Of Rock Picking and Cow Tipping

Now anyone who has seen the dark comedy Heathers (1989) has heard of cow tipping. This is the “sport” of sneaking up on a sleeping cow and pushing it onto its side (cows can sleep standing up). It has a made up sound to it and Heathers never shows it actually being done.

Sounding equally made up is the activity of rock picking. Farmers go about picking up the rocks they find in their fields and put them somewhere that their farm implements will not be damaged by them. But after doing this once, shouldn’t a farmer have to never do this again in the same field?

One of these two activities happens regularly on farms. The other almost never happens. This is a test, city people. Which of these two things is more a part of rural life?

Don’t look down, decide right now.

Let’s look at cow tipping. First of all, cows are skittish of all movement near them. Maybe most or all of them will be asleep, but they hang out in herds. All it takes is for one to be a light sleeper and it will awaken the rest just by moving loudly away from the movement.

Secondly, if you can sneak up on one, cows weigh about 1300 pounds or 580 kilograms. It’s probably going to take a couple of strong men to tip one over. And you still can’t wake it.

Thirdly, dairy cows cost thousands of dollars. Do you think a farmer is going to stand idly by while you tip over his prize cow and possibly injure it?

Fourthly, cows are rounded up by night fall and sleep in the barn. How many cows have you seen outside at night?

I lived 16 years in a rural area and not once did I hear about a cow being tipped. I did however hear about rock picking. In fact I helped rock pick a couple times.

I tried looking it up briefly online but couldn’t find anything about rock picking.

I had heard it said once that rock picking was needed because of long ago ice sheets.

I forget exactly how it works, now, but I know that ice sheets, as they move, sheer off rock from some parts and bring them to non rocky soils. So that’s why rocks exist in the soil in the first place. But I am not sure about the mechanism that brings new rocks to the top of the soil every few years. Plowing only disturbs the very top of the soil.

So, quite probably, rock picking is not necessary in tropical or near tropical areas. But I live in the Great Lakes area and those five lake beds were supposed to also be carved by ice sheets that were as much as a mile high.

So, to me, cow tipping is an interesting fiction but rock picking is a sometimes necessary task.

About Larry Russwurm

Just another ranter on the Internet
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3 Responses to Of Rock Picking and Cow Tipping

  1. Bob Jonkman says:

    Rocks work their way upwards from melting and freezing ice underneath. It’s called “Frost Heave”; Scientific American had an article on the physics of Frost Heave many years ago, perhaps Melting Below Zero (PDF).

    There’s a pretty good explanation at FAQ – Melting Below Zero: Frost, possibly taken from the SciAm article, and a scholarly treatise Point Defects, Lattice Structure and Melting by Slava Sorkin.

    …and if not Frost Heave, maybe Cow Heave…

    –Bob.

  2. Larry says:

    Thanks, Bob. Ever think of getting a job as an Internet researcher?

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