I Love Big Orange…Cows
by Nancy Lee Badger
Orange? Thank the Highlands of Scotland for sharing the biggest, hairiest, cold-weather adaptive side of beef with America…the Highland steer. Known as Bò Ghàidhealach in Scottish Gaelic, these large docile animals are best known with their long horns and shaggy red coats, but are also bred in black, dun, brindled, and yellow. Although this animal, bred for its lean tasty beef, was developed in the Scottish Highlands and the Western Isles of Scotland, the Scots exported breeding stock worldwide.
Their heavy coats protect them from the harsh climate of Scotland’s Highlands. High rainfall, strong winds, and hilly terrain are no problem. Even countries whose winter climates are even colder than Scotland have seen an explosion of herds. Their shaggy hair protects them during the cold winters, keeping the fat content low. They also have this uncanny skill to find food in steep mountain areas, or to graze on vegetation many other cattle refuse to try. Highland cows have a long history of living with humans, and the early Scots kept the family cow inside their homes during the winter.
I won’t go into the meat-producing aspects of the Highland steer. Instead, I will share photos I took at the recent Loch Norman Highland Games in Huntersville, NC. The festival is held at the Rural Hill Historic Site, a year-round historic village complete with a cabin, corn shed, blacksmith forge, and Highland cows. For the first time since I started attending these games, I was able to get close to the mama and her calf. Not too close, as Highland cows are highly devoted as well as protective mothers. Cows may produce into their late teens, which reduces the need for frequent herd replacement. Financially, they are a good bet.
The dad was brazen and begged for handfuls of corn. Did he notice men dressed in kilts and women in long dresses? Did he care that several fur-wearing men walked by with longbows across their shoulders. Did he worry that marching band members stopped to visit with dirks on their hips? Since bulls can weigh in at almost 1800 pounds, I was glad the sturdy fence was between him…and us.
I mention the cows in my latest release, My Lady Highlander, which is the first book in my Kilted Athletes Through Time series. Here is a short except:
“Are we close to the border?” Bull asked.
Izzy whispered, “Aye. The darkness will aid us in crossing the meadow unseen. If we be lucky, my former ale master has put up barrels of honey ale.”
She laughed at his exuberance, slapping a hand over her mouth. Stealth would keep them alive.
When they reached the edge of the meadow, they crouched behind low branches. If the moon, hidden somewhere behind heavy clouds, reappeared before they traveled the distance across the meadow, they would be as visible as the Highland cows, mooing, to their left.
“What’s that sound? A cow?”
“Aye. Highland cattle, so stay to the right and watch yer step.”
“Great. I’ll probably trip, and land face-first in a pile of cow droppings.”
“That was funny?”
“Nay. I was thinking…” She fingered the potions in her pocket. “I carry a potion bottle filled with what we call cow-cakes.”
“Why the heck did you bring that along?”
“That title be misleading. ‘Tis actually an infusion of giant hogweed, a potion that can burn the skin. ‘Twas the only weapon I could grab when we…were interrupted.”
“Don’t know where you’d use that.”
She shrugged. “Mind yer steps. If ye do step wrong, I shall do my best to get ye a bath.”
For more information on the breed, there are several breeding associations across the United States and Canada, and they can be found online. Please enjoy my photos.
About the Author
Fourteen books later, Nancy Lee Badger still loves chocolate-chip shortbread and wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander. Her stories tempt you with the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, she moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers.
Isobel MacHamish escaped a betrothal in ancient Scotland. She rebuilt her life in present-day New England, yet something-or someone-is missing. Arson, thievery, a stalker, and a handsome caber-tossing athlete turn her world upside down.
Bryce Buchanan saves a pretty woman-twice. Sent back to ancient Scotland-again-he is trapped between the skittish woman, and a man pressuring her into marriage. Battles, swords, a Scottish brownie, and a power-hungry laird make ‘Bull’ want to head home to New England.
To escape her former lover, and his murderous, father, Izzy finds her inner warrior. And, when the handsome athlete shows her what falling in love can bring, she is torn, because keeping her hands to herself, is one battle she will never win.
Connect with Nancy Lee Badger
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/13ICHLq
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/13ICHLq
My Lady Highlander Buy Links:
Amazon Print http://amzn.to/QKTP2Q
Barnes & Noble Print http://bit.ly/1qdbe0n
My Honorable Highlander, Nancy’s first book in her Highland Games Through Time series is part of 10 Timeless Heroes: magic & destiny unite lovers across time and space in this epic collection of award-winning, chart topping tales. From sweet to sizzling romances, 10 Timeless Heroes has a little something for everyone. Over fifteen hundred pages!