Sunday, May 30, 2010

What a Week!

This was way better than our usual week.
We started with Monday, some Irish Dancing happened. I videoed our teacher, Miss Peggy, doing some steps so the girls can practice. I think she will be happy that I don't publish her on this blog.

On Tuesday we went on a field trip to Broken Wheel Ranch, in Hobart, Indiana. At Broken Wheel they raise and sell Bison. Bison! In Hobart! Of all the crazy things. The ranch is run by two brothers and their families, as kind of a retirement/enjoyment project. They became interested in Bison about 8 years ago and started raising them on the family farm. The project has grown and they raise, sell and give tours. Did you know that bison is the only red meat recommended by the American Heart Association? Neither did I.

We began our tour by piling onto a hay wagon and riding into the field to meet the Bison.

Bison are not like cows. They are not tame or slow moving. They do not put you at ease.
We rode our hay wagon into the middle of the field, the farmer parked it and started chucking pellets into the grass and those buffalo came running! It is a terrifying feeling to have a herd of buffalo running straight for you. The ground shook and I was a little nervous they would not stop but would continue to run rough-shod over our little group. They stopped, a few feet shy of our wagon and began grazing and munching on the grain pellets that had been scattered. A few of the more adventurous bison came up to the wagon and nibbled on our hay bales. Josie froze when the Alpha of the herd, Big John, came right on up, munching on hay and breathed in her scent. "I could feel his hot breath on my knee, Mom! It was scary!"

The general thought is, that at their glory, bison in Northern America numbered in the millions, almost 60 million is the biggest number thrown around. After the pioneers came along, with the diseases from their cows; the government, slaughtering bison to feed the railroad workers and to starve the Indians, the general thought is that bison in Northern America numbered between 300 and 3000. What a drastic change! What destruction man can cause.

While bison are making a bit of a comeback, they are no where near the original numbers. They are hard to contain, slow growing and skittish. In a nutshell, they are wild. They are truly interesting creatures and I am so glad we were able to see some up close. Pictures cannot convey the enormity of these animals. The herd we saw numbered in the 60s and when they ran, it felt like the 100s.

If you are ever in beautiful Hobart, Indiana, you should look up Broken Wheel Bison Ranch and arrange a tour. You won't be sorry!

Oh, and buffalo jerky is good.
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