It was a busy and strikingly normal weekend at the markets last weekend. I saw people whom I have not seen for some years mainly for covid related reasons. They are getting used to coming out every week or so to have a cup of coffee and a chat with friends and then do a little bit of shopping for the week. The panic buying to avoid going out too much seems to have gone and there is more of a familiar rhythm to the mornings. It has been a challenge remembering peoples faces and also learning the new faces of people I have only ever met masked. Identification by mask covering has become second nature during the last 2 years and I have forgotten what some