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Whether they had one or not, upon thars

These cows are blended cows.  Not cows that have been put in a blender – that would be grisly and hopefully illegal.  These are half and halfs and the palest are known as jaunes (yellows).  The ancient cow of Cantal is the Salers.  They were originally black and you still find blacks amongst them.  They are celebrated and fêted and look as though they have migrated from Spain to avoid being Matador fodder.  The more familiar Salers these days is a ruddy red – deep auburn and hardy.  And pronged with splendid Harley Davidson handlebar horns.  They are emblematic of their place.  Their rich creamy milk goes to make the many cheeses for which the region is renowned – most commonly Salers itself, the ubiquitous Cantal, St Nectaire and  Bleu d’Auvergne.  Their meat is prized in the region and in Paris too – in fact if you visit the Cinquieme Arrondissment you will find that in addition to being the Latin quarter it is also a veritable hive of restaurants specialising in produce from Cantal including wonderful dishes based on Salers beef and veal.  These cows are bovine A-listers in our locale.  But some farmers,  breed them with the great white  Charolais, themselves beef royalty the world over.  This breeding produces the yellows.  They too are prized – their meat is sublime and the price is good.  It is called progress by some, meanwhile the purists  frown.   I stand neutral.  I’m not a farmer, not a native of Cantal and have no right whatsoever to judge.  I just  love cows.  I find them to be rather harmonious creatures.  So they seem appropriate sitting in their stunning landscape under a rudely blue sky on December 28th last year as my illustration of Harmony the word named as prompt this week for the Weekly Photo Challenge.   I think you will agree that the panarama too is pretty easy on the eye – the grassy Plateau de Limon looking  across to the Cèzallier mountains beyond and in between the snail like crater of one of the numerous volcanoes that gave the region it’s personality all those aeons ago.

But wait!  There is one thing  – if you look at the foreground you will see diggings.  Not the minings of moles but mole rat shovellings  … these pesky rodents have multiplied alarmingly in Cantal in the very recent past and they have become a tremendous nuisance.  The question is can we live harmoniously with these critters or should steps be taken to eradicate them?  I’ll leave you to ponder the damage they do to this wholly agricultural territory versus their right to peaceful occupation.

DSCF5336

PS:  The title is from The Sneetches by Dr Seuss, a story of creatures identical in every way to one another except for the stars on the bellies of the entitled ones … the moral is elementary – after all what hope have we of saving the planet if we can’t co-exist with our own without dwelling on what they have or have not upon thars!

91 Comments Post a comment
  1. Amazing palette of colours there, Osyth, especially for December 28th! I do like your ode to the humble cow. They strike me, too, as intelligent, peaceful creatures. As for the pesky rodents, it sounds like a cull of some sort would be justified from an agriculture perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • That is exactly as they strike me, Mel! The rat-taupiers are a dreadful nuisance and breeding rapidly. I imagine there will be a cull but I also imagine it is difficult to know how best to go about it without poisoning the land for a while. I will write more on the subject which has preoccupied me since the strident headline in le Montagne ‘le Cantal est infié’

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2016
  2. Beautiful pictures – and I love cows also. I think they are very cool creatures and they are fun to look at. Thanks Osyth for a wonderful post today – hope your week to come is excellent for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • Thank you Terry. I finally feel my head is back on my shoulders after a pause and wish you too a wonderful week to come 🙂 Vive les vaches is my motto for the week!

      Liked by 2 people

      March 7, 2016
  3. Real cows like these are lovely creatures. And they live outdoors for part of the year. What I disapprove of heartily is the milk machine creation, about three times bigger than its ancestors and giving about ten times more milk without ever having a calf. The poor things don’t even know what to do with a calf if they are asked to produce a bit of veal. Industrial animal husbandry is atrociously inhumane. I wish all farms could be like your picturesque locals.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • It’s one of the things I love about Cantal. The natural husbandry is unimpeded (the introduction of Charolais is radical, to be fair). Factory farming is a disgrace. I wish that Orwell’s Animal Farm were a reality whenever faced with evidence of it. I have a beautiful picture of a bull lying surrounded by calves whilst the mothers take a rest. My friend and I watched them for ages – he nudging the babies if they got too feisty with one another. It is greed pure and simple that fuels the other sort.

