I haven't been out in nature for a few weeks but I have been up to other things. I've been playing with my smoker and yesterday I tried making cheese. I failed miserably because the curd never got a clean break. Perhaps it was the milk variety and pasteurization length. The milk was curdling to some extent so I'm sure next time the coagulation agent needs to be doubled.
After being inside most of the day yesterday I had to get out. As always part of the problem is deciding where to go. I have a hard time thinking of places to go that I don't already know. There are plenty of unknown roads to explore but those are just a shot in the dark as to where they go. Today I made my way under the mountains into the neighboring county. The late spring air was warm and breezy. The white flower trees (direct translation) smelled wonderful. There is a very old one of these trees by school and I asked if the students and teacher if they liked the smell. They were perplexed because they never seemed to notice it had a fragrance. I thought I might have mistaken the tree for something else nearby. I wasn't wrong however. While driving the floral smells sweep into the car and make me smile.
I took some round about roads and ended up passing through a tea farming area. I love the rows of tea bushes. They look beautiful and the aesthetic is very appealing. There is something about that aspect that always draws me over to the Yodo. The road continued up into the hills and I was following some vague signs along the way.
Little did I know that the road was going up to an old cow pasture at the top of the mountain. Cow pastures at high elevations appear to be a strange idea because a lot of land needs to be cleared. Second, the transportation of said cows or products is troublesome. But if you only have a few animals that might not really matter. Besides the impracticality of it all, it makes for a unique setting.
I crawled under the rusty barbed wire fence and went out to get a closer look at the Tosa red cattle. For some reason I kept my distance and eventually headed back to the other side of the fence. The cows were intrigued by such a random face and came over to investigate.
I like cows. Someday I want to raise some cows and goats for their milk. I need to see how what kind of production I can get from one or two cows per day. I'll keep that in mind for something to research.
A few minutes later I was startled by a truck rumbling up the narrow roads around the pastures. The man stopped right by where I was standing. I thought he was going to tell me to move my car or something. It turned out to be a friendly younger man who was just coming to check on the cattle and give them a snack of fresh tomatoes. It's a good thing I had left the pasture a few minutes earlier or I probably would have been yelled at
We talked for quite some time and he took me back into the pasture to pet the cows. He told me all of their names. One of the calves was named South Rock because of his stubborn persona. In years past there were more cows but as the locals have died off and gotten older, the herd has come to only be about 6. It's a very peaceful and relaxing place. Yet, like many such places in the country side they carry a bit of irremovable sadness and loneliness. After one more look at the mountain ridges beyond we bid farewell and I headed home. The drive back was equally pleasant. Just the warmth of the fresh air and smells were good enough to put my mind at ease. Summer will be here soon.