanced over and said, “Black cows…”  Fateful pause.  “…Look BETTER in the SHADE.”  At which point all three of us did the head bob as we chanted the instrumental part:  “NAH-nah-nah-nah-NAH-nah-nah-NAH!”  Swamp Butt followed up with the solo from the back seat, “Dee-DEE-dee!”

I’ve never really liked Gino Vanelli’s music, or the song “Black Cars”.  To me, the 80’s were a musical wasteland, mercifully relieved by a few outstanding artists like Bob Seger.  But the point is, the “Black Cows” segment was repeated over and over, apparently getting funnier each time.  It’s now a tradition.  Such is the hideous danger of long-distance driving.

Eventually, the brain becomes so sodden with fatigue that it’s not actually necessary to have a stimulus for mirth.  We’ve dissolved in helpless giggles while standing in line at Subway.  Not talking.  Not even looking at each other.  The mere words, “I’ve been in the car too long…” are enough to make us weep with laughter.

Oh, and Swamp Butt?  She snorts when she laughs.  Not every time.  The snort is reserved for special occasions.  But when it finally erupts in all its raucous glory, pandemonium ensues.  Hysterical, helpless hilarity.  We haven’t actually had to pull over yet, but it’s been close a few times.

And then there’s the reason for Swamp Butt’s nickname.  Farts become excruciatingly (and I mean the word in all its connotations) funny after too many hours in the car.  They’re also pretty much unavoidable.  Medical science tells us that humans pass gas 15 – 25 times a day*.

Well, guess what?  Fourteen hours is over half a day.  Times three people.  Equals somewhere between 26 and 44 farts in the car (‘cause I’m a geek and it’s math.)

Here’s another thing you need to know.  Canola smells like cabbage farts.  (Honest.  Those pretty yellow fields?  When it’s cut, it reeks.)  And there are a lot of canola fields between here and Manitoba.  So the next time you let one slip while driving, just nod wisely at your passengers and murmur, “Canola”.  You can thank me now.  Note:  This may be less convincing in the wintertime.

Anyway, on our last trip, Swamp Butt seemed to spot a lot more canola fields than there actually were.  And just as we drove into the parking lot in Brandon to drop her off, she cracked off another one.

Loud.

Seconds before she got out of the car.

We all tumbled out, laughing, shrieking and choking.  I’d like to say that we drew some attention, but we didn’t.  Guess folks in Brandon are used to that sort of thing.

We have not yet devolved to burping contests (well, usually not), armpit noises, or mooning other drivers.  We’re much too mature for that.  I hope.  Please, God, let me be right about that.

What’s your pinnacle of silliness while long-distance driving?

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*Who gets paid to do these studies?  There’s one for the ol’ resume:  “Undertook in-depth research of human gaseous emissions.”

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