There is something very relaxing about watching cows chew their cud. The world stops as you hear them chomping on the grass and then taking their time chewing it before ambling on a bit further to chomp on even more tempting greener patches.
It is amazing how much time can pass as a farmer leans on a fence and let’s his eyes rove around a paddock checking out the health and well being of his herd. All that can be heard is contented munching and moving and background noises of birds and far off machinery or calves bellowing.
Bovine eyes are the softest, gentlest eyes imaginable and they seem almost liquid. I am used to Jersey cows since they are what I was brought up with although the Byron family nearby had Friesians. Dad wanted the higher butter fat in the milk from the Jerseys whereas the bigger Friesians provided volume. So it was a bit of a nostalgia trip when I went up the Styx River Farm recently to visit Phil and Liz Beattie to talk dairy industry issues. Their property is incredibly picturesque with lovely green pastures and black and white cows, (together with the compulsory kelpie) against the backdrop of Mt Field. Although it is incredibly hard work for uncertain returns, there is a lot to be said for being so close to the land. What would be even better would be for people who buy milk or dairy prods to be given a clear idea of how much of the retail price they pay actually gets to the farmer. I would like to see milk cartons brought out in stripes so that town people know what the farmer gets, what the processors get, and what the retailers get (ie Coles and Woollies) it would only be when consumers and farmers get together to demand a fair go for both that we will see a bit more fairness in the system. Ps I have a small scale painted cow, a Picasso cow, on my mantelpiece.