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Cows as eye candy? Sure!

NEW HAVEN - Where can you support local farms, local artists and enjoy local wine and cheese? Rural Vermont's second annual "Art for Agrarians" auction reception at the Lincoln Peak Winery.

The bidding kicked off on-line July 26 and ends with the closing reception at the winery Sunday, Aug. 8.

Twenty-one art pieces donated by Vermont artists and depicting Rural Vermont's vision for Food with Dignity will be posted to the Web site www.ruralvermont.org for quick browsing as you bid or you can visit the winery.

Janis Moore is one artist in the center of attention during the event. Not just any cows - traditional red and white Simmentals.

"Simmentals are really nice to look at - they're real eye candy," she said. "And, I think I imprinted on them. I really am attracted to the dark red with the double-goggled eyes. Their red color keeps them out grazing longer - they don't get as many flies or parasites as the black cows do."

After first working with Simmentals on a cattle ranch in Florida - the largest ranching state east of the Mississippi - and raising several award-winning cows, Janis moved to Vermont with her own small herd and started selling seed stock and the animals themselves at weaning. Currently, she has five cow-calf pairs that take up her free time when she isn't working with AgrAbility at the Vermont Center for Independent Living or rescuing animals as part of the Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team (DART).

Janis' personal motto is, "You find a need, you fill it," and she finds animals, especially, are in need of support.

"You have to give back to the community, and lots of people will take care of other people, but there's not that many that will take care of the animals," she says.

Like her work and her passion, Janis' photography has focused primarily on animals - especially her cows.

"Very rarely do I take pictures of people - it's all about cattle and wildlife and all kinds of weird things and disasters," she said. "I blew up my hard drive last year, I have so many photos of my cows."

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