Bessie Gets Pregnant Again

Bessie Gets Pregnant Again



By Elton Camp

          When I was a child in the 1940s, we kept Bessie the cow for a supply of fresh milk and home churned butter. Most of our eight acres were fenced so that she had reasonable grazing.  It was necessary to supplement her diet with cow feed and this was usually done at milking time.  The cow would stand still in the barn and munch the feed while my mother milked her by hand.  Enough milk had to be left for her calf which was kept confined most of the time to prevent it from “stealing” the milk.  Calf chow supplemented his diet since we took most of what was rightly his. 

          When it was mature enough, the calf provided a welcome bonus when we sold him for slaughter.  After the calf was gone, Bessie quite naturally ceased producing milk.  To renew the supply, she must bear another calf.  That wasn’t a realistic possibility since we had no bull.  A bull was a liability except for the rare occasions when he was needed.  Until a cow came into “heat,” he isolated himself and ate without contributing anything of value to his owners.  In addition, bulls tended to break out of the pasture and were always a problem to recapture.  Only a farmer with a large herd could justify keeping one full-time when it worked only rarely. 

          My father related how the reproduction problem had been handled when he was young.  People took their cows to a neighbor who owned a bull.  He described the last time he heard of that being done in the nearby rural area of Marshall County, Alabama where he grew up. 

          Lige, about the middle of the morning, warily approached a neighbor’s house, leading his cow with a rope. 

          To his dismay, the neighbor’s wife answered his call.  “Can I speak wif Marvin, please?” he asked. 

          “Marvin ain’t home rite now,” she replied.  “Can I holp y’u?”  She knew full well why he’d come, but decided to have some fun at the expense of a man whom she knew to be quite bashful. 

          “Care if I wait ‘round till he gits back?” 

          “Hit’ll b’ a long wait.  He’s at th’ courthouse ’n Guntersville an’ won’t be ’n ‘till near dark.  Shore thar ain’t nothin’ I can do, Lige?”

          The man spit and sputtered, but couldn’t bring himself to announce to a woman the need for the bull’s services.  He hated to waste the long walk and still have to come again.  Lige stomped around in the yard a while before he left in frustration.  She barely managed to control laughter until he was beyond hearing distance. 


          But many years had passed and a new technology was available to us.  From a perch high in the barn loft I saw artificial insemination performed.  The vet came with a packet of materials.  After he pulled on a shoulder-length rubber glove, he inserted bull sperm.  The procedure was a success in so far as we were concerned.  A calf appeared at the appointed time.  What, if anything, the cow thought about being impregnated in such a manner, I don’t know.  Our milk supply was eventually renewed and after a time we had another calf to sell.  That was all that mattered to us. 

Dorian_Gray   Dorian_Gray wrote
on 9/27/2011 2:58:53 PM
very interesting... I did not know that about farms and cattle.

Dorian_Gray   Dorian_Gray wrote
on 9/27/2011 2:54:03 PM

Dorian_Gray   Dorian_Gray wrote
on 9/27/2011 2:52:13 PM
A country for the people, by the people...

Dorian_Gray   Dorian_Gray wrote
on 9/27/2011 2:49:59 PM
nice! I wish that companies would let us choose a-la-cart, but I guess there is always hulu.

Dorian_Gray   Dorian_Gray wrote
on 9/27/2011 2:47:49 PM
I really like your writing style.

Short Story
writing Elton4562

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And it wasn't even any fun for her.