On Saturday mornings, my Daddy would go to the filling station in Sycamore and meet up with some of his friends. Mama said there was more gossip spread there than at any beauty shop.
One day a newcomer to our rural way of life came to the station and asked about “those white birds I see with the cows in some pastures.” He was told that “those are government birds. They eat flies and protect your cows.” Oh, he wanted some of those for his bovines. “Go on down to the ASCS office – and tell them we sent you. They’ll ask how many cows you have and issue you one bird per cow.”
The regulars kept their composure as the city slicker walked back to his truck to speed to the office of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service to put in his requisition. As he drove away, the knee-slapping laughter ensued.
I don’t remember any follow up to the story regarding when the new fellow realized he’d been taken for a ride. But from that day on, any time we rode past a pasture with cattle egrets among the grazing cows, my Daddy made reference to the government birds.
My latest quilt is based on this story and on a photo a friend took a few months ago. Based on his photo, I drew this scene using colored pencil, then transferred it to silk fabric and added some details with quilting.
Silk fabric, Cherrywood hand dyed fabric, commercial cotton, and Moda linen were used. Lots of raw edges! Dream Wool batting. Kimono silk thread and variegated YLI cotton thread based on Cherrywood colors. Finished size is 20″ x 19″