Hook and thurl

Before reading any further, perhaps you’d like to guess at what you’re looking at? We traveled north on Wednesday to participate in a fleece-to-shawl competition at the county fair in Troy. The competition lasted four hours and although I’m Joanna’s go-to guy for water and the occasional fruit cup, I had plenty of time to wander the grounds in search of photographic opportunity. During last year’s competition I became preoccupied with antique tractors while this year I spent most of my time in the animal barns. The photo shows the backbone and tail head of a Brown Swiss cow but the contour of the hip was what caught my attention. The animal had been recently clipped for the show ring and was a picture of health; she was clean and smelled like roses. The terms which make up the title of this post have a nautical ring to my ear. The hook bone is synonymous with the hip while the thurl is the area between the hook and the pin bones which form the end of the bovine pelvis. Dairy farming neighbors of ours raised Brown Swiss and they were a ready source for bull calves. Our daughter raised and showed these as (dairy) beef animals at our own county fair for years. We all found Swiss to be gentle, intelligent, and easy to handle.


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