      Like

      March 7, 2016
      • The dairy farmers bellyache now that they can’t make a living because the price of milk is so low. It’s so low because there’s so much of it. They were encouraged to use foul means to get their animals to produce ridiculous quantities of milk, increase the size of their herds, and now they’re in debt because of all the capital outlay that required. We don’t need so much milk. Letting the cows produce less would be one fairly simple solution but they see that as so much lost income.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2016
      • We have friends who have a herd of 40
        Salers. Dad and their two sons do the farming and Mum makes St Nectaire. They are not rich but they have all they need and any more milk would be thrown away (as he regularly expounds). You would fit right in.

        Like

        March 7, 2016
      • That’s what the bio pork people say. They keep very few animals and they sell the meat locally. They make a nice living and they don’t have to run a meat factory to do it. Sounds like my kind of place 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2016
      • I like these bio pork people. Very much. when I am back in France you must come over and visit Cantal. It is lovely and has famously lovely people. They seem to be content which is a virtually forgotten virtue in this world of ours.

        Like

        March 7, 2016
      • Contentment went out with the ark in most places. I might just take you up on that, if we get a car that can manage the roads 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2016
      • I will stay in touch with you on this one …. I’m quite insistent on the quiet and I’m sure you would enjoy it and it would inspire some great words too 🙂

        Like

        March 7, 2016
      • It sounds like paradise, except for the winter. I love northern landscapes but can’t stand the cold, so I just look at the pictures and wish. The soft south is all I can cope with.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2016
      • We get our fair share of the heat in summer – I haven’t been so tanned since I stopped being a bonkers rower a few years back 🙂

        Like

        March 7, 2016
      • The summer’s fine in most places. It’s just that in some places it only lasts a few weeks, or, in the case of Yorkshire, the odd day here and there.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • Yorkshire, Liverpool and most of Ireland spring to mind! We get a good shot at summer and since I have lived in Cantal long Autumns too – mid-November generally spells the end though this year it was later everywhere, I think. That said there is barely a Spring high up which I do miss 🙂

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        March 8, 2016
      • Spring is probably best in climates where the winter is harsh and nerves fray. I used to go stir crazy when we lived in northern France, but at least the signs of spring were there, getting more obvious every day.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • It is sudden and quick in Cantal and, I am told, here in New England too. One minute the landscape is almost sepia toned and the next, like The Wizard of Oz, full technicolour 🙂

        Like

        March 8, 2016
      • When that happens you find yourself wanting to turn back the clock to catch the moment you missed. Not a good idea.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
  4. Bautiful soft colours…a lovely photograph.

    My neighbour used to cross Rouge d’Anjou with Charolais but there was always a problem with the birth resulting in Caesarians and whopping vet bills.

    I think the milk goes into the tomme d’auvergne too…for my winter supper delight – aligot!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • Thank you – I was pleased to be able to use it in some sort of vague context! Those Charolais beefers are large and I can imagine they might throw over-sized calves which might be problematic to a modest mum in labour. The tomme (we call it tomme de Cantal) is wonderful stuff. I adore aligot and indeed truffade. My youngest daughter always goes home triumphantly with a large packet and uses it to remind her of ‘home’ and guards it zealously from her flatmates onslaughts and pleadings. I understand that barter is alive and well and living in Liverpool! Speaking of the demise of cash ….. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2016
      • It used to be in my suitcase too…but I don’t visit France any more…

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2016
      • I’d send you some but I tried that to my daughter in Malaysia and they impounded it and a pair of old shoes she’d left by mistake!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2016
      • Iberia mislaid one of my suitcases….the one bearing cheese. It turned up a day later having spent its holiday in sunny Madrid and the man who delivered it enquired if I was sure that something hadn’t died in it…
        Surely Customs would have spotted that, I said.
        You don’t think they’re going to open anything smelling like that do you, he replied…

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2016
      • Classic! 😀

        Like

        March 8, 2016
  5. Cows are my favorite animals 🙂 having grown up on 300 acres of farm land, I find them quite peaceful creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • Oh how wonderful to grow up on a 300 acre farm! I’m glad you are a fellow cow lover 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 9, 2016
  6. It’s a very lovely picture and the cows look noble in their landscape. It’s always wonderful to see creatures which are living a good life – no place for intensive farming, in my books

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • None at all Posh! One of the things that draws me to my place is the lack of factory farming. Though I have to avoid pork except from my man on the market because it is generally bought in from other areas where they are foul to piggies.

