It looks like they have a lot of bean plants climbing poles around the edges of the yard. I googled "growing pinto beans" and found that hay or straw is often used to keep the water from running off and to keep weeds down around the plants. Apparently those plants mostly use the water in the top part of the ground, so it is important not to let that get dry.
No farm critters around here to my knowledge, but more and more people are gardening, probably due to the economy. As much as I really don't want to do that, it is probably going to be a necessity. -- Join Team Helix * I am praying for these friends .