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Cows never changed their clocks

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Daylight saving time begins Sunday.

Wonder if my two stocker calves will remember to reset their clocks. Probably not. Our milk cows never did when I was boy. In fact, it was never an issue until I was nigh grown. The first DST year I recall was 1966, when the hour didn’t roll back until the last Sunday in April. Since 2007 it’s been the second Sunday in March.

I’ve read that Missouri first adopted DST in 1970, but it was observed haphazard around the country for some years before that. The first year it made any difference for me was back in ’66, while I was working at a hog farm near Charity (aptly known locally as “Hogeye” since the 18th century).

Those many years ago the once-bustling hamlet of Hogeye had only one business remaining, as I recall — Buck Atteberry’s feed store/equivalent of a today’s Kum and Go. A couple of us on the west end of the farm, where we built A-frame farrowing huts, drove down to Buck’s every day for a soda pop at lunch, though Buck closed for an hour around noon. When DST kicked in, and our corporate work schedule was adjusted accordingly, Buck’s didn’t. Now, I don’t recall if we had to make our soda pop run a mite sooner or later, but it changed.

We still got our soda pop, but that was a scenario repeated in lots of places, as independent souls like Mr. Atteberry saw no need to give in to such foolishness.

We were pretty much of the same mind. Any country boy knows resetting the clock doesn’t create more daylight. It’s just a fool’s errand. If you want to enjoy more daylight, just get up earlier.

If you want to know how that works, just pay attention to the chickens. They get up and go to bed with the sun, just as many of us learned on the farm.

Our cows then and mine now aren’t much different, but it’s not so much the sun that sets their clocks as their rumens.

My calves may not know a thing about saving daylight, but they’re seldom at the gate before or long after sunrise, no matter the time. As for the evening, I can almost set my watch by the time they show up at the feed bunks, no matter how much daylight remains. They’re used to seeing me with a bucket about the same times every morning and night, and if I’m not there they’ll let the whole neighborhood know.

Thus, when the time changes Sunday, breakfast will still be at daybreak, but they’ll be looking for supper nearer 3 than 4 p.m.. And, if I’m out a couple of hours later, they’re likely to forget they’ve already been fed.

Chances are, I’ll forget, too. Dad’s milk cows could never get by with such a trick, but I just have three more months to get these kids fat.

And I’m a pushover for bawling calves.

Copyright 2022, James E. Hamilton; email jhamilton000@centurytel.net. Read more of his works in Ozarks RFD 2010-2015, available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or from the author.

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