The headquarters of Parker Ranch, founded in 1847 and one of the biggest ranches in the USA, can be found in the bucolic town of Waimea. It’s the heart of cattle country on the Big Island and where there’s cattle, there’s cowboys, but not here. Here in Hawaii, the cattle are tended by paniolos. That’s because, when the cattle industry grew, ranch hands were needed.
The first three came from California, then part of Mexico. These three vaqueros (Spanish for cowboys) spoke español, but the theory is that, because the Hawaiian language couldn’t handle the word español, it was converted to paniolo. The name stuck.
Over time, the local Hawaiians learned the skills associated with handling cattle. So well did they do this that, in 1908, three of them were entered in the Frontier Days World Championship in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Not only were they a huge hit with the crowds, but they also won titles. Ikua Purdy won the world steer-roping contest and was later voted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. To commemorate those achievements this monument was commissioned. It arrived on the island in 2003 and today stands next to the main highway, on the edge of the parking lot of Parker Ranch Center, a large (for Waimea) shopping complex in the center of town.
I saw this cow with her new calf on my way to my daily walk. Newborn calves tend to have a similar look about them. They’re very clean and bright and they have no idea what’s going on. They get on their feet pretty quickly, but there’s a shaky period until they figure out what legs are and how they work. They don’t stray far from their mothers, particularly when there’s a strange two-legged creature in the vicinity. And they can’t go long before they collapse and need to rest.
Mind you, compared to how I was as a child, they’re positively turbo-charged in their development.
A few weeks ago, I noticed a number of blue buckets had appeared in the local cattle pastures. At the time, the pastures were exceedingly dry and I thought the buckets contained feed. Then I noticed the cows weren’t eating out of the buckets but were licking the contents, so I figured they must be salt licks. Except these days, salt licks are too old-school. These are, according to the company’s website, ‘quality low moisture cooked molasses supplement tubs made from the best all-natural ingredients.’ They make a variety of tubs for different animals and different purposes.
I’d been intending to take a photo of the buckets, but they were either not being used or conditions were poor. Then one afternoon, a few days ago, I saw the two cows in the top photo amicably sharing. I stopped to take a photo. A few moments later, the black cow jogged over to join in. One cow didn’t seem too bothered, but the other was having none of it. She pushed her dining partner out of the way and got in the face of the black cow. A couple of head-butts later the black cow backed off. The upset cow returned to the bucket as her dining partner wandered off, while the black cow got in line, waiting for her turn.
I wondered about hitting the Vitalix company up for sponsorship, for prominently featuring their product and company name in this post. But I figured that if they responded, at best I’d be the recipient of one of their products, and the list doesn’t include a red wine and dark chocolate bucket.
A couple of days ago I posted an image of an irrigation unit used in one of the local dairy’s fields (here). This is the same kind of field but without irrigation. There were more cows in this field than blades of grass because it’s been so dry in this part of the island.
Ironically, since I took this photo three days ago, we’ve had a couple of days of fairly solid rain and this field is already showing a tinge of green where new grass is coming through. However, the last time it was this dry, after it rained the first things to spring up were weeds which basically choked out the grass.
Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Towering.’ See more responses here.
Up near the top of Kohala Mountain is this array of towers. They sit in the middle of pastureland, surrounded by cattle and horses. The one with the large white ball on top is NEXRAD, the Next Generation Weather Radar, which provides current time information showing where clouds and rain are moving through the area. It’s also a navigation aid to local pilots who refer to it as the golfball.
The cattle don’t have access to the information from the golfball, but they know that when they’re wet, it’s raining, and when they’re dry, it’s not, and really that’s all anyone needs to know.