Shades of St. Francis!

Who knew that animals liked CNS photographer Bob Roller so much? Well, cows anyway.

(CNS photo)

Bob Roller asked for hazard pay when he encountered these Iowa hogs last month. (CNS photo)

When we were at the Blake Family Organic Farm in Waukon, Iowa, as part of our rural road trip for CNS’ “On the Farm: Life in Rural America” series, we got to see a couple of newborn calves. One of the calves struggled to her feet — as any calf alive for only six hours would do — and ambled over to Bob, getting so close as to lick the lens of his camera. The calf’s mother, who was resting some ways away, got to her feet with a lot less struggle and more or less loped over to see what was going on with her daughter. At that point, Bob decided that prudence was key and backed away so cow and calf could have a mother and child reunion.

Later that afternoon, as we were driving down a twisty two-lane road, Bob spied what he thought could be the perfect juxtaposition of farm silo and church steeple to illustrate this series. But before he would capture the rural skyline for posterity, there was the matter of two cows, both looking intently at our car, parked on the other side of the road — and their fence. Bob kept clicking away with his cameras at the two cows. Unbeknownst to him, more cows from the farm — about 50 by my count — and a horse were ambling in quiet determination to pay a call. “You’ve got company,” I shouted to Bob from the car. Bob couldn’t quite make out what I had said, so he turned around to have me repeat it. Then he saw. What a start he had! One of the cows got so close as to lick his elbow while he was taking pictures.

That wasn’t quite the scene a few days earlier at Denny Vittetoe’s hog finishing shed, where one of the porkers took a nip at Bob’s backside while he was in a pigpen taking still more photos.

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One Response to Shades of St. Francis!

  1. Raymond Syms says:

    Thanks, Mark, for the funny post. As a photographer I’m trying to picture myself in the same situation!

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