Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cattle at the Fair

Isaac B. Werner never kept cattle, although one day in 1886 when the drought was drying up the prairie grass and times were too hard to afford to buy feed, he had two different neighbors in the same day call on him, offering to sell him one or more cows.  One of those neighbors owed Isaac money for carpentry work and offered a cow in settlement of his debt, but Isaac declined.  At various times he tried hogs (unsuccessfully), and he kept chickens eventually, and after going into debt to buy his first horse, he always had horses until his death.  But never cattle!

Cattle are definitely pampered creatures at the Kansas State Fair!  While the poultry had panted in their barn, (See Poultry Barn at the Fair, 10-3-2013.) the cattle seemed quite comfortable beneath the fans stirring the air in their well-lighted, clean barn.  The little cowgirl pictured at right was checking their family's contented cows as we entered the barn. 

There were cattle of all colors and breeds, with the entry catalogue listing Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Herefords, Limousin, Shorthorn, Simmental, and Watusi, and all of them were groomed to look their best.  I watched one rancher using a blower that his wife described to me as being like a giant hair dryer to blow bits of straw off the ebony coat of one of his entries.  She explained that when the cattle lie down they pick up pieces of straw, and even though judging was not taking place, her husband wanted to keep his cattle looking their best.

Ironically, the bull drawing the biggest crowd was not at the cattle barn!  His name was Leonard, and he was attracting all the attention at the Oz Building.  Constructed of every sort of object that a welder's torch could affix to his frame, Leonard was intriguing to examine.  There were nuts, bolts, springs, tools, gears--even an old stove door to access Leonard's interior.  Click on the photographs to enlarge the images and have fun identifying all the clever parts welded to form Leonard!


The Blog Fodder said...

Looking at Leonard, I would say they used too big a magnet to cure his hardware disease. (This will make no sense unless you are a cattle person. Ask your vet)

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

You're right! I can't appreciate your joke until I get some information from my friends who raise cattle...or our friend, the vet!!

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

LK made me laugh with her e-mail comment, so I had to share it. She wrote: "I noticed a sign on the back wall about 'Rib-eye steaks!' Good thing cattle cannot read."

The Blog Fodder said...

Cattle will sometimes accidentally ingest nails, bits of wire or other metal objects which can puncture the wall of the rumen. Solution is to put a strong magnet into their stomach to collect the metal safely. The magnet is sized and shaped so it can be swallowed and will stay indefinitely in the rumen. Leonard looks like the magnet was so strong that all sorts of junk was attracted and clung to his exterior body. Ask John Jackson

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

Blog Fodder--thank you for explaining "hardware disease." I hadn't found anyone to ask, so your explanation was news to me! Very interesting!!