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.
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!