She’s Not Afraid

There’s a bull in this picture.  Can you see it?

One bull for about 25 cows.  The bull here is just left of center, the biggest beast in the picture.  His job happens in the summer months.  He can tell a cow is fertile by smelling her pee, literally putting his nose to her.  In November the vet comes to do pregnancy checks.  If a cow isn’t pregnant she’s sent off to McDonald’s.  Ranchers do not eat veal and a child on a ranch learns everything she needs to know about the birds and the bees by the time she’s five or six.

Livia Svenvold McPhee on the Svenvold cattle ranch in Bloomfield outside of Glendive, Montana.  Summer 2011.