The lowly, Happy Shepherd
The sun loves cattle pasture and pasture loves the sun. Although, I
am not a part of that relationship, I like basking in its light.
This is the sweetest time of the year on pasture, both emotionally
and dietary. Spring cattle pasture was a little high in protein and
low on sugar, then early summer made the grass grow so fast that some
of it got too mature to be at its best: however now we have hit the sweet
spot. The cattle are grazing grass at about a foot high and leaving
when there’s about four to five inches left. This keeps the grass young and tender
plus takes advantage of a grass plant’s ability to use sunlight to absorb carbon and
make sugar. This makes the grass sweet and very good for adding a little fat to some quite muscular
animals. The fat is what transfers the beneficial elements that make grass-fed cattle healthy
plus provides a little savoriness.
So many people graze their pasture until it looks like a golf course.
The problem with this is that along with rain and nutrients, grass
needs some sunshine to grow. The green blades of grass act like a
solar collector and help make the grass grow through photosynthesis.
When cattle are allowed to graze every part of the solar collector,
the plants can no longer grow at peak efficiency. A bare pasture is also
subject to overheating from sunlight whereas a pasture that is left with some cover
is shaded and cooler-a nicer environment for beneficial worms and microbes.
Worms constantly work their way through the soil leaving small openings which
hold rainwater. We get very little water runoff as the pasture has structure similar to a sponge
because of all those little worm tunnels. Microbes in the soil exist to help break down
leftover grass and manure into fertilizer for new growth.
Okay, if the technical information about pasture grazing has caused a slight glaze to occur
on the surface of your eyes, here comes the glaze remover. Cattle, pasture and sun have way
more meaning to me than just making beef-it’s a combination that makes me happy. When I am
free from the world, under the sun and hanging out with fifty of my closest bovine friends, I am
doing what I was made to do. That porous pasture of ours is soft on my feet and all of that green
grass helps to keep the air temperature a little cooler. I’ve always sought to define myself by
responsibility but have little interest in clubs or other groups. When I am in the pasture, among the cattle
and green grass, I can afford to let my guard down and serve those who serve me. When I am in
the pasture, I know my own identity; I am a lowly shepherd-lowly and happy.
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