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.