Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall 2012

Ginny with Silver Thistles and Ben.
Ginny and I, and a little Fall fog.
Since snow already has dusted the higher mountains, there is fog in the mornings and the shadows are growing longer... it is fall now! Ginny, my husband Ben and I have been hiking. We spent a lot of time off trail (which means no cows and lots of fences to climb) and saw lots of Silver Thistle flowers in the meadows. These will adorn the headdresses of the lead cows when  the cow herds come down from the higher Alpine meadows. Lead cows only wear headdresses when there were no injuries in a herd, and yesterday of four herds that came down near Oberstdorf, three were unadorned because of a poisoning, a broken leg and a calf that had fallen off the mountain. Each cow wears a bell when they are brought down, and there lederhosen and dirndls (not on the cows) and of course later a big tent with beer and traditional music at the "Cow Down Party" and so it is really called, I kid you not. Only the bells and flowers are for the cows, the rest is for everyone else.... and a good time is generally had by all (even the cows)!

Lead cow with headdress.
This tradition is one of reasons I love living here! I am proud to buy milk and cheese from my neighbors who treat their animals with respect. The farmers feel that a young cow who spends the first years of its life on the meadows has a the healthiest possible start in its dairy life. The dairy producing cows are sent out on the adjacent meadows to the farm (so the walk isn't too long to the barn) everyday and this is a great reason to buy local!

In honor of this way of life (and it is hard work!!) I designed a sweater and vest. The colors remind me of the Autumn mists and the design on the vest incorporates the silver thistle flowers on the headdresses of the cows.

 My lovely daughter is modeling both. This sweater is being test knit and eventually I will offer both patterns for sale.