Sarasota News Leader

07/19/2013

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MAD FOR COWS FLORIDA IS THE PLACE TO BE IF YOU ARE A FAN OF BOVINES Story and Photos By Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Back then I could never get them to stop. As a 6-year-old riding with my parents through the Pennsylvania countryside, we would pass acres and acres of cattle ranches, including an eastern extension of the Texas King Ranch. I sat in the back seat, pleading with them to stop so I could pet a cow. But the closest I ever got to one was the huge plastic one we kids took turns "riding" in front of the Guernsey Cow (known to locals as the Greasy Cow), an eatery in Lancaster, PA. — pastured on innumerable ranches, grazing among ancient cypress trees or standing in the Myakka River in winter, when the river is reduced to a trickle. 
Drive out State Road 64 or 70, stop by a ranch and hang over the fence. Settings are picturesque, with cows grazing nearby or resting under huge live oaks. Keep an eye out for wild turkeys, sandhill cranes and caracara, which frequent pastures. Listen for the meadowlark. Deer and feral hogs feed alongside the cattle, which do not seem to mind. Nowadays, I get to stop wherever and when- Practice cow etiquette! Do not climb fences, ever I want. Florida is a cow junkie's dream. chase cows or "moo" loudly. The landowner In the center of the state, they are everywhere or the bull could be nearby.

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