Fodder?'Beans'? And what are you doing to that cow?
In Catholic school we learned reading, writing, 'rithmetic and religion.
They didn't teach us much about agriculture. Unless I was sick for that day.
One of the rustic Rural Route farm kids talked about something called “fodder.” Kind of a funny- sounding, farm-y name. Fodder.
We lived just a few blocks from the giant “ear of corn” water tower in Rochester. Ate lots of sweet corn - harvested and dropped off in huge piles outside the ol’ Libby, McNeill and Libby canning factory, in the shadow of the giant ear.
But, having been sheltered in the Big City, that was about the limit of my agricultural knowledge until my mid-20s, when I worked at the weekly St. Charles Press.
I learned that, sadly, most of that tall corn was not meant for our table, and farmers discussing “beans” were not in fact referring to baked beans, kidney beans or lima beans. And they spoke in a language I’d never heard outside my grade school “fodder” friend.
“We got maybe 40, 45 head on the back forty, and prolly 60, 70 acres of beans. Plus lots of sows, heifers, hens, roosters and pullets. And some good fodder for the kids.”
An ancient “front page” framed on a wall in the Editor’s office at the St. Charles Press was headlined something like “The Life and Duties of a Country Editor.”
Time you learnt about farming, boy.
OK, what the hey. I mean, what the hay.
The new Country Editor jumped into the fray by following a Country Veterinarian around for a "Day-in-the-Life" feature.
Things were fine until the vet checked to see if a cow (heifer?) was pregnant.
He pulled a long, plastic sleece over his arm and confidently stuck his entire arm into the cow's kiester.
Incredibly, the cow/heifer did not seem to mind.
They definetly did not cover this in Catholic School.
"You should've seen the look on you face," the vet said with a smile. "Priceless."
The intrepid Country Editor also survived an open-vehicle ride amongst Texas Longhorn cows (cattle!) and wrote features about a couple celebrating 70 years of marriage, one of the last old-style trappers in the Whitewater Valley, and a dusty old two- headed calf, housed in a museum downtown.
Soon after the calf story, one of those gigantic, bison-shaped message boards popped up on Whitewater Avenue, outside the museum.
The inspiring message, in bold letters: “Come See the Two-Headed Calf !”
It’s a pretty good gig, newspapering.
Being a Country Editor just adds spicy fodder to the pullet heifer’s soybeans.