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Mickie and BamBam – a “smart cow” and a “glow-in-the-dark” – are just two examples of Katy Kassian’s well-trained bottle calves. (Katy Kassian/Forum News Service)

But you know what I meant!

For Pete's sake—don't you know what that's called? It's a (whatever the heck it is)!

I am sooooo guilty of giving critters and objects my own little names, and/or using elaborate hand gestures to describe them. Hubby's even slipped and used my words a time or two: "I'm taking the chicky-chicky mower." "Come help me move the roundy rounds" (feeders).

In fact, I once relayed an entire story about an elk crossing a river and breaking through the ice with mostly hand gestures, while hubby was falling apart laughing and asking, "How'd that go again?"

It's pretty universal, really. A single finger held up on each side of the head means horns—like on a bull, goat or antelope. Four fingers are for big things—like elk or a deer with a big rack. Running with fingers is just that—some critter is on the move. You get the idea — right?

It's no secret I wasn't raised around livestock. Horses, cows and most domestic livestock were exotic entities we went to go see, not something we lived with. But I was willing to learn. In fact, I read the description of a cow on the placemats at a little country café we frequented in the '70s so many times I memorized it:

"A cow is a completely automated milk-making machine. It is encased in untanned leather and mounted on four vertical, moveable supports, one on each corner. The front end of the machine contains the cutting and grinding mechanism, along with the headlights, air inlet, exhaust, a bumper and a foghorn. At the rear is the milk dispensing equipment, an automatic fly swatter and the waste disposal apparatus. The central portion houses the hydro chemical conversion plant—four fermentation and storage tanks connected by a series of intricate plumbing. It also houses the heating plant complete with automatic controls, pumping station and main ventilation system. In short, a cow is two lookers, two hookers, four standy-uppers and four hangy downers. Cows are available fully assembled and in variety of sizes and colors."

Armed with this information and all sorts of stuff I've learned since, I know exactly what I'm talking about—and I understand you completely when you're talking to me. So I'm not sure why it's such a trying experience when I go "cow shopping" or to the "cow market" (translation: sales barn, sale ring, livestock market) with hubby. I know he's an Angus or a Sim/Angus man, but I like the "glow-in-the-darks" or "white angus" (Charolais), the speckled ones (Holsteins), "boots" (Limousin), Hair-ehh-feeerds (Herefords) and the ones that look like "matched stationary" (Belted Galloways) because you can get matching hogs and dogs.

Hubby has been known to veto my choices. But, in my defense, the little bottle calves are like big dogs—and therefore mobile yard art—since they usually don't go to pasture with the real cows. They stay home with me instead. And since we don't keep them, I argue that I should have the ones I want to look at.

Like smart cows. Any of you have smart cows (Baldys)? Have you ever noticed how those with the bald faces seem to be the instigators? Well, they're also the first ones you can train to do tricks. My girls didn't take long to train them to get in line for Cheez-Its every day or to come running when called and stop when gestured to.

I will be training my next one to shake. That oughta go over well at the cow market.