The cows don't let you get close enough to pet them, but a patient visitor (human--not canine) can get to within a few yards. So it may be chilly out, but it's still a good time to visit.
Cows serve an important purpose in the ecosystem of our farm. They eat the grass and return those nutrients right back to the soil where it came from. Much of this property is far too hilly to plant vegetables. The vegetables we grow are annual plants that don't compete well with weeds. We have to till the soil bare in order to get the vegetables established, and on these hillsides, rain would carry our precious soil into our streams, turning it from an asset into pollution. We're constantly experimenting with growing organic vegetables with reduced tillage, but none of those techniques work well enough yet to allow us to plant on a steep slope. Cows allow us to create a marketable product from these nutrient-poor slopes, while holding our soil in place. That perennial grass they're eating is also constantly adding carbon into the soil, pulling it out of the atmosphere. Thank you, cows!