Tag Archives: Cattle

Big Island Dairy

The old Big Island Dairy on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii.

This aerial view of Big Island Dairy was taken before it closed down. Situated on the northeast side of the island above Ookala, the dairy was a fairly large operation with up to 1,800 cows. But it had problems with a series of spills from its wastewater lagoons, with manure-rich water running into neighboring Alaialoa Gulch and Kaohaoha Gulch and on down to the ocean.

The dairy closed in early 2019, leaving the Cloverleaf Dairy, at Upolu, as the only one on the island. But now, the assets of Big Island Dairy have been purchased and a proposal made to reopen the facility as a much smaller operation with no more than 200 cows. It’s still in the planning process, but the new owners have made an effort to contact local residents so that the issues from the previous operation aren’t repeated.


Three Paniolos on horseback in Hawaii

The current Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Hands & Feet.’ See more responses here.

I wasn’t sure I had anything for this topic, but then I thought of these paniolos, who I saw at Upolu last month. Paniolos are the Hawaiian version of cowboys and these days they often ride four-wheel vehicles. But there are still occasions when they’ll saddle up while moving or tending cattle.

This scene occurred last month when they were moving a herd of cattle into a new pasture. I arrived at the tail end of the process, when the paniolos were walking back to their vehicles.

So what does this have to do with hands and feet? Well, it occurred to me that hands and feet are the main tools of the trade for communicating with the horse being ridden. And as for the horses, their feet are shod with lucky horseshoes and their height is measured in hands.

Enough said!

Three Paniolos on horseback and a sugar cane harvester

Upolu landscape

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Favorite Landscape.’ See more responses here.

When I think of the landscape at Upolu, it includes both the ocean that borders it and the skies above. They are, in my mind, integral to the place. But here, I’ve focussed on the land, a relatively small area of a few square miles where I walk most days. It’s rural, agricultural, and coastal. It’s historic and modern. It’s also a place I never return from feeling disappointed. There’s always something of note that I see or that happens when I’m there.

Also posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.

Saddle up

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.

For more information about monument, go to https://paniolopreservation.org/a-monument-to-paniolo-pride/.

For a brief history of the Big Island’s cattle industry, go to https://www.bikemaui.com/hawaiian-paniolo-brief-history/.

Posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.

Cow with new calf

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.

Wait your turn

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.