CHAPTER 4 ~ CREATING A NEW LIFE IN A NEW YEAR
Rural life on the Big Island
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We see lots of cattle on the road to Waimea. When I stop to take pictures, the cattle have one of two reactions. They either stop and look at me, or they start plodding to the far end of the pasture. Sometimes they run. I think that's a stampede. Oops.
We also see horses along the road. Seems everyone here rides, apparently just not while herding cattle. My neighbor is a saddle-maker; interesting that there's enough call for it that someone can make a living from it.
Here's a picture from that unfortunate experience on a horse. Of course mine decides to pee right while we are taking pictures. The girls had fun, but I will never go horseback riding again.
The donkeys we see on the hobby farms are probably wild ones rescued off the lava.
But it's not only horses that we see. There's plenty of sheep, goats, donkeys, and even llamas.
Some groups of sheep in the pastures along the highway are big enough to be part of farming for meat or wool. Other groups seem too small to be useful enough for that. Are they pets?
I know these are pets - meet Coffee and Cappuccino. They're Dianne and Mitch's goats, not used for anything, although they do produce fertilizer for Mitch's gardens. Dianne and Mitch feed them well - see there's no need for them to eat the grass in their pen.
When we were still tourists, the girls and I went horseback riding in Waipio Valley not too far from Honoka‘a. A parent had to accompany children, but neither Greg nor I wanted to go. Unfortunately I “won the toss” because Greg is allergic to horses (or at least that’s his story). I’ve never wanted to ride a horse. They are HUGE. They gave me the biggest, slowest horse they had. He constantly left the trail to eat and he farted non-stop. No matter where they put me in the caravan, my horse would dillydally, pull way into the brush to eat and stop to do what horses do, until I drifted to last in line…again. “Take command of your animal. Pull hard on the reins,” they urged. That bit of tourism was no fun at all.
In 2013 I finally saw a Paniolo herding a couple of cattle with an ATV. I still haven't seen a cowboy on a horse out in the pastures.
Waimea is unabashedly cowboy country. The first horses were brought here as gifts for Hawaiian royalty. They imported cowboys from Mexico, the Espaniols, to work the cattle herds. Since the Hawaiian language has no 's' and never has a syllable that ends in a consonant, the word Espaniol morphed to Paniolo.
These are the main statues in Waimea. The bronze statue of the Paniolo roping a steer is in the Parker Ranch Center, while the cowboy boot and life-sized Paniolo are in the KTA Shopping Center right across the street.