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While Americans traditionally beat a path to the malls the day after Thanksgiving, many opt out of shopping on Black Friday to enjoy the outdoors. In regional parks and other open spaces, hikers may encounter crowds of a different sort – cattle grazing with their calves. A 1,200-pound cow blocking the path can be daunting.
With a little patience and understanding, people who hike, bike and horseback ride can coexist peacefully with the cattle, according to Sheila Barry, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor in Santa Clara County.
For happier trails, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources has produced a series of videos that show hikers how they can amicably share open space with their beefy neighbors. In a two-minute video, a black cow puppet with a furry white face describes how to politely coax cows to moo-ove aside without spurring a Black Friday stampede.
“We wanted to produce videos that are entertaining as well as informative,” Barry said.
The cow pun-filled video also describes the ecosystem services cattle provide by consuming nearly their body weight in plants. By grazing, cows manage the vegetation, reducing wildfire fuel, increasing water capture and promoting the diversity of native grasses and wildflowers.
In “Sharing open spaces with livestock,” the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources livestock experts give four simple tips for safely sharing open space with cows on the trail:
- Keep moo-ving and speak in a normal tone. Sudden movements and loud noises may surprise cows.
- Approach cows from the side or front. They find it udderly unnerving to have someone sneak up from behind, the bovine blind spot.
- Steer clear of getting between a protective mother and her calf.
- If you need to move a cow, step slowly into its flight zone. Invading the animal's “personal space” will motivate it to mosey aside.
A second video, “Sharing open spaces with livestock when you have a dog,” gives advice for dog owners to keep their best friends safe around cows.
In a third video, “A year in the life of a cow,” the UC Cooperative Extension spokespuppet describes a typical year for a beef cow.
“The videos are a fun way to educate the public about grazing on rangelands,” said Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and rangeland advisor in Sonoma County.
The videos are based on the UC ANR publication “Understanding Working Rangelands,” authored by Barry and Larson, at http://ucanr.edu/shareopenspace.
Watch all three videos on UC ANR's YouTube channel:
Sharing open spaces with livestock https://youtu.be/Qd8LEGLDhaM
Sharing open spaces with livestock when you have a dog https://youtu.be/zzdGnfFwmcA
A year in the life of a cow https://youtu.be/znJbWknVXVg
The current project that is ongoing in gazebo area is a seating area that is completely shaded no matter the time of day all summer long. Steve has undertaken all the hard work, and my task so far has been research. MANNNNN..... What a task!
I have looked online at my favorite sites: GardeningKnowHow, MissouriBotanicalGarden, and Sunset. I have also poured through The Sunset Western Garden Book trying to make an informed decision on what will go into this area that will provide a colorful and inviting atmosphere.
First, I made a list from looking at all the pretty pictures. Then I began looking up each plant. The list grew shorter and longer as some plants were added and others deleted. The easy part was in eliminating plants that will simply die if it gets too hot, are to thirsty, and ones that are not in our growing area. The hard part was containing myself when I saw another pretty plant on the page. (It was kind of like the dog in the movie "Up":-)
So far, I have looked up a couple plants more than once, so that must mean I need to really strongly consider incorporating them into the landscaping. Some I can just move over there from another shady place in the yard. I did come home with a couple plants from the plant exchange, but there now needs to be companion plants for them. And some flowering plants. And plants that the creatures won't enjoy tasting. And plants that will make you want to go over and touch. And plants that are a little unique. And then a bit of garden art. And then....
And now you have a clear definition of a "Gardening Conundrum".