In between Seneca and Cayuga lakes, where most barns are firetruck red, a tall green one with a curved roof stands out. Just down the road from Lori, New York, the barn is only a few minutes away from a roadside ice cream stand called Fingerlicks. From the big barn’s front entrance, the distant cool blue of Seneca Lake beckons behind an extremely faded white sign with black lettering. Strangers driving past the farm would have almost no chance of deciphering “Ithaca Water Buffalo Farm” before they whiz by.
On the far side of the barn, green pastures that are spread over gently rolling hills lie in wait for the farm’s cattle and water buffalo population, but in early April it is still a little too chilly for the animals to roam. And so they rest in the barn in two long rows.
Stepping into the dimly lit space, Eve Rosekrans is met by two dozen pairs of eyes. One Jersey cow is on its feet, and a dozen others lie calmly in their open stalls, attached by rope and chain tethers to a metal rail that blocks off a walkway littered with hay. Dim light illuminates the reddish-brown coats of twenty female cows. Heavy heads swing with slow grace toward Rosekrans, and a minute later nearly all the cows are on their feet.