Tag Archives: cattle

Read about human history, meet a lot of cows

My kids have a strong liking for a French book that is the equivalent of the “I Spy” series but the funny drawings in the depicted scenes manage to keep their interest high throughout the book as they find every single item on every page spread.

Cherche et trouve dans l'histoire - book about human history

Cherche et trouve dans l'histoire - book about human history

This book takes you through several periods of history and as my son was asking for help locating some items in it today, I realized for the first time there are several cows or other bovines on every page. The only spreads that don’t contain cows are the Roman period, and pirates – somebody needs to talk to the publisher about this.

I’ll share with you a lesson in history. Let’s start with the prehistoric age, where European cavemen chased bisons and aurochs.

European aurochs

European aurochs

I love the way this book pictures the “hunter” behavior of cavemen. My kids have actually asked a lot of questions about their activities, so I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to discuss.

European bisons

European bisons

The bisons are smart to run away. I wouldn’t want to be that poor mammoth…

Next we move on to the Middle Ages, where bovines started to be domesticated for agricultural purposes (love the pig in the barn!):

Farmer pushing a plow with cows

Farmer pushing a plow with cows

And for food & beverage purposes:

Domesticated cows during the Middle Ages

Domesticated cows during the Middle Ages

I can only imagine what the cows are thinking… Hey, be careful with that catapult, we’re right behind you!

The last scene depicting cows is in the American Far West:

Bisons running  in the Far West of the USA

Bisons running in the Far West of the USA

I think the Indians would try to have a piece of those bisons but they’re too busy running away from the calvary…

American cattle in the Far West

American cattle in the Far West

And you can’t have a complete picture of the American Far West without the cowboys and their cattle!

Now, did you count the total number of bovines in these pictures? I didn’t but there sure are a lot of them on each page!

I’m taking you to a cattle ranch in Colorado today

I had quite a few cow sightings today, including on dairy products, in books and in one video, but I’d like to share a special encounter with you instead.

A cattle rancher visited my blog today and took the opportunity to say hi. She shared the story of her angus cattle ranch located at over 6000 feet in the mountains of Colorado, where cows and bulls get to graze on green pastures. I can’t read the minds of cows but I would say this one looks pretty happy. Of course, it has no clue what its ultimate purpose really is, but let’s not spoil things for the poor cow.

Photo courtesy of 101 Livestock Company

Photo courtesy of 101 Livestock Company

There are plenty more cows to see on the 101 Livestock Company cattle ranch’s website if you’d like to learn more. I want to thank Francine for stopping by and showing me that spending every day around cows can be so enjoyable, watching new calves being born and mothers taking care of each other’s babies. I’m glad to hear that cows make such great moms, and I hope there are many more cattle ranchers out there like you.

I saw today’s cow at the San Diego Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

We paid a visit to our local science museum this morning, San Diego’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. We haven’t been there for a long time – I’m guessing about two years – so we had a lot to look at and play with. The Kid City area was remodeled last year and our kids are a great time trying out every single activity.

We eventually managed to pull them out of there and visit the rest of the museum. There was quite a lot about natural disasters and weather / geological events and we learned a lot. That’s when I noticed this large panel about spring boxes:

Cows on panel at San Diego Reuben H Fleet Science Museum

Cows on panel at San Diego Reuben H Fleet Science Museum

I actually learned about spring boxes, something I never heard about before today. Cattle ranchers use them to prevent water springs from overflowing and wetting the land. This water can create quick sand, which could lead the cows to a fast, tragic end. So there you have it, cows on an educating panel at the science museum. Cows really are everywhere.

I found cows in a book, and it’s not a children’s book

A few days ago I mentioned that I started reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, a fascinating book on “the dark side of the all-American meal”.

Fast Food Nation book by Eric Schlosser

Fast Food Nation book by Eric Schlosser

I’m half way through the book and I’ve learned more about the fast food business than I ever imagined. This includes the history of Carl Jr’s, McDonald’s, Subway, and other successful fast food restaurants. I had no idea Ray Kroc was such a driven, but arrogant businessman, who liked to call his critics “sons of bitches”… I also learned the dirt behind fast food employment and the companies’ blatant lack of respect for labor laws and employee rights. I’ve also found out the reasons why French fries taste so good and their increasing production drives many potato farmers out of business every year.

Each chapter of the book starts with a black and white photo illustrating the theme of the chapter. This afternoon I got to read the section called “On the Range”, and this is the photo used for it:

Cow cattle photo in Fast Food Nation book

Cow cattle photo in Fast Food Nation book

Just like potato farmers, many ranchers go bankrupt every year, not being able to keep up with the fixed low price of hamburger meat.

One more interesting fact I learned so far is that there is little difference between natural and artificial flavoring. Both are made of the same chemicals (molecules), only differing by the process used to obtain them. One scientist calls natural flavoring the “outdated technology”, explaining its higher price. Both flavorings are even manufactured inside the same plants – how ironic is that? The chapter on flavoring made me relax about artificial flavors, especially when I realize how wrong everything else is with fast food…

If you watch a cowboy video, expect to see … a lot of cows!

I like to borrow educational videos from our local library for my kids to learn about people and things they may not get a chance to see in real life. So far, we’ve explored the underwater world, outer space, airplanes, construction equipment, garbage trucks… you get the picture. This week, it’s All About Cowboys!

All About Cowboys video DVD Part 2

All About Cowboys video DVD Part 2

Alright, so I can only blame myself for this one, but my kids really wanted to know more about cowboys. Of course, they’re not called COWboys for nothing so if you get to watch this 30-minute DVD, you’ll see hundreds of cattle heads in one sitting.

All About Cowboys video - cowboy and cows

All About Cowboys video - cowboy and cows

You get to learn a lot about cowboy life in this DVD, including ranching, lassoing, rodeo, horse handling and caring, etc. But yeah, let’s be honest, it’s mostly about cows… Way more about cows than I imagined.

All About Cowboys video - cow close-up

All About Cowboys video - cow close-up

As my kids were watching and saw the cattle climb onto a large trailer, I asked my oldest where he thought the cows were going. His guess was that they were going up in the mountains. I hinted that they were probably going to end up as burgers. I swear he looked at me as if I made the whole thing up. What can I say? We’re a beef-free house, so he’s got an excuse for thinking I’m a complete nutcase.

Now I saved you the best for last. I serve you… the piece de resistance:

All About Cowboys video - Cow with long horns

All About Cowboys video - Cow with long horns

This specific shot got a lot of aaahhhs and ooohhhs when it came up on the screen. Those long horns are quite impressive, I have to admit. Overall this is a really cool video to learn a lot about cowboys, but I’m all cowed out for the day!