I want to talk to y’all a minute about cow tampons.

(Dudes, this is where you might want to just walk away…)

Now, I know they aren’t technically “cow tampons” but absolutely no amount of correction or further scientific knowledge is going to dissuade me from forever calling a cow CIDR (Controlled Internal Drug Release) a “cow tampon”. Let me tell you why.

Last week, pre-COVID quarantine, I had an appointment for the local ABS (that acronym delightfully stands for “American Bull Semen”, fyi) rep to come to our farm and prep our farm milk cow for artificial insemination.

Artificial insemination (or AI) is the most common way to get dairy cows bred, on farms large and small. Dairy bulls are notoriously dangerous to have on the farm and AI allows farmers of all sizes access to the best genetics. I, however, had never met an AI rep and never seen this done so I had no idea what to expect.

And I can tell you I entirely did not expect a tall, trim man in a spotless button up shirt and khakis to enter my barn with what, to my untrained eyes, looked exactly like a cow-sized plastic tampon applicator. 😳

The smartly dressed tech explained to me we would insert the tampon (um, CIDR) into the cow, which would release hormones to schedule her estrus so we could accurately inseminate her. Cows have extremely short periods in which they can conceive, so timing is everything. He stood there in my barn aisle telling me this in entirely clinical terms.

And while he spoke about the science of putting things in cow vaginas, he kept gesticulating with the cow tampon.

I could not take my eyes off it. Did he not realize what it looked like? The slim plastic rod with plunger was almost entirely identical to a tampon applicator. In any other circumstance, I would have snickered but this man was so professional, so very serious about his job that I dare not. Instead I stood there and nodded dumbly, using all my willpower to not crack a smile.

Then came the big moment of, um, insertion.

Ladies, I need not explain it to you but it was entirely the same procedure. Thank the good lord that the man was quick and efficient in his work on that end of the cow because I do not think I could have met his eye without laughing if he had paused for even one moment.

And when he was done, there was the little blue string sticking out…waiting to be pulled out by me at a later date. 😮 I wanted to point and laugh because oh.my.god, a COW TAMPON! I could hardly stand the fact that this dude was oblivious to how funny this was.

Tonight was the night for the tampon’s removal and the hilarity of it all hit me all over again. To make matters worse, I made the mistake of telling Nathan of what I was heading out to do and Evie started asking questions. And while my child is not naive, the details of artificial insemination are NOT something I am up to explaining at this juncture. I retreated and got ready to go outside and my poor, dear husband was left in the kitchen being cornered by a barrage of questions. I salute his fortitude in that moment.

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