A nice thing about living in the so called Third World country of Georgia: cows, here and there.

Cow walking on trail among woods

This may be one family’s only cow, and it will provide them with milk for cheese, matsoni (basically yoghurt) and butter. The family I stayed with for three months of Peace Corps training had a cow. The only time anyone actually consumed the milk directly was me, in my morning oatmeal. The rest was purposed otherwise. We got most of the protein for our diet from the cheese, and since most of the fat had been skimmed off for butter, there was no cholesterol problem.

It’s brilliant, when you think about it. Every day after morning milking you take your cow to a pasture belonging to no one in particular, where others take theirs, too, then return it to your small barn at home for evening milking and a night’s sleep. Repeat. This cow seems to wander on its own and can graze along the way.

The practice delivers a lot of protein and a lot of nutrition, and it’s all virtually free—or at least very cheap, if you factor in minor expenses for animal care. Keep a few chickens as well, and you’ve got yet more nutrition, plus a little variety.

It’s not a bad way to live, and since incomes are tiny, it’s a smart way, too. And you’re pretty well fed by the end of the day, no taxes being exchanged in the bargain.

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