Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wat U Si Is What You Get

heehee ... okay, admit it, that was a pretty clever title wordplay.


Every time I drive home to see Mom and Dad, I pass these Watusi cattle in a field near Hastings, Florida.
Every time I do, I think, "Dang, I should stop and photograph those bodacious bovines for Pure Florida ... Three Collie would get a kick out of these."
I tell myself I'll get the shot on the way back through Hastings, but it's always dark, rainy, or I just plain forget about it.

Hastings bills itself as "The Potato Capital Of The World", although at this time of the year, it is more of a cabbage capital. The fields surrounding the tiny, but growing, farm community are brimming with almost ready, future cole slaws.

Open fields are freshly plowed and neatly rowed, awaiting the seed potatoes to come. The dark rich soil, so rare in most of sandy Florida, awaits another chance to prove itself ... as it has been doing since at least the late 1800's when Mr. Flagler's railroad and the tourists it brought created a demand for fresh veggies in St. Augustine.

A few years ago, they "improved" SR-207, the road that runs through Hastings on it's way from St. Augustine to Palatka. A formerly nondescript, farm to market road is now a wide 4-lane highway with fancy palm tree medians in the middle of potato fields.

If the developers weren't greasing the wheels of that road project, well, then FC is really a recent transplant to Florida from Iowa who lives in a beachfront condo.
No doubt, the same "pave it and move on" crowd that created the hideous"World Golf Village" and all the 1/8th acre subdivisions in NW St. Johns county were salivating at the cleared, level, farm fields surrounding Hastings.

No matter that those fields are some of the richest food producing soil in the sunshine state. Already a large "U-Store It" facility has been built on a field that will never produce potatoes or cabbage again.
I can hear future generations, shaking their heads in disbelief ... the way we do when we read about earlier generations stripping virgin forests, slaughtering buffalo, or exterminating Carolina Parakeets.

" You took food producing farmland out of production ... to STORE YOUR EXTRA JUNK?!!!"

How will we answer them?

Whatever we say, we probably won't say it with our mouths full ...


This was supposed to be just a short Sunday, photo post about some pretty cool cows.
I'm back on track now.

I did make the U-turn yesterday, right after I passed the Watusi herd. The light wasn't optimum, and the brown bull is a little soft, but aren't they the neatest (excluding Florida Cracker Cattle of course) thing?

I obeyed the sign on the fence, partly out of a desire to live, and partly out of respect for the livestock owner.
I can't share any other details on this tiny herd, because ... I don't know them. It's only a few animals, so it may be simply a hobby herd, or it could be a gene pool for cross breeding ... UF does a lot of agricultural work in the area.

Whatever the reason for the Watusi herd, one thing is sure ... they look a lot better on that agricultural land than another mini-mart, church, or gas station.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sa wat??

Hi FC,

Glad you took the time to stop. My mom and I had always wanted to check out Hudson Beach but never did. After she died I finally took the time to stop and see what was there.

They are some good looking bovines!!

Hope your Christmas was great!

Patti

TROLL Y2K said...

Were you good at SOAPBOX derby as a yute? Grrherhahahahhahahaha!

Deb said...

Just the name "World Golf Village" sounds bad enough. I probably wouldn't recognize the area if I went back there now.

tai haku said...

Dear Santa
In 362 days please will you bring me a small herd of Watusi cattle for the back field? I just saw some on FC's blog and they are awesome.

I promise to be good.

Your pal,

Tai haku.

PS there is an extra mince pie in it for you if you do.

amarkonmywall said...

Potato capital of the world??? I knew there was a reason I ended up in this state. I worship potatoes.
Handsome Watusi. Some horns, there. Somehow, I just can't imagine you from Iowa so I guess that double negative is positively true.

Hurricane Teen said...

The future generation is already shaking their heads in disbelief ;-)
It was a much appreciated rant over here in NW St. Johns County :-)
They look cool, for sure. I used to know a little about them, but have now forgotten...I think I remember them being a hobby herd.

Kimberlee said...

Glad you remembered, took the time, and had enough light to photograph them this time. Those are amazing animals! It's a wonder they can hold up their heads!

And, by the way, love your ranting label, too. :)

Sayre said...

Wow... those Watusi are amazing! Better than Texas Longhorns (**ducks**). I shake my head regularly at the developments around here. It isn't farmland that's getting eaten up around here... it's swamp. Guess what happens when it rains?

Carol said...

When they control the food supply they'll control us.

When we were truckers we used to pass through a lot of beautiful farmland that was being turned into housing developements..malls etc.

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

cndymkr / jean said...

Those horns are amazing. Thanks for the photos.

Caroline said...

FC,
That is one first-class, diamond of the first water, Oscar winning pun if I ever herd one :o)

threecollie said...

Why thank you! These are the most amazing cows there are I think. There used to be a pair of them around here..crossed with some other breed, like maybe Texas longhorn. And they could never ever go in the barn...their horns were too wide to fit through a regulation large barn door. They lived to be about half past ancient though and thrived.

Floridacracker said...

Patti,
Thanks. Good that you got there at last, for both of you.

Troll,
No, but growing up on The Little Rascals reruns, there was one particular episode that made me want to be a soapbox racer. I do tote a bullypulpit around with me though.

Deb,
The last thing Florida needs is another golf course. That may be true for the planet as a whole.

Tai,
Duly noted. I shall forward your request.


Vicki,
You mean Iowa exists? I just made that name up.

HT,
I really meant more future than you. Sorry bro, but I bet there are 20 somethings storing their junk on farmland.

Kimberlee,
Wiki said that the horns are honeycombed with bloodvessels for cooling so maybe their weight is less than it appears. I agree though, they must have some pretty sweet neck muscles.

Sayre,
Gosh, I thought we had some wetland protection laws in FL. Maybe just no enforcement for the last 10 years or so.

Carol,
I'm sure you got an eyefull. Seems like we would see the foolishness of that kind of development.

Jean,
I agree and you are most welcome.

Caroline,
heehee, thanks! It just fell into my lap. I could not resist.
Like yours too!

Threecollie,
Hey you are welcome! These seem like pretty tough animals, I wonder if they are crossbreeding them for those traits.

roger said...

that's a pun to dance to.

i'm sure many of us have watched productive farmland paved over and otherwise covered in strip malls and cheesy houses. for me it was the santa clara valley, now called silicon valley.