      Like

      March 7, 2016
  7. Beautiful landscape! It makes me so happy to see cows allowed to be cows, grazing on grass in wide open spaces. And these cows seem to be enjoying some prime real estate! 🐄

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • They say there are 3 cows to every person in Cantal and I would say that is not an exaggeration. It is a totally rural area with a total population for the whole department of 148,000. To give an idea of the size of Cantal it is roughly twice the size of Rhode Island which has a population of 1.05 million. These cows are VERY lucky. I wish all other cows could be so fortunate 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
  8. I like your comment about contentment. I have decided that going to be what I work toward now.
    Paring back to what we really need isn’t easy but we are working on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • When I was expecting each of my daughters I wished them not beauty, brains or riches but contentment – it is elusive in the world we live in. Narrowing down what you really need is not easy but when you find the formula for balance in the next stage (your full French life) you will be so content, I guarantee 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
      • Funnily enough I once led a pared back life many moons ago when such things were perfectly possible. Life happened, and I let it go… We live and we learn

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • Zen and the art of something or another, I imagine. Happy paring 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
  9. I’m not optimistic “we” can save anything. We don’t even have enough sense to help all in our own country before sending billions to other countries to save theirs. I am going to do what I can for my family, myself, and Vinny. If there’s anything left, I will help others but not before. And, I’m sorry to say, I’m not sure I care what happens to the planet after I’m gone. I have no children to worry about. Call me selfish, but there it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • I understand what you are saying. there is a native american (Cree) saying – we do not inherit the earth, it is borrowed from our children which strikes a chord with me. I believe, as I have said before that the essential is to take care of oneself and then those that are dependent on us. One of the lessons I have drummed into my own children is the difference between ‘I need’ and ‘I want’ …. most think they need far more than they actually do. I also believe that when we (by which I mean the so called developed Western world) stop assuming we know best and leave others to sort their own issues whether or not we understand their methods we will get on so much better. The planet is precious – I am not an exemplar or ecological brilliance – I fly across the Atlantic for a start and I drive a car. But I can do my little bit, selfishly, to help preserve what we have. After I am gone, I am gone and it is down to my children and theirs and theirs and theirs ad infinitum to sort things for themselves. My work here will be done and I believe that work is to want for little, need what I really need and not affect others negatively. You, my friend do plenty to make me smile 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
      • Exactly! I believe it’s part of the hypocritic oath, “First do no harm” or along those lines. I am in the process as you know to reduce my personal impact on the environment. I do my best to not bother other people. I also refuse to be burdened by the mistakes of others. I have paid dearly for my own, and will continue to pay in the future, but when I’m gone I will have left as little impact as possible. I do this not for fame or for the future generations, but because it’s just the right thing to do.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • Damn right!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
  10. Cows with Harley horns?? What a fantastic image that conjurs. How is it that even the cows in France have innate style? What a lovely rumination (sorry, I love a good wordplay) on these gentle creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2016
    • Thank you Susanne – that is a lovely compliment which I have taken fully to heart and is perculating gently to generate a beaming smile!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
  11. I liked the Dr. Seuss reference and your photograph. I am a bit tired from work and at the library trying to use their computer while neighbors play Candy Crush and other silly games. Oops, hope you don’t love those addictive games.
    The cows look precious, not sure why but I just love their big eyes and swirly hair “cowlicks.” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • I cannot ABIDE those games! I am now sitting in the library of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and there are loud voices vying with one another to be the most important. I am quiet. I wish others would respect that quietude! Moan over. I’m 100% with you with that lovely description of the cow … I hope you feel rested and refreshed today and that it will be a day full of sunshine and smiles for you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
      • I am so very grateful you know what i was going through with the attention “sucking” games by my side on neighboring computers! **Those special wishes will carry me into my Wednesday (which weathermen are promising 60 degrees!) 🙂 big hugs sent your way. . .

