Things sure can change fast in a life. A year ago I was still working and had no clue that in about six weeks I would be laid off. And I never imagined that in less than a year I would be living in North Carolina! I was thinking about all this and wondered what I was doing, photographically, a year ago. Well, turns out I had just met Ben and Shelby King, of the King Farm in Bradenton, Florida. I wanted to do some photography on their farm and Shelby was kind enough to give me a tour. Along the way we met these inquisitive creatures. I also met Bubba The Bouncer. Thanks for a nice afternoon, Shelby. ☙
That’s Bubba the Burro … although he should really be called Bubba the Bouncer. We normally think of burros as docile, hard-working beasts of burden. Or as stubborn, ornery creatures who are just a trifle on the dim side. But Bubba doesn’t fit any of those descriptions. He heads up security at the King Farm in Bradenton, Florida.
King Farm is a beautiful tract of 103 acres, situated east of Interstate 75 at the State Road 70 exit. As you whiz by the normal assortment of fast food restaurants, gas stations, and box stores you wonder how a working farm could be anywhere near the urban sprawl of Southwest Florida.
But King Farm is easy enough to find, a simple right turn off SR 70 onto Caruso Rd. and soon enough you’ll see the sign. I traveled there a week ago to photograph cows. Recently I decided I need more cow pictures and the gods obliged that thought when I met Ben and Shelby King at a mutual friend’s party. After learning what they do I quickly invited myself to their property for a photo session. They graciously agreed.
Gracious is a word that fits nicely with King Farm. For several months out of the year they have a farmer’s market where they sell organically grown produce. They serve the community in numerous ways, including farm tours for school kids and opening their property to art students so they can sketch and paint some of the beautiful landscapes as well as iconic images of barns and tractors.
The Kings don’t actually raise cattle (they rent out the grazing land) but they do raise goats and sheep. They never expected to own a burro but after coyotes began attacking their goat and sheep herds they needed to take some action. Someone suggested a burro and since acquiring Bubba they haven’t lost a single critter. Bubba the Bouncer is a pro.
Looking at the size of Bubba’s ears I can believe there is nothing on earth that could sneak up on him. That included Shelby and I. Bubba came trotting across the field as soon as he spotted Shelby. Bubba has a crush on Shelby, that was clear. He kept nudging (and sometimes nipping) everyone else (including me) as he positioned himself between Shelby and the rest of us. Just doing his job! ❧