Sunday, March 20, 2011

'Til the Cows Come Home

This is completely not cycling related, but not all adventures are. Instead, I spent a sunny Saturday morning away from both bikes and Crossfit to expand my horizons and get a little a little closer to my food.

Real grass fed dairy is hard to find in this area, but for the warmer half of the year, The Swiss Connection brings top-notch raw grass fed dairy to the Bloomington farmer's market. However, the downside of their all-natural (and not the grocery store marketing kind) approach is that they don't produce year-round. So since November I've been getting by on Kerrygold butter and waiting for spring. When I saw a posting on Facebook that they were looking for volunteers to help move their cows from their winter pasture to the main farm as part of their bi-annual "cattle drive", I jumped at the opportunity to help out and maybe give the girls a pep talk to get the butter and cream flowing.

We were greeted by a neighbor of the farm, who does event catering with his chuck wagon and served up coffee brewed over an open flame.

This is me on the hay wagon that took us out to the winter pasture.

The cows awaiting round-up.

Farm owner Alan Yegerlehner giving instructions as the volunteers lined up.

Basically, they had a tractor and trailer with a movable corral panel on the back. Their were strings tied to both sides of the corral panel and the voluteers spread out about ten feet apart on each side and walked behind the tractor, creating a moving fence all the way back the farm, which was about three miles.

Moo-ing along.

This is near the end of the walk when the cows started getting spread out. It's a little hard to see the line running between me and the guy in front of me.

The cows seemed pretty excited to be back at the dairy. It's hard to see in the picture, but the ones in front started running about the time they got the barn in the distance.

After the we got back to the farm, we were treated to a nice lunch and lots of free ice cream. I had a good time meeting the farm owners and the other volunteers. Definitely a worthwhile morning, and I'm looking forward to trying the fruits, err butter, of my labor at the farmer's market in a couple of weeks.


streamers make me fast said...

That looked like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing.

SurlyGirl said...

What a neat opportunity.

Neil said...

That's seriously cool. (But you could have cut the time in half if you were on your bikes. Just say'n).

Krista said...

Thats awesome! Way to support the real farmers out there!