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GRANDMA SAYS: Accurate or udderly ridiculous?

These ladies seemed ready for their close-up.  Philip Capstick came across these Holstein cows resting - or maybe forecasting  - along the Gaspereau River in Nova Scotia.
These ladies seemed ready for their close-up. Philip Capstick came across these Holstein cows resting - or maybe forecasting - along the Gaspereau River in Nova Scotia. - Contributed

The other day I ran into someone who asked if Grandma was still “with us.”

Grandma will always be with me. You can’t live with someone like Grandma and not be forever changed. She was a very special lady. I know that I do things – some things – like she did. I also know I will never be as wise as she was.

Grandma had a way of saying something and then just walking away, like you were supposed to know what she meant. For example, she often walked over to the window in the kitchen, looked out over the cows in the field behind the barn and said, “well, the cows are lying down, it’s going to rain.” And that was it.

Over the years, I’ve come across several different explanations for why our bovine friends would hit the ground before the rain came and many of them sound quite plausible. Grandma believed cows can sense increasing air moisture and will plop down to preserve a dry patch of grass. Another theory states cows lie down to ease their stomachs, which are supposedly sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure brought on by rainfall (by the way, that one is my favourite).

A study by the universities of Arizona and Northwest Missouri found cows stand up longer when it is hotter because it helps lower their core body temperature. By exposing more of themselves, it allows their body heat to disperse into the air. If that’s true, they must lie down when it is colder, which is often what happens in the summer just before it rains.

Calling all farmers: which do you believe is most probable?

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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