Wild Watermelon and Cows in Capes by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1A few months ago an author friend posted on Facebook a photo of a watermelon in a ditch. She couldn’t tell if it had been tossed there or if it grew there but decided she liked the idea of a wild watermelon. Comments followed. Most people discussed what a strange growing season it had been over the summer or other gardening related remarks. I had a different take and posted the following: “Wild watermelons are only cute until they join a gang.” Other writers chimed in and soon there were recommendations about what to do if a wild watermelon gang tried to take over your neighborhood.

Some people saw a watermelon growing in a ditch. I saw entirely different possibilities. I share this by way of introduction so that you will have some frame of reference for what is to follow.

I found this image on Pinterest and I cannot express how it makes me smile.


Please understand I am not callous in the face of poor cows falling from cliffs, in fact I feel quite bad for them. Someone added the caption:  “How many times did this happen before they put up a sign?” but I want to know, “why didn’t they put up a fence instead of a sign?” I would love to save the gentle creatures from this terrible fate, but that is not the point.

The point is the sign.

I love how the cow is the standard, government-issued cow shape and it is almost serene as it falls towards its doom. There is no flailing of hooves or gnashing of big cow teeth, just this cow, stiff and stoic as it tumbles to its fate. Then there is the unsuspecting driver, unhurried and unconcerned. Rocks are falling, too. Maybe the driver is worried about them, maybe not. We’ll never know but we can make up such wonderful stories.

I’ve found similar signs on the internet all with the same cow, facing this way or that, plunging toward the road. Poor cows.



Of all the ways the cows are turned, they never are feet down. This is very important when it comes to the design of the sign. If the cows were shown feet first people might think there were magic floating cows, or maybe that the cows were jumping on the cars. Doesn’t that give one pause?

But why would cows attack?

I grew up on a farm in rural Michigan and while there were not a lot of cows around, there were a few scattered here and there. On occasion a group of teenagers mighdairy-cows-in-fieldt get bored, might seek said cows in the middle of the night and tip them over. These gentle creatures asleep where they stood, mindlessly chewing their cud and then… A car pulls over along the side of the road. Much giggling and discussion follows. Then the attempted stealth, followed by outbursts of mild profanity as the alleged cow-tippers are reminded that where there are cows, there are big, gushy piles of poop. Cow tipping is not for the mature or astute.

More often than not the cows awaken, disgruntled by the noise and wander off in search of quieter pastures. But sometimes they sleep on, dreaming of clover and “Big Roger,” the bull who lives on the other side of the fence. They aren’t bothering anyone. Sleeping, sleeping, then a shove and they’re on the ground, legs flailing, teeth gnashing.


Perhaps the cows aren’t falling at all, but jumping on cars to protest the vile and cowardly act of cow-tipping. But sadly, while cows are loving, gentle creatures they are not the brightest in the animal kingdom. I suspect they haven’t realized that they are jumping from too great a height. I trust they are learning from their mistakes.watermelon

So I’ve moved from the sign with cows falling off cliffs to cows seeking revenge upon humans. I imagine them meeting in fields, discussing their plans, designing capes and masks. If only one of their kind could sew!

Where others see a watermelon in a ditch, I see a gang of wild watermelon roaming the streets. Where others see a sign warning of cows falling onto the road, I see bovine superheroes seeking revenge.

How do you see the world?

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26 thoughts on “Wild Watermelon and Cows in Capes by Erin Farwell

  1. Erin, I am still laughing. Your post is so witty and such a different take on cows falling that I had to read it twice! You are right that everyone sees things in a different light and isn’t it interesting? I once wrote a piece on a drawer of silverware in which a knife and fork fell in love and tried to escape so they could wed. It was for our writer’s group and was a big hit although I felt a bit silly. I grew up in rural Michigan too but now live in Wisconsin farming country, where there are LOTS of cows. I’ll never look at one the same way again. Thanks for making my morning bright!


  2. Smiling the whole way through. Superheroes are big with my son and for the November family project in his kindergarten class we had to disguise the turkey so he wouldn’t get eaten. We disguised him as Superman (or Superturkey) – cape, big “S” on his chest, and wavy black hair. He was a big hit! Love your imagination – keep it up!


  3. Erin, this is hilarious. I think one of the funniest signs is in CA, along the interstates. It’s a man, pulling a woman, pulling a child as they run across the highway. The child is flapping in the wind. We laugh and make up stories about that sign. Does everyone do this or just the writerly minded? Cher’ley


  4. My late husband was born and raised on a farm so he always snickered when I told him I could do something until the cows came home, and it wouldn’t do any good. He also loved watermelons, but I’ve never cared for them. Thank you for a thought-provoking post.


  5. I, too, laughed at your post, Erin — I’ve never seen a “cows falling from cliffs” sign — I just haven’t been to the right places, I guess! It’s good to deviate our blog posts now and then — I just finished mine for Monday, a reflective look at life (my life in particular in anticipation of upcoming birthday) — it’s good for a writer to “dabble” a little. Well done!


  6. A very amusing post, Erin. We have some funny road signs in Scotland, too, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the falling cows. Must look out for them!


    1. I’m glad you liked it and I am so, so sorry for making the mistake of posting this the same day you did. I checked the schedule and put the date on the calendar but I guess it changed. So sorry. Still, I’m glad I made you smile. 🙂
      Loved your post, too. I am good at promoting others but not so good at promoting myself.


  7. On the last of the cow signs, it rather looks like both the cow and the rocks have catapulted over the rocky hill, which can really get my mind going on who would catapult a cow? How big is the catapult? Could you call it a cowapult?


  8. So when it comes to cows falling off cliffs to their deaths, do we hold roundups or deadups when it comes to disposing of them? Men and women out in the American West call themselves cowboys and cowgirls. What human terms do cows use to refer to themselves?


  9. Enjoyed your post as did a lot of others! Congratulations? I have never seen a falling cow sign, but I do get a kick out of reading signs and taking different meanings off them. My hometown has signs near the school that say “15 mph when children present.” I have always wondered if I was going 10 if I should speed up? Or a child crosses in front of me, should I stop or run over them at 15 mph? Also the “slow children playing” signs make me smile. Thanks for a good post.


    1. Thanks Neva – and I know what you mean about signs. My dad and I took a road trip once and when ever we saw the deer crossing sign, we’d yell “Look out for dancing deer.” because that’s what it looked like to us. 🙂


  10. If wild watermelons take over the neighborhood, get out the knives and forks and have a great big picnic.

    As for cows–Have you read Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type? Your idea of cows intent on revenge reminds me of it.


  11. That was fun, Erin. So if you’re driving through that area with those cow signs do you drive with caution or slam the pedal to the metal so that you’ll get past the falling cows as soon as possible. It kind of reminds me of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure when he was driving with the convict and the road signs kept getting progressively worse and absurd eventually with rocks falling all over the car.


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