Cows: Ruminations

Today was beautiful– a deep blue sky, and towering white clouds which had not yet had a chance to form thunderheads, luckily for me because I decided to go out on a bike tour while the weather was good. I headed for the area just north of Howell Branch Road and south of Red Bug Road, in the vicinity of Dike and Dodd Roads. There are farms up in there, just a few minutes away from our house, and I never cease to be amazed when I see cows grazing, lapping water from the tiny ponds, and basically just standing under trees and doing nothing. (Something I aspire to.)

Today I wanted to get up close and personal to these cows, so as I was biking north on Dodd Road I stopped and took some pictures. They were doing their cow-like things in leafy glades, close to high grass– and the road. Amazing! Flimsy-looking barbed wire fences were all that separated these cows from the traffic.

I continued on up to Dike Road and eventually came to the San Pedro Retreat Center. The Diocese leases its pasture to an agribusiness that brings its cows there to graze– it certainly cuts down on mowing! Here, the cows were REALLY close– I actually felt like I might be intruding on their “space” even though we were staring at one another across a barbed wire fence. All sorts of thoughts entered my mind, by now made light by the hot sun:

  • We all know cows can jump over the moon, but can they jump over a fence?
  • We’ve seen the running of the bulls in Pamplona (at least on television), so it’s quite possible that one of these cows could decide to break through the fence and chase me down.
  • Do cows bite? I wondered… I’ve never heard of such a thing; I know they occasionally kick over milk pails, bringing no end of distress to those eight Maids, and they chew a lot. I could probably stand a little chewing, but not biting.
  • For as long as I stood there, I heard not a single “moo.” Cows also apparently “low,” but I heard no lowing either. And what, exactly, is a “low?” A basso profundo moo?
  • Cows give us lots of products: meatballs; shoes; upholstery; and milk. Do you drink a lot of milk? If I do, I experience intestinal woe.


And here’s a bovine bonus for my neighbors: up on Howell Branch Road is the Winter Park Dairy, which keeps its own herd of cows and produces its own brand of blue cheese. The latest batch is due out this month, and I anxiously await the eMail letting me know when I can come claim my share.

So there you have it: when I need to escape the four walls of my existence, I can always get on my bike and visit with the cows. I highly recommend it.

PhotoBike Tour 1: Slavia

It was still sunny (hot) and dry at noon today, and so I decided to take the bike trail east to Slavia. There’s a little Lutheran church I wanted to photograph and, as usual with me, I got talking to people when I thought was simply looking for some solitude.

  The bike trail heading east.

The bike trail heading east; it ends apruptly at Aloma Avenue, so you’ve got to cross the road and pick up the sidewalk, or continue in the bike lane. After a few miles you’ll end up in downtown Oviedo, where you can pick up the Cross Seminole Trail.

St. Luke the Evangelizer Lutheran Church, Slavia.

St. Luke the Evangelizer Lutheran Church, Slavia.

After wandering inside, I was greeted by a gentleman who suggested I check in with the office– no doubt he thought I was some sweaty intruder, but I introduced myself and shook hands and was soon given carte blanche to explore. An older gentleman appeared in the new sanctuary and gave me a verbal tour of the stained glass windows in there, referring to notes that he pulled from his wallet. As I was leaving, a Ms. Cooper gave me a brochure detailing the history of St. Luke’s.
Below is some etched stained glass in the chapel– that’s the Moravian Jan Hus at the stake, and Martin Luther with his 95 theses.

Jan Hus and Martin Luther

There’s also another little church south of here in Jamestown, an African-American community established in about 1900 by Benjamin and Esther James. There’s a plaque mounted in front explaining the village’s history. You can bike through Jamestown further east until linking up with Walker Road, which then ambles and dead ends amidst some modest little houses which are across the road from some not-so-modest houses– all of which seem to have giant pool enclosures.
The church in Jamestown.

The church in Jamestown.

This was a good day of bike riding: I love getting away from everything and just disappearing for a few hours, even if today I ran into a group of very nice Lutherans who wanted to share their history with me. And that was fine.

The Women (2008)

The stock market plunged 500 points today … hurricanes are lining themselves up in the Atlantic… and– like a vulture–  Sarah Palin has been horribly unleashed on our hurting, bleeding country. I don’t know about you, but I definitely need an escape…

“Well…it’s come! They’re havin’ a showdown!”  So says Jane the Maid (Muriel Hutchison)  in MGM’s 1939 blockbuster, The Women, after overhearing Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) telling her husband Stephen (that louse) that she wants a divorce because his cheating has become public knowledge within New York’s smart set: “She can’t even walk down the street without bein’ pointed at on account of her pictcha bein’ in all the papers!”  Jane says to Maggie the Cook.  It’s a fun movie, a stellar showcase of MGM female stars, based on a biting and vicious little play written by Clare Boothe Luce in 1936. It was remade as a “musical” in the 1950s called The Opposite Sex, starring June Allyson, and this week it debuted in Diane English’s incarnation starring Meg Ryan as the suffering Mary Haines. We went to see it last night; here’s a link to my Guest review on a friend’s website. ( Judy Lobo is a WordPress neighbor– an artist, political activist, animal lover, and film lover. )

Judy Lobo

From left to right:

Joan Crawford as Crystal Allen; Norma Shearer as Mary Haines;

and Rosalind Russell as Sylvia Fowler