April 25, 2008

Even More Random Seasonal Observations

Out mowing the little clearing beyond the back gate and trimming the various fence lines at Orgle Manor (neither of which tasks is included among those shoved off on my new summer helper) this afternoon. If the intensity of the bug activity is anything to go by, we're in for some par'full storming round here in the next 48 hours.

It is said that cows lie down before a storm. This I believe to be quite true based on my own empirical observation. Back in the day when the Missus was an undergrad at Sweet Briar, the school had its own working dairy and a herd of what must have amounted to several hundred head of cows. [Complete digression: Sweet Briar's colors are pink and green, the same pink and green trumpeted by Lisa Birnbach in The Official Preppy Handbook. While Sweet Briar had several references in TOPH, as did Hampster-Squidney Hampton-Sydney College, my school Washington & Lee, another Old Dominion preppy stalwart, did not. The story I heard was that Birnbach had an extremely messy break-up with somebody in the W&L administration and deliberately snubbed the school as a result.]

Where was I? Oh, yes: The dairy cows at SBC were absolutely infallible about approaching weather. If you saw them hunkered down, it simply was going to rain. No question about it.

'Course, now the girls there get drenched on a regular basis because the school had to get rid of the dairy shortly after the Missus left owing to the prohibitive expense of keeping up with the state's environmental regs. Too bad. Too bad.

Posted by Robert at April 25, 2008 03:10 PM | TrackBack

It's absolutely true. Low pressure fronts of the sort that come with a storm make the cows feel dizzy and this is why they lie down. Just drive on I-80 through Iowa when a front is coming through and you'll see there's nary a cow on its feet.

Yes, I have lived in the Midwest for way too long. Why do you ask?

Posted by: Kathy at April 25, 2008 06:02 PM

They musta been hunkerin' real good for that may-jah rain we had the fall of '85. What a sight - cars up in the trees, the VMI footbridge bridge washed out, all the tin roofs peeled back. I think Hollins College was incapacitated for a month.

I read a fascinating fictionalized telling of the record-breaking 30-some inches of rain that fell in 5 hours in Nelson County in 1969 (the last of Hurricane Camille). Of the more than 100 people who died, eight were never identified or claimed. The book's actually not that great, but the premise is gripping. Imagine eight people, not missed or claimed by anyone? The book gives the eight names and stories, but it would make a great movie, I think, perhaps set in Katrinaville. It's called "One Day in August" by Charlotte Morgan. I wonder if there are non-fiction accounts of the flood....

Posted by: Monica at April 25, 2008 06:09 PM

Even though I went to one of those snooty TOPH schools (Colgate), my upbringing in rural VT ensured that I was a bovine Freud. Cows go to the ground when they sense an oncoming thunderstorm so as not to become live BBQ.

Posted by: Captain Ned at April 25, 2008 08:06 PM

Monica - I read something about that Nelson County deluge, too. It sits in my mental file-o-facts right next to "When the moon comes over the mountain in Nelson County, it comes in quart jars."

Posted by: Robbo the LB at April 26, 2008 05:54 AM

Women could learn a lot from cows...a few years back (?) after a surprise and terrific storm in London, two young-ish women were found dead under trees at opposite ends of Hyde Park. There was no visible cause of death until they got the women unclothed at the morgue....

What the medical examiner saw (on each woman) was burn marks exactly replicating their underwire brazieres...He concluded that they had taken cover under the trees in the park...perhaps the most dangerous place to take cover --never do it on a golf course-- and then because their underclothes contained metal, it was literally a magnet for the electrical current...

We need to go back to using whale bones...

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at April 26, 2008 10:50 AM