        Liked by 1 person

        March 9, 2016
  12. I adore cows and love the look of your local vaches. They have a certain je ne sais quoi about them. Just leave the moles alone, when they have found all the grubs and worms in the area they will move on. Or get a mole catching cat. We had one and we were so sad at the little black velvet mole corpses.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • I wrote about the little men in velvet jackets hung on the fences of the Ridgeway near my mothers home once before. These are like moles on steroids – I will write a fuller article about them soon (probably when I am in France at the end of the month). They aren’t very pretty but the fact is that I am certain it is our human fault that they are out of control. Populations of creatures don’t generally just explode without the previous balance being tampered with and I’m fairly certain it was humans and not cows that did the tampering!!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
      • When I lived in Scotland most of the farmers just ignored them so I wonder if we still had enough predators such as foxes and feral cats to keep their numbers down?

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • Foxes are natural predators so that would be one answer ….

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
  13. Pan #

    Well, I’ve been out for awhile and was just starting to unwind on my 34hr reset.. Until I just had to look up mole rats.. So ugly they’re almost cute.. almost.. living up to 32 yrs.. Science says by size comparison, a human would live to see 600 yrs.. They are the longest living rodent.. They live in colonies like insects, having one queen per colony.. And she’s constantly pregnant.. The mole rat doesn’t feel pain from acid or chili peppers (scientists are a macabre bunch ).. And they don’t get cancer, even when the mad scientists give it to them.. They also don’t poison easily nor do they hear or see well.. Meaning that neither, poison bait or concussion bombs work well for extermination or dispersion.. But the mole rat probably holds keys to aging and cancer cures..
    I feel bad for the farmers as the colonies of mole rats can be very destructive.. Maybe a creative farmer there can discover a favorite food the mole rats my find so desirable that they’d relocate on thier own to have it..
    A pied piper that toots food instead of a flute.. Then that crop could be planted and replenished annually, far from the farmers crops and the cattle grazing pastures.. That’s my best most humane idea anyhow..
    The cows are so pretty with a majestic backdrop.. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • Thankyou for that fascinating research … I’ve done a bit in France but you have nailed so much more here. I think Two Brains should switch disciplines and set up a lab in Cantal using wild rats for research! Overall I love this idea of a Food Piper of Hamlin and will be working on getting the French to listen to this wisdom …. they have so many delicacies in France there must be one – perhaps mole-rats drunk on red wine or pastis or cognac would work?

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
      • Pan #

        Drunken mole rats popping up in all the French wineries gnawing through the barrels to quench their addicted thirst 😨

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • 😀

        Like

        March 8, 2016
      • Pan #

        Maybe feeding them combined with humane trapping to be used for humane research.. I don’t have much faith that humane will be fully imput into the equation though..

        Like

        March 8, 2016
  14. So glad to see a post from you dear Fiona! Love the picture so amazing, the colors are gorgeous! The cows look so majestic with that back drop! Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • Thank you Lynn! I’m so glad you enjoyed the picture and the post …. I’ve been a bit quiet the last two weeks but I am back in the saddle and reaching for my phone tomorrow 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
  15. Pan #

    Hey l looked up mole rats favorite food and every result said sweet potatoes.. that might be worth a try.. a few acres donated for sweet potatoes.. in the long run it might come back as a nightmare solution though considering the mole rat’s longevity and reproduction rate..

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • They are a nightmare – I’m going to write some more when I am in France the end of the month (back here mid-April to stem any rising panic in the population of the US!!) Sweet potatoes? Very interesting – they are called Patates Doux in France and I’m not sure they grow them but Two Brains and I (who love them – does this make us M-Rs?) have discussed the fact that we intend to grow them. Thank you to my mobile science advisor, Pan!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
      • Pan #

        Mobile science advisor 😂
        But the temporary solution may end up a longrun nightmare.. The mole rat reproduce at an alarming rate and live 30 years.. They might move to the sweet potato patch but where will their kids, grandkids and great great great grandkids eat ? They might overrun all of Europe with a feeding solution 😨

