I started to write a post about food safety but it started to get a little heavy. So I thought that I’d instead write about the newest residents at Skylight Farms: a small herd of cattle. Plus, they’re awfully cute and photogenic. Food safety, on the other hand, not so much.
Within our 20 acres, we’ll only be farming about one-quarter to one-third of the land this season. The remaining acreage has been left untouched. It was formerly used as pasture by the previous owner who raised prize-winning Black Angus. With our focus on the fields where we’re actually growing stuff, grass and weeds in the dormant areas have grown almost as tall as our 2 year-old son. Mowing it just seems like a waste of time, energy, and fuel so having some animals to eat up the grass and fertilize the fields seems like a logical way to go. However, animals require a level of care that vegetables do not. Lacking that skillset, it seemed like we would need to partner with someone to take that on.
As luck would have it, a few weeks ago Craig DeYoung and his two kids, Ryan and Sarah, stopped by to inquire about pasturing their cows on our land. Ryan would repair the fence to ensure the cows couldn’t get out and he and his sister would care for the animals. All we had to do was provide the pasture and some water. That’s what I call a win-win.
Talking to their mom, Jill, I learned that both Ryan and Sarah — now teenagers — have been learning to care for cows since they were about 5 years old. Clearly these kids have way more knowledge than I could ever pretend to have. She even nonchalantly mentioned that they used to keep a cow uterus and some cow eyeballs in their freezer so the kids could practice artificial insemination and dissection. I guess if you’re going to raise cattle, you gotta know that kind of stuff. It sure beats my childhood of playing games on the Apple IIE and hanging out at the mall.
So far the cows (seven of them) seem pretty happy in their new home. It definitely feels a little more farm-y to have cows in the pasture. Plus, Griffin loves them and is very happy that we can add cows to our rendition of Old MacDonald Had a Farm. It was getting a little dull to sing about vegetables because they don’t make any interesting sounds.
I’m looking forward to learning about the cows from Ryan and Sarah. Maybe it’s the mom (and former education professional) in me but I love the idea of them teaching me something new.