News from the Moos
2010 Hay Harvest
After years of drought, we were finally able to harvest some of our own hay to feed the Save the Cow herd. Besides cutting a newly-seeded field at New Raman Reti, two local devotee families, Gostabihari and Mahavisnupriya Cranmer and Stoka Krishna and Syamapriya Torgersen, graciously made their fields available for hay production.
Of course, the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” applies to cows as well. There’s still the cost of fertilizing the fields and the expense of getting the hay cut and baled. Therefore, thanks also goes to the following who donated to help pay for last year’s hay harvest, which has amply fed the cows this winter: Balavanta and Ballavi Ogle, Varuna and Kirtaniya Aggarwal.
Radhe and Kripa Still Going Strong
Radhastami and Krishna Kripa will turn 18 this year, but each is still as strong as an ox (pardon the pun). Bhakta Mauri, our long-time dedicated teamster, who is no spring chicken himself, recently yoked up the team to “drag the field,” thus spreading the manure evenly on the pasture—and here’s the proof, so you won’t think that this is just a cock and bull story.
A Visit from the Vet
As Save the Cow’s herd gets older, veterinarian visits are becoming more frequent. Recently, our regular vet Randy Emmons DVM (bovine specialist and the best large-animal veterinarian in the area) came to treat Krishna Kripa’s eye and Radhika’s leg. Kripa, as a “white-faced” Holstein with non-pigmented eyelids, is susceptible to developing cancerous growths on his eyes. Dr. Emmons has successfully treated Kripa twice before for this disease as he has done for Nandini as well.
Radhika, another Holstein, is afflicted with an arthritic condition in her leg and hip. The injections she receives from Dr. Emmons and her daily doses of medicines provide enough relief to keep Radhika on her feet and able to get around the pasture.
Gopa the Cowherd Dog
If you’ve ever driven to the back of New Raman Reti, there’s a good chance you’ve seen (or almost run into) Gopa the cowherd dog. He showed up at the Temple in 1999 and has been here ever since, staying with the cows out in the pastures. In his younger days, Gopa performed his cowherding service with great enthusiasm and could even walk Gauri on a rope!
Now, he’s semi-retired and spends most of his days sleeping in the fields or on the road—a bad habit of many years that he won’t give up. So please be on the lookout for him in the road and drive carefully.
Thanks to Ganesh M. Ramanujam, Jaya Gauri and Mahavira Roberts, and the students of Bhaktivedanta Academy of North America for sponsoring three new water tanks (two are already installed and the third one is just now coming).
Here’s Mayapur after a drink at one of the new tanks, sprinkled with the hay that he throws on himself with his horns. He thinks it makes him look tough—aren’t those horns warning enough?
Initially, we kept Save the Cow’s brand-new donated Mahindra tractor in the cow barn and the mower under a tarp. Then, we purchased an economical “Instant Garage Shelter” as a temporary solution, which we thought would last a year or two while we saved up enough funds for a permanent structure. Unfortunately, it proved to be very temporary when, within a few weeks, it came down during the first thunderstorm of the summer.
That inspired us to step up fundraising efforts and with the generous support of the following donors, we were able to provide a suitable shelter for Save the Cow’s tractor, which is used for delivering 800-pound hay-rolls to the cows in the winter and for mowing the pastures in the summer. Thank you to Varuna and Kirtaniya Aggarwal, Sadhu Sanga Men’s Group, and Mrs. Marion Solomon.
It’s about time to replace some pasture gates, which get beat up over the years by cows, cars, and the climate. We could use five new 12-foot-wide gates, which cost about $70 each.
Seed and Fertilizer
Last year we seeded a 13-acre field at New Raman Reti with Tifton 9 Bahia grass and harvested 45 hay rolls in one cutting. To help establish a stronger, higher yielding pasture, we plan to re-seed that field again this spring. At the recommended planting rate of 20 pounds of seed per acre, we require seven 40-pound bags of Tifton 9 seed ($125 per bag) at a total cost of $875.
That field along with the others (for both hay production and summer pasture grass) need to be fertilized with nitrogen. The cost of spreading fertilizer on all the fields comes to about $2800 (fertilizer prices are15% higher than last year).
Cow Shelter / Infirmary / Hospice
Another feature of caring for an aging herd is the opportunity to improve our service by providing for the special needs of geriatric bovines. In North Central Florida, healthy, young cows can live well without the need of barns. All of our pastures have trees, which provide shade and some shelter from wind and rain. As our cows age, however, they need extra care and shelter from the elements. We can make them more comfortable by providing additional shelter from summer sun and winter winds and rain.
To this end, Save the Cow plans to build a 12 x 24 foot multi-purpose barn shelter in one of the pastures. This structure will be open on both ends to allow free access to the cows and oriented in such a way as to provide refuge from the prevailing winds, which can be quite chilly in the wintertime. In addition, it will provide shade and shelter from the rain. This barn will be equipped with a central beam sturdy enough to support a cow sling, which can hoist a cow having difficulty standing. There will also be a gate on each end so that the building can be closed to create an infirmary for sick cows or a hospice facility when necessary. The estimated materials cost is $2500 and we plan to construct it with a combination of volunteers and local carpenters.