Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A cattle-themed late October walk near Massignac

There was a lot of information provided on signboards along this walk, so I considered splitting it into two blogs for 2 reasons.  Firstly, because a single blog might be too long and secondly, our slow internet connection can't cope with too many photos!  However, I decided that it would spoil the story, so here it is, all in one post. Hopefully it will be of special interest to my French readers, as the signs are understandably French!  I am going to ask Nigel to do a little translation here so my English followers can get the gist of the story.

We started walking from Massignac,  which I have written about Here , Here and Here.  On a lovely sunny and calm day, we arrived at a southern point of the artificial lake named Lac de Mas-Chaban.

Footbridge sited to assist ramblers on  walks around the lake

Where you are welcomed to the start of the "Path of the Cow's Meadow" following the story of la Vache (the cow), in particular, the Limousine breed. The signs are designed as a source of learning, particularly, for the many parties of children who are brought here on school trips.

Sign 1 reads "Good day, I am the beautiful Limousine. Not those which come out of car factories!" and more description extolling the virtues of the breed! The yellow line on the little map marks the pathway of 3,5 km around this part of the lake.

" In times past, my ancestors returned to numerous heavy tasks around the farm" The breed was praised as light, docile, speedy and powerful and over time was selectively bred from the best examples, as cross-breeding was found to be unsuccessful.

"In 1770, there was a meat shortage in Paris and the authorities asked the local offices if they could count on the Limousines to provision the capital after Easter" 

"Bocage means countryside where the fields and meadows are surrounded by trees and hedges." This arrangement provided an essential component in the raising of these cattle.

The gravel pathway winds its way around the perimeter of the lake.

A board about the setting down of genealogical principles for breeding Limousine cattle in the "Herd Book", written in the penultimate decade of the 19th century.

The younger cattle are fed on mother's milk and grass, then slaughtered for veal at around 8-10 months.

Others are weaned and fattened with cereals and sold at around 10-15 months. The meat is young but already mature and tasty.

The male cattle (Limousin - with no "e") are fattened and slaughtered at about 18 months to provide very high quality meat, renowned in the butchery industry.

A board about regulation of the industry and establishment of benchmark labelling for high quality meat production.

We stopped to watch a grey heron fly overhead.

A little game for the childrens' entertainment on the lines of the Rubik cube, where they must correctly match the fore and hind parts of four different breeds of cow farmed locally, with their middles.

The cow as a subject in various forms of human endeavour, literature, poetry, strip cartoons, cinema, song and advertising being listed here.

Small plaques showing Apis, an Egyptian god with a cow's head, cows featured in 17,000 year old Dordogne rock paintings and lastly a Greek scene with a mature Limousin bull.

Nearly back to where we started!

Returning to Massignac and features (above and below) outside a local shop.



Many small villages have such helpful map boards to inform walkers and ramblers of suggested routes, of varying lengths, in the area.


My daily diary can be seen HERE

See also My Life Before Charente (updated 30 October 2014) 
Sorry about the long delay in posts on the above but I will endeavour to keep it up to date more often!

50 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful! I love cows, and as you most likely know, I am fluent in French so no need for translation here. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Hi Linda, I am delighted that you can read the signs and I hope many more will be able to as well. This is the reason I did not want to leave any out. It is a delight to share this sort of thing with people who can appreciate it all. Keep well Diane

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  2. What a charming and very informative thanks to the beautiful Limousine and her helpful signs. Looks like you had really lovely weather too.
    Sam

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    1. Sam we were lucky, the day was perfect for walking,sunny but not too hot, Something quite different to the normal walk. Hope you are well. Diane

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  3. Although we enjoy our beef, I must admit I feel a little sad to see the cattle having such a short life for our benefit. Then again, I'm not much of a salad person. The other cattle products such as dairy sit well with me, especially cheeses. Enjoyed walking with you.

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    1. Leon I love salad, but Nigel is not really a salad person either. When I make salads for him I use spinach, chard, rocket and lots of bits and pieces in it then he is OK :-) We also love cheese but we try to limit our quantity!!! Hope you are both having a great time.Cheers D & N

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    1. Thanks Jaz for the visit, it was a great walk and perfect weather for us :-) Take care Diane

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  5. I really enjoyed looking at your pictures of Paris – you caught some great architecture and doors. I also was pleased to read all this good information, in French, on the Limousin cattle. You go on very nice walks for sure.

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    1. Thanks Vagabonde glad you enjoyed the Paris photos. I knew my French speaking followers would enjoy reading these signs which is why I did not want to leave any of them out :-) Hope you are both well. Diane

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  6. I like the educational sign boards along this beautiful walk. Even if I don't read French. Am I to assume you eat very tender beef? Along with a good salad. These outings are fun to go on with you.

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    1. Gaelyn we actually do not eat very much red meat but I do enjoy a good steak from time to time. I still think though that S.African beef is/was the best, they hang it well and it is delicious. Glad you enjoyed the virtual outing. Keep well Diane

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  7. Hi Diane - what a delightful afternoon walk ... it looks amazing and fascinating to see and read the boards - I'm glad we're protecting our local species - long may it last ... as long as everything isn't homogenized ... We seem to be getting more informative boards around ... I noticed that in South Africa before I left nearly 25 years ago ... and now here - we have them up on the Downs around Beachy Head, and around a reservoir with hay meadows and natural plantings ...

    Thoroughly enjoyed this - great shots too .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary I could not agree more it is great to have these boards around with so much information on them. I love them and it must be so good for the children. Glad that you enjoyed this post. Keep well Diane

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  8. What a fantastic walk. Beautiful countryside and interesting info along the way. I like walking but i always like it if there is something to guide you along and structure the walk. Really interesting reading all about the Limousine breed. Take care. X

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    1. Thanks Maggie for the comment. It is so much more fun to follow a route that gives you information along the way I agree. Also good for our French !! Hope all is well have a good day. Diane

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  9. The Limousin are an excellent breed. I enjoyed the visit. :)
    Glad to see agri-tourism alive and well there.

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    1. Thanks Bill, I thought this was a brilliant walk with the signs. Yes agri-tourisms is alive here, long may it last. Have a good day Diane

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  10. The effort put into those signs is well worth it...educational without being dull...and really enhances the walk.

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    1. Thanks fly,I think they have done an excellent job and it does make a walk around the lake much more interesting :-) Keep well both of you Diane

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  11. Hello Dine,
    how interesting to see more and more people caring for old cattle breeds.
    Limousine is certainly one of the most famous in France and its meat has a very high reputation.
    hanks for taking us through the "elevage"!
    t is not that cold here and the weather seems more shiny than where you are!
    Hope it get better soon for you!
    Keep well!

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    1. Hi Noushka, glad it is not too cold for you yet, it means you an get out and take photos still. Here today it was extremely windy! Thanks for the comment and have a good evening Diane

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  12. Il est toujours très agréable de te suivre dans tes ballades. Une belle découverte.
    A bientôt

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    1. Merci Nadji. Cette marche était bon, je suis heureux que vous avez apprécié. Bonne journée. Diane

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  13. That is an enchanting walk, and the educational boards are splendid! I tried to trot out my high school French and puzzle them out before reading Nigel's explanations, but much of it was beyond my poor skills. It's always nice to see the new things you explore!

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    1. Marjie I did not learn French at school sadly which has made learning now difficult for me!!! I think these educational boards are so interesting though for both adults and children. Have a good weekend. Diane

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  14. What a great read and so interesting. Love walks like this where you learn as you go. Enjoy your weekend x

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    1. Kerry it does make the walk so much more interesting I have to say. Good to practise your French as well:-) You have a good weekend as well. Keep well Diane xx

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  15. What an informative post and great signs. I love cows since I grew up on a farm with them years ago, and we were just talking about them today. Have a great rest of the weekend!

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    1. Hi Pam, great to hear from you. It was a fun walk made so much more interesting by the signs along the way. I hope that you are both well, take care and have a good week. Diane

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  16. fun walk love learning from signs like this

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    1. Thanks Rebecca, it certainly makes walking a lot more fun. Hoe you have a good week Diane

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  17. Diane I love this post!
    How beautiful and lovely place! and I love cows:)
    xo

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    1. Thanks Gloria, it seems cows are quite popular :-) Have a great week Diane

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  18. Very nice post. Reminds me of visits to my grandparents farm in the Tarn. Their income came primarily from the milk of their sheep which was sold to one of the fromageries in Roquefort. But they also had about 15 cows which they milked and also used to do labor like pulling hay wagons as pictured on one of the signs.

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    1. Michel glad that it brought back memories of your grandparents, It is a fun walk and adds some interest along the way. Have a good day. Diane

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  19. Πολύ ενδιαφέρον ο περίπατος σας αγαπητή μου Diane!!!
    Ότι έχει σχέση με την φύση, το λατρεύω!
    Γι αυτό σήμερα μου έδωσες μεγάλη χαρά!
    Να είστε καλά!
    Πολλά φιλιά

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the virtual nature walk Magda, take care and good wishes. Diane

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  20. Interesting map boards informatie about Charente, nice place for walkgreeting from Belgium

    http://louisette.eklablog.com/

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    1. Retriever it does make a walk so much more interesting have signs along the way with information. All the best Diane

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  21. what fun, a whole long walk dedicated to la vache.

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    1. It was a fun walk Friko and we had a couple of young lads with us who read every word, very educational. Havea good day Diane

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  22. It looks like a very attractive place, Diane. It's great to see that there's so much good information along the way. I particularly like the penultimate image - I had a good chuckle over it!

    Best wishes from England - - Richard

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    1. Ha ha Richard that image is very amusing, I also like it. It is a good walk, fun and educational. I was disappointed that the only birds around were too distant to photograph. Best wishes to you also Diane

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  23. This would be great to go to with kids, very educational!

    It is Thanksgiving here in the US so I want to thank you for your friendship and for always visiting my blog.

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    1. I am sure your kids would appreciate the walk and the information all be it in French, we could translate. Happy holidays. Diane

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  24. It is amazing to think what short lives they lead! I guess I had forgotten that. They would be tough and unpleasant were they allowed to mature, I guess. A fun tour with lots of information as always!!

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    1. Deana my parents used to have a few jersey cows when we lived in Rhodesia, they used to sell the cream. When ever a bull calf was born my Mum would not go near it as she knew its fate. It seems very sad. The milk used to go in the turkey feed, she bred the best turkey's in the area. Sadly they also had the same fate for Christmas! Happy Thanksgiving. Diane

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  25. Hi Diane,
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog!
    I hoppe all is well for you, I see you haven't posted anything in a couple of weeks!
    Hope your weather is better than ours!!
    Best wishes and enjoy your weekend :)

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    1. Hi Noushka, I am posting daily on the diary so it is not always easy to find the time to keep the other two blogs up to date!! We have had a huge amount of rain but other than that it has not been too bad. The cold arrives next week! You have a good weekend also. Diane

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