Not much happens here in September here in the French Alps, so this weeks’ two big events were some cows walking down through St Jean de Sixt and some cows walking up through town. While I watched them amble past, I noticed a few things. Based on this picture:
First up, see that cow in the bottom right corner? She’s the one heading for the hedge. She then got her horns into the hedge (I think she was rubbing her face in it) and one of the cow minders had to threaten her with a stick to move her on.
Secondly, check out the udder on the one at the back there. Can you imagine walking with that between your legs? I hope they didn’t have to go far.
Thirdly, the detail on the belts of those big bells around their necks is perhaps a little difficult to see, but they were gorgeous. A few had a red Croix de Savoie stitched in, and one had a bright red love heart, although I’m not sure the cows love walking up and down roads.
Most impressive is the sound. Unless you’ve witnessed cows wandering past you when the bells are on, you simply cannot imagine the loudness of those bells.
Finally, I’ve no idea why the cows were going up the hill instead of down. At this time of year, the French farmers collect their cows from the high pastures which are now getting cold and producing less grass, and move them closer to their winter farms, lower down where it’s warm. In around a month or so, the cows will then go back into the farm sheds for winter, where they’re stuck until springtime. Thankfully, the farmers remove the bells.