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • Knowing the French they couldn’t give a stuff about the rest of Europe (do NOT repeat that) …. but you are right – it is a very real and very alarming problem 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
  16. Wow…That scene would make a lovely painting. I think cows everywhere would be honored by your tribute to them…Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • Thank you – I was quite pleased with it and your endorsement has my head swollen several sizes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
  17. Vive les vaches , Ole!!!! I love the bovine family, all colors and all breeds….I stopped eating them along time ago…well I do have an occasional hamburger a few times a year…but that’s it…LOL lovely picture, I hadn’t noticed the rat holes….oh my….I know that all animals deserve a change…but really…must they reproduce by the hundreds…sad to say, they have to go…feel better…xxkat.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • Thank you Kat! I don’t eat much cow but I do eat lots of their dairy products and savour every mouthful. So long as the meat is produced with good husbandry I will eat it occasionally. Those rat moles are a menace but I fear the French have caused their own problem – more on that when I write a bit more about them from France at the end of the month. In the end I am certain they will have to be dealt with but I think they are scratching their heads about just how to go about it …. xx

      Like

      March 8, 2016
      • Are you going back for the long haul or just a visit..???It hasn’t been a year already had it???

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • Just for a visit – a week in France (to check on progress of the house apart from anything else) and then two weeks with my mum (to check on her and the three of my daughters who live in England) – then back to sprinkling fairy dust on this house. My end date on the current visa is mid-October 🙂

        Like

        March 8, 2016
      • that will be fun…I was hoping a year hadn’t passes already…..I was going to mention…why don’t you get remarried in the good ole USA and then you would be a different status with INS…might make it easier….just a thought….kat

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2016
      • Now THAT is a good thought. I will discuss with The Brains at an opportune moment (i.e when he is not irritable from all the nonces he works with!)

        Like

        March 8, 2016
      • I think you should propose….LOL

        Liked by 1 person

        March 9, 2016
      • Damn – I missed Feb 29th!!!

        Like

        March 9, 2016
  18. Interesting thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
  19. So much to think about in one very lovely photo.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 8, 2016
    • Thank you Claudette …. it was such a beautiful spot where everything just sort of came together!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
  20. lindywhitton #

    Love the countryside here- I always enjoy the French farming land and the bucolic cows. Interesting bovine factoids as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
    • Bucolic! You found the word I was struggling and failing to lasso yesterday! France has so much variety – I just finished ‘Travels with Tinkerbelle’ by Susie Kelly where she and her husband travel the perimetre of the country and it really brings home the mass of different landscapes and just how much of it is sparsely populated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2016
  21. Experienced Charolais for the first time at Chateau de Bagnols. OMG
    Thats all I have to say about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2016
  22. OK…”now sitting in the library of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard”…you can’t just leave that out there. “More I prithee more”…Oh, and Vive les Vaches 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    March 9, 2016
  23. Being a Dr. Suess fan, your title got me here…What a peaceful picture!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 9, 2016
    • I’m a fan too as you may gather …. The picture was a piece of cake – it’s a really lovely place 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 9, 2016
  24. I love cows! They have such gentle dark and luminous eyes, In another life I used to farm and crossed my Aberdeen Angus with the Limousin much kinder than a Charolais when it came to calving down. I did have Charolais sheep though and a few times tried to make cheese from their lovely creamy milk. It smelled like the insides of a pair of old trainers but it tasted fab. Lovely piccy.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 10, 2016
    • Oh wow! I’m really interested in this …. I would have farmed if my life had gone to original plan. I will try not to bombard you with questions but I am very impressed. On sheep – part of our plan involves a couple of brebis and cheese making. To live is to dream after all 🙂

      Like

      March 10, 2016
      • Bombard away, if I can help I will. Love cheese from brebis and makes super soft easy-peasy cheese. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 14, 2016
      • Haha – you will be under the spotlight later in the year 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 14, 2016
  25. I love Salers cattle but – how interesting – I had no idea that they were originally black. Aubracs are very pretty, too, with Walt Disney eyes and improbable eyelashes. We went to the transhumance in the Aubrac 5 years ago at the end of May. Freezing cold it was, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 29, 2016
    • I absolutely ADORE Aubrac. Your description captures them to a tee. A transhumance is on my list of must-do’s before I get much older 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 30, 2016

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