En route to New York City this fall, I swung by my folks house in Ellington, Connecticut for my fill of cretons, pork pie and booze. Ellington is the town I grew up in filled with rolling hills, cornfields, cows and a sparse handful of residents. I didn't really appreciate the rural landscape when I called Ellington home, but when I go back these days, with camera in hand, it's a photographer's delight. The road my parents live on crosses a couple towns in a very short span - and about a mile from their house sits the town line for Somers, Ct. This is also a town where livestock seems to outnumber resident humans - and the farm (Scantic Valley Farm) nestled in the valley below my parents house is a pure delight. Cornfield mazes, barns, strawberry fields, pumpkin patches, chickens, pigs, cats, dogs and - my favorite eye candy - the majestic Belted Galloway.

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The Belted Galloway originated (almost obviously) in Galloway, Scotland some time ago and is a massively hairy beast averaging 1,800 pounds in weight. The big standout for this breed is the white stripe encircling their midriff - as well as their mammothish wooly exterior. It is a "watched breed" as there are fewer than 10,000 left on the planet (this is where my knowledge of them stops - so feel free to Google them at will) - this farm raises them for their marbled beef as well as show pieces on the farm. I learned when getting up close and personal that they like to get dirty...nay...filthy.

That morning, the farmer cleared out his pumpkin patch and stacked the gourds in the field about (bovine) waist deep. The "oreo cows" (as they are nicknamed in New England) made a beeline to the massive pile to stomp and eat in a pure act of beautiful gluttony. If these guys could purr, they sure would have this morning.

Curiosity got to a couple of the big males, wondering what I was doing by their electrified enclosure. As you can see, some came pretty damned close to get a good look, being sure they had a good huff and pee in front of me to (I guess) tell me, 'eff off.'  There was a fair share of calves in the field, and some young heiferettes prancing about, so I am sure these bulls had to strut their stuff in front of the lady-folk and kids.

Obviously, I respected their space and did not cross the barrier.

Photos taken with Leica M3, Carl Zeiss C Sonnar 1.5/50, Kodak Portra 400 with all development by Richard Photo Lab.

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