One nice summer afternoon, we decided to take an easy stroll through a nearby forest preserve. Besides the pesky flies dive-bombing our heads, hence the head slapping above, it was a fine time. Armando got to ride on his papa’s shoulders, the girls got to pick wild berries along the path, Marcel got to take a break from projects and more projects, and I got to enjoy a nice walk in a natural setting, which was a common practice of mine before I went out and multiplied.

Well, the hike didn’t last long because someone was thirsty, and another one was tired, and Marcel’s shoulders were starting to slump under Armando’s weight, so we took the quickest way back, which ended up being along the road. It wasn’t long before a neighbor farmer drove up, rolled down the window, and started chatting.

I love this about farmers. Farmers are always leaning out their window, talking to someone, usually smack dab in the middle of the road, without a second thought to any possible danger involved. This time was no exception. We were on ‘big hill’, the extremely inventive name that locals use to identify a particularly steep and curving hill on our road, and our neighbor had parked on the wrong side of the road to faciliate our little chat. It was very nice of him to accommodate us like that, and I don’t understand why we kept getting dirty looks from the others passing by.

Soon enough the conversation turned to our four new Murray Grey’s, and how we were going to breed them. Up until now, I had always wondered why some of the local farmers seemed to be uncomfortable dealing with me in my new farmer role. I mean, what’s the big deal? Women do all sorts of jobs that used to fall squarely in the “man’s work” category. But once the conversation turned to breeding, I saw the issue in a new light.

We need to artificially inseminate our Murray Grey cows, because we don’t have enough to justify the cost of a bull. And our neighbor is being extremely generous in offering to take time out of his hectic schedule to help us. So all of a sudden I’m having a full blown conversation with my neighbor, who happens to be male, with whom I went to high school, and with whom I’ve never spent much time, about semen. Semen!

The conversation quickly deteriorates from how to order the semen, to how to know if the cow is ready. He started to explain that the vulva will be so, and you can palpate her this way, and stick your fingers in here, and deposit the semen in this manner, etc. etc. By the time he started to tell us that the heifers will be especially tight, I could feel a blush slowly creeping up my face. The horror.

So, I will kindly take back my ranting comments about how silly it is for farmers to be uncomfortable dealing with a woman. I get it, I really do.