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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Vache Canadienne

Vache Canadiennes - and Soldats du Roy et Habitants en Canada
Photo used by permission, courtesy
Soldats du Roy et Habitants en Canada/
Societe d'Histoire IN MEMORIAM


Can you imagine towing a cow aboard ship in Normandy as you set sail for Nouvelle France, and then once you arrive, traveling on into the interior of the country, either up the Mississippi to Pays Illinois or overland via river and lake from the St. Lawrence? This is exactly what our ancestors did over several generations. When Marie-Rouensa died in 1725 in the village of Kaskaskia in the Pays Illinois her inventory revealed that she had 6 beefs, four cows and two heifers. Maps from Cahokia, also Pays Illinois, show house lots with gardens and stables and barns surrounded by strong pickets. Each household was mostly self-sufficient with its own cow(s), pigs, chickens, doves, orchards and potagers, in addition to the grains and hay grown in the longlots.

These sturdy cows from Normandy developed into the vache Canadienne, a breed known for its quantity of milk in relation to its size and browsing-grazing conditions. Thankfully vache Canadienne is again making a comeback due to its docility and lean meat.

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