Thursday, March 12, 2009

Girls Gone Wild: Dade City Journal, Spring Break Edition

Just in case you have mistaken this for a department meeting, these are cows. They are the wives of New Gene, a white face bull, who is apparently not as unpleasant as your average bull, having been hand-raised as a 4-H project here in Central Florida.

That said New Gene (I believe that is his name, not Eugene, and vaguely I remember there was a predecessor named -- Gene?) gave my companion a run for her money as she was walking over from the guest house this evening. The cows --some twenty odd, with new calves, one born around the time we got here -- have the run of 300 acres, and they are all New Gene's wives. There is a black one, whose udder is not full yet, who New Gene seems to be following especially closely. He sniffs her hindquarters with as much avidity as an 800-pound quadruped can muster, and she stands there looking grim. If you watch Big Love on HBO you will know what I mean when I say: I believe she is on the schedule for tonight.

This is New Gene. He eats, procreates, bellows loudly and gets the group from place to place. As far as I can tell, he is an excellent administrator, and unlike his wives and children he definitely has tenure here regardless of what happens to the economy. He and his group leave vast piles of cow manure all over the place which you have to watch out for at night, but which are part of the ingredients for the soil that also produce the tasty vegetables and salad we have been consuming since we arrived at this excellent country home. Our hostess also pointed out that the piles, unless picked up and deposited in the garden, are eventually consumed by dung beetles, who drill perfectly round holes in the cow pies, lay eggs, and roll them up in dung. They then roll the ball of dung away, the larvae grow up eating the dung, turn into dung beetles, and then head for the nearest pile of dung.

To avoid another gesture at an education metaphor, I will close with a picture of Lola, the dappled dachshund. You may not be able to tell that she has one blue eye and one brown, but she does. She also barks lustily at cows, and is endlessly friendly to humans -- unless, as I discovered today, you drop a piece of steak on the floor, in which case she snags it and heads off. If you try to recover the steak (and why would you, unless this request was made by someone near and dear to you?) she makes a noise that is intended to suggest that she is willing to take your arm off at the elbow. Or keep the steak. Your choice.

Stay tuned: the Radical returns from vacation and adds her bit to the Judith Bennett Round Table.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Really glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay in Dade City. I'm researching a new site for the town and ran across your blog. It reminded me of dinner at Kafe Kokopelli's (home of Dade City's busiest Friday Happy Hour) a few years ago. The party consisted of about 7 locals plus an attorney from Manhattan who worked for Goldman Sachs. He was surprised, well actually mildly disgusted to learn that Gator tail was on the menu so of course we ordered some. When he notice a stuffed rattlesnake on the mantel above the fireplace, the owner of the restaurant (who happened to be dining with us) jumped up and retrieved it for the attorney so that he might get a closer look. The attorney recoiled at the coiled snake planed on the table directly in front of him and listened in horror to the story of the reptile's demise. "I was driving along and I see this snake. So I stopped the car, found a big stick and beat him to death... then I had him stuffed."

From his reaction we were all quite certain that the attorney from Goldman Sachs had a led a somewhat sheltered life.

Y'all come back soon ;-)