Friday, June 24, 2005

Swiss Cows Summer Home

Our cows were underprivileged. They never went anywhere. Like the people of the Midwest United States they stayed put and worked. Our black and whites, Holsteins, provided us with plenty of fresh milk. Mom made butter from the cream. Over-whipped cream made "accidental" butter.

Brown Swiss cows summer in the Alps. With a twinkle in his eye, Papa said their legs were shorter on one side from walking the side of the mountain. Our B&B in Wattens (Vattens), Austria had an empty barn. Kati, our hostess, invited us to the "summer home" for their cows near the top of the Alps. Her husband had driven their dozen cows up the ten miles in May, would stay with them all summer, and drive them down in September wearing wreaths of wild flowers and maybe a small Christmas tree on the top of their head. The community will be so glad to have all the cows and keepers home they'll have a celebration.

So few miles up the mountain took thirty minutes. Where the road ran out we parked, gathered the groceries and walked a path through tall, dense, dark woods for ten minutes. The air was clear, clean, thin and quiet except for the rustle of our bags. In the clearing a rooster announced our arrival. Contented Brown Swiss cows chewed their cud lounging in a 1700's barn. The chalet from the same period had been replaced with a new knotty pine Alpine structure.

Ernst was thrilled to see Kati. Summer is lonesome. There are no near neighbors, and it's just mid-June. While our hostess made her promised cottage cheese pastry we visited with her husband, as best we could. German is their language. He showed us their gently sloping pasture and grazing land. We couldn't fall off or roll down here. Going to the mountain top and looking over didn't interest us. It's too high and steep. We'd need a guide, ropes, etc., but maybe some other time we'll do that.

The scent of fresh-brewed coffee and warm pastry drew us to their table. The dough was soft, the filling grandmotherly, soothing and delicious. We could see mountain tops for about 100 miles and Innsbruck in the Valley. If our flat-land cows were here, would they feel privileged or scared?

copyright 2005 Red Convertible Travel Series

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