By the end of the four-day Tillamook County Fair, I’d made some friends from our dairy-farm community who seeming pleased, if not amused, by my fascination with cows and were happy to introduce me to their Holsteins.
The Rumen holds 150 to 200 liters of partly digested food and is full of good bacteria that softens the food and ferments the carbs to produce energy.
The Reticulum forms the softened food into small lumps of cud which is returned to the cow’s mouth and chewed 40 to 60 times before being swallowed again.
The Omasum processes the cud by breaking it up and also regulates fluid absorption in the intestine.
The Abomasum works somewhat like the human stomach to digest the useful nutrients which are gradually absorbed into the blood.
“I think I could turn and live with the animals,” Walt Whitman had written and I began to recite, my eyes closed as I spun around in the wide open space, “they are so placid and self-contained…” Opening my eyes to look, I saw Helen laughing as over her shoulder…cows, a whole pack of them…were running, no, stampeding toward us. And fast. Oh holy shit…not just those cows…but all of the cows were coming at us from every direction. 150 of them bounding like 1500-pound gazelles across the pasture and closing in….