Friday, November 13, 2009

The Amazing Red Poll - Part 1

When I began this quest, searching for a farm on which to retire, I also began searching for a breed of cattle to raise on it some day. I'd once had a herd of long haired, long horned Scottish Highlands and got very attached to them but I just don't relish having those horns to watch out for. I began searching the internet and found a heritage breed from Vermont called the Randall Lineback. I visited a herd of them in Connecticut but, to be honest, found them kind of big, dumb, dirty - and they had horns.

Then I discovered Yaks on the internet. Those in the United States didn't seem appealing, but those in Nepal and Tibet seemed gentle and trainable. So I decided that I'd raise Yaks. I visited a herd in Vermont but changed my mind when the farmer said, "Don't go any closer or they'll charge."

I visited Irish Dexter cattle and liked them well enough, but they had horns. The same with Scottish Highland cattle. Then I found Red Poll cattle on the internet. There are none in the northeast except for one small herd in Pennsylvania. So I made arrangements to go visit them. It's a 3 hour drive from Albany. I took a day off of work, piled the dogs into the back of my car and headed southwest. The farm is nestled in the Susquehanna River Valley. The drive was very scenic:

In all directions were mountains still wearing remnants of autumn colors. Because we'd just had a couple of days of rain, the clouds were very low and the rivers were swollen and flooding their banks:

Once we left the limited access highway, we began driving directly south down along the Susquehanna River:

I pulled off into a weedy field and stopped to let the dogs have a break:

Seamus walked directly from the car into a patch of burdock and got his face covered with burrs. It was so bad that his ears were stuck to the top of head. I had to pull them off of his head and his legs. But the dogs got to stretch their legs and empty their bladders:

The Susquehanna River Valley stretches from New York into Pennsylvania. It was rural and scenic:

The farms along the way reminded me very much of the Ohio countryside from my youth:

This barn's sign says that it is a dairy but I saw no cattle:

Farm fields, mountains and clouds. Next stop - the Red Poll cattle farm:

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