Dirndls & Aurochs

While the dirndls in this post are certainly authentic, I can't say the same for the aurochs. Calling these small Dexter cows aurochs would be like calling elephants woolly mammoths. Today's cattle are the descendants of the ancient aurochs, who were much bigger and stronger.

They went extinct in the 17th century.

I never felt much of an affinity for cows until last year, when three forces convened at once and changed my whole outlook on all things bovine. One was reading the Earth's Children series of books, which follows the life of Ayla, a woman living in Europe during the last Ice Age some 30,000 years ago. Aurochs were a major part of people's diet (and clothing and housing, etc) at that time and place, and I loved the descriptions of them. (I could write a thousand blogs about why you need to read those books. If you haven't yet, please pick up Clan of the Cave Bear at any thrift store and do so! And for those who already have read the books- the 6th and final in the series, The Land of Painted Caves, comes out on March 29th!!!).

The second was reading a short piece in National Geographic called Ox Redux about how scientists are selectively breeding modern cattle in order to recreate the Paleolothic aurochs as closely as is genetically possible. Coolest thing ever! You can read more at The TaurOs Project: Rebuilding The Aurochs.

The third thing was seeing photographs of Highland Cattle on the internet and totally falling in love with these beautiful, peaceful, shaggy creatures.

As for dirndls, well, I've always loved those. Though I've had many in my shop, I have been searching for a dirndl for myself for years now. But it is really hard to find the perfect fit. While they do come in all sizes, they tend to assume a very specific waist-to-bust ratio that is reminiscent of Barbie.

I solved that problem by buying myself one with an adjustable corset bodice off of Etsy last month. It was priced way too low (thank you random resale pricing) and I figured that if it didn't fit I could always put it in my own shop.

But it did! And the embroidery is insanely beautiful. And I feel as happy as I look in it. Although I wasn't all smiles standing there next to this cow. My mind and body were in a precarious state between terror and enchantment. Cows, even small ones, are freakin' big. And Graham was once chased by one, and that story has stuck with me.

Thus it was that, when not smiling for the camera, I was making this face.

Suuzi, on the other hand, was in heaven. She already raises chickens and goats, and dreams of having a small herd of cattle some day. I always say she is a Milk Maid at heart. I mean, can't you just tell from looking at her? That flowing golden hair, those rosy cheeks, that ample bosom. It's sort of sad the way our modern culture has turned the dirndl from a symbol of Milk Maid to that of Beer Wench.

But not really. Is it Oktoberfest yet?