Farmguy and the dam women
I had gone to the Daffodil Dairy Sale with intentions of photographing cattle, particularly Monarch. She resides at my father-in-law’s farm and belongs to my husband. I forgot the camera, though, and while I sat stewing on the cold bleachers a story came to mind. It was the once upon a time tale of how I met my husband and learned to deal with the women in his life.
Imagine if you will … a lovely Holstein cow. She’s nicely clipped, shiny black and bright white, all dolled up for the sale ring. She is a young, stylish, well-proportioned three-year-old — but it’s Monarch’s history I want to tell you about.
I met Farmguy many, many years ago. He was milking a cow.
My dad was the animal nutritionist for Farmguy’s father’s dairy herd. (His job was to make sure all the lovely ladies were getting the nutritional requirements they needed to look good, feel good, and produce delicious milk for folks like you and me). One day when I was about 14 or so, I was with my dad on his visit to the farm. I remember making eye contact with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy. I was young and rather awkward. Conversation wasn’t my strong point and to be honest, I wasn’t interested in starting one with him. It wasn’t love at first sight. It wasn’t anything.
It was a couple of years later that we encountered each other at the county fair. The 4-H program has a way of bringing people into focus. And there he was — that same blonde, blue-eyed boy I’d met in the dairy barn. Except he still resided in the dairy barn, and I belonged over in the steer barn. Or the hog barn — take your pick.
Anyhow, from my perspective the guy was a bit of an egotistical phenomenon. I watched as silly, foolish admirers followed him around. They carried his buckets (and he let them). They pretended to be infatuated with cattle. They walked around with stars in their eyes, hanging on his every word. Poor saps!
I wonder if they knew he named his heifers after them?
The years flew by. It wasn’t until the summer after my senior year in college that I ran into Farmguy again. I was snapping photos at the county fair as a Farm & Dairy intern. He was lurking around the arena and for once, no fan club followed in his footsteps. Hmmm. We both entered the 4-H alumni showmanship contest. He won overall but I beat him in goat showing. All of a sudden I had someone following me around. Huh.
Months later we made contact via e-mail. I enjoyed the non-confrontational sparring of written words. He liked challenges. Eventually we got around to dating. Then I agreed to help him with some milking chores. It was then that I first encountered his harem. It was a sight to behold. It’s hard to dislike or even escape ex-girlfriends of the bovine variety. They were mostly calm, fuzzy Holsteins with a kind look in their eyes. They were lovely except for their names: Rhoda, Emily, Erica, Cheryl … the list goes on and on and on.
I determined to stop the parade of bovine broads. I closed the barn doors, so to speak. Naming cows has been tough for him ever since. And since he could no longer use the first names of his girlfriends, he bestowed my maiden name on the next heifer. So where did he get Monarch? If you ask Farmguy, he’ll tell you she comes from a long line of stylish, stubborn females. Her third dam is none other than the cow who changed it all …
Rogalin Laredo Baker … then came her (and our) daughter:
Rogalin Abigail … followed by her (and our second) daughter:
Rogalin Little Rascal Tess …
And because Tess loves butterflies, she named the next heifer Rogalin Lheros Monarch. After two heifers and a bull calf, I’m done providing naming ideas for the herd. And there will be no girlfriends, mistresses or second wives. Maybe we should use the alphabet or name the heifers after hurricanes.
Heifers … hurricanes … women … all basically the same anyway.