Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Vicky Dorvee
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Elk at home on the farm

 

April 12, 2018

Photo by Vicky Dorvee A visiting elk has been enjoying the Schultz Family Farm on Oxford Road since January, amiably sharing a pasture with two oxen.

There’s an uninvited guest staying on the Schultz Family Farm. She’s pleasant though and no one is complaining. In fact, she’s drawing a great deal of attention to a small patch of land on the corner of Oxford Road and Highway 287, which Glen Schultz is hoping will become more familiar to the public.

Two months ago, a lone female elk jumped into the pasture that holds two male oxen. And she’s stayed around to graze and lounge in the field with her good-natured horned friends, Chester and Calvin. Occasionally, the new hooved-one on the block lithely jumps out to meander a bit, then springs back in to rejoin them.

Initial sightings of the elk worried passersby who called the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division to investigate if the elk was being penned in. District Wildlife Manager Joe Padia said, after having transferred to this area in January, this was one of the first calls he answered.

“We assumed she made her way from the foothills to the west,” Padia said. “I talked to one landowner in the area and he thought this cow is the offspring of a cow that spent years in the area near Panama Reservoir. This would explain why she seems so comfortable in the area. I also talked to a local goose hunter who said she has been in the area for approximately three years during the winter. He told me she leaves in the spring, which would indicate an elk that is using the area as winter range, but migrates in the spring. Which is true? I don't know.”

Glen Schultz, owner of the five-acre, all-natural farm, believes the elk was drawn to his land, because of the balanced mineral content. He also said his farm animals don’t feel the need to protect their space, because there are ample resources for them, owing to the organic and regenerative farming methods he’s using. When he does put out food for the oxen, the elk “clears out”, because the oxen are not as generous with the food provided to them and one ox in particular is likely to put a stop to her getting any.

Seven years ago, the land Schultz leases from Boulder County Parks and Open Space was a conventional farm; some of it covered in thistles. Thanks to symbiotic farming practices Schultz uses, a bit of mowing, and three hogs, the oxen, two sheep, and 50-plus chickens, the ground gets cleared of weeds and a healthy pasture land has taken over.

Schultz grew up on a cattle ranch, but he spent most of his life in the corporate world. An accumulation of health issues made him reconsider his lifestyle choices, including what he and his family were consuming nutritionally. As a result, the farm is now his passion and full-time occupation, and he’s in better health.

“The more I read about food, the more I realized I needed to take control and get away from the traditional medical model of surgery and drugs” Schultz said. “What I’ve learned and what I have to share, I think will benefit many others.”

Schultz considers his farm a demonstration farm. He is growing a wide variety of berries and selling eggs. He intends to expand the offerings to vegetables in the future. But his focus is on growing healthy soil so that the nutritional value of the food cultivated there is higher.

“It’s a little bit of an old-fashioned farm where people can visit the animals and buy berries and eggs,” Schultz said. “And I’m bringing in speakers where we talk about food, health, and nutrition all the way up the system to offer a better solution.”

His philosophy for sustaining the farm and for building a community that provides healthier and better tasting food is, “If you have something to teach, come teach it. If you want to learn, come and if you can lend a hand, please do.”

Schultz had to laugh when well-intended folks questioned if he was preventing the elk from leaving his farm.

“She’s free to graze,” Schultz said. “Wild animals shouldn’t be run off — they should go where they want to go. She has left for a day or so and even four days a couple of weeks ago, but then she came back.”

Ironically, when she left for a few days, Schultz then received calls of concern. He said he heard she had made her way to Panama Reservoir. His guess is that the snowfall at that time made her seek cover and privacy, which the reservoir offers.

Padia said, “I wouldn't be surprised if it is gone just as quickly as it appeared. I also wouldn't be surprised if she hangs around the entire summer. She may disappear once the local crops get tall enough for her to hide in.”

There’s a saying that “being a farmer means shaking hands with nature.” A steady stream of roadside gawkers and Schultz are thoroughly enjoying this moment when nature truly walked right up and introduced itself, and then made itself at home.

To learn more about the Schultz Family Farm, visit www.farmerglenblog.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/schultzfamilyfarms/.

 

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