Cows and Seeds—They Go Together, Don’t They?

Chris and I recently took a quick trip through Decorah, Iowa which is one of our favorite spots in the state.  If you remember this was where I had my first trout fishing experience last year and we have been to the town several times and enjoyed all that it has to offer.  It is an amazing place and we enjoyed a lot of different things this time on our brief trip.

We really wanted to go to the Seed Savers Exchange to see what it was all about as we had heard about it and thought it would be a beautiful place to while away a couple of hours.  Well…the day we went it was raining and sloppy and messy.  Not exactly the best day for a hike around the grounds so we did what we could and started out in the shop where they have hundreds and hundreds of heirloom seeds.  Of course I did not even take one picture of those displays so you will have to imagine them


Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Since 1975, our members have been passing on our garden heritage by collecting and distributing thousands of samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners.


While we couldn’t hike like we wanted to because of the muddy conditions we did see some beautiful scenery.



What I was most excited about was being able to see the Ancient White Park Cattle that live on Heritage Farm.  The info below is taken from the Seed Savers website :

The ancestors of our herds of Ancient White Park cattle date back to the pre-Christian era where they roamed the British isles, and descriptions of their distinct white coats and U-shaped horns crop up periodically in historical documents. Their island-based origin isolated this breed from other breeds, therefore making them much more genetically distinct and valuable. But how did they get to Seed Savers Exchange, you ask? Well, it’s kind of a complicated story.

The breed of Ancient White Park cattle we preserve came to North America from England during World War II for safekeeping from the threat of a Nazi invasion. A few cattle were sent to the Toronto Zoo, and the calves born there were moved to the Bronx Zoo. But lack of space dictated that they be moved to the King Ranch in Texas. From Texas they were moved to Polk City, Iowa and finally here to Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa in 1988.

You can see why I wanted to see these historic animals.  I am a sucker for all cows and I was thrilled that we were able to see a couple of mommas with their babies the day we stopped by.  Enjoy the pictures below and tell me if you love them as much as I do.






P1010804I am especially fond of 2001—-how about you?





One of these cows is not like the others!!!!

One of these cows is not like the others!!!!

Don’t miss a stop at Seed Savers if you are even in Decorah.  Definitely worth a trip even if you aren’t a gardener.

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  1. Sounds like you had a very interesting day. The seeds and the cows have been through a lot to make it to Decorah. I love the soft endearing faces of cows and their knobby knees.

  2. Very cute calves!

  3. Those Moms and babies have the sweetest faces! We, meaning the neighbors around us and up Highway 54, have lots of calves on the ground right now.. ♥ Lots of white ones and red roans.. 🙂

  4. That’s a great road trip idea! I did not know the seed savers exchange was in Decorah. I learned a little about heirloom seed preservation from a couple friends in Fargo.

    • It was very interesting to see all the seeds and displays. I bought some seeds for Aaron and my mom. Delivered the ones to my mom and now can’t find the ones for Aaron. Sigh. I am sure they are buried someplace on my desk.

  5. Seed Savers was on our list when we were in Decorah last summer. But, alas, we ran out of time. How far is this from Decorah?

    Yup, I’ve fallen for the bovines. I wouldn’t want to have to chase them, though, if they broke through a fence. Not with those horns.

  6. Sounds like a great time.

  7. I also love cows and #2001 is adorable. i do think he needs a proper name though. I always named the calves when I was growing up on the ranch.

  8. I have never been to Seed Savers before. I might have to check it out the next time we road trip to Decorah!

    • It is a fun place to browse all of the heirloom seeds and it made me wish I had a good place to garden. Some really interesting and different varieties and I am sure they would be very helpful to anyone who had a passion for heirloom anything.

  9. Love the idea of saving heirloom seeds. And those are adorable white cattle!

  10. The cows are cute and there’s even a black sheep. 😉

  11. Hoping to make a trip down there this spring…. we’ll make this one of our stops!

  12. Ann Pillsbury says:

    WHat an interesting history concerning the cows and seeds. Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. I have a few plants that I took from seeds or at least smaller plants from my late grandma’s garden. which were planted from the original farmhouse she started when she got married with seeds from her MIL. Who probably got started from her own mother. So my bleeding heart that finally started to emerge this weekend could be generations old. It’s enough for me to have it as a reminder of my grandma. And this year I noticed 4 smaller plants coming up around it that I was able to transplant to other gardens.
    So just like my grandma, it’s the gift that keeps on giving! 🙂
    And I like 2001 too — we should call him Norman.

    • That is awesome that you have heirloom plants, too!! AMazing how that can continue from generation to generation. And Norman it shall be—great choice!

  14. I just love cows so much. And yes, cows and seeds go together!

  15. I am definitely not a gardener, even with gloves, I cannot stand the feel of dirt under my fingernails.

  16. Unusual cattle. 2001 is my favorite, too!

  17. Jennifer says:

    Heirloom seeds are so important! Many of our crops are genetically modified and do not produce viable seeds.

  18. Looking at this entire post all I could think of is my nephew Harland saying “moo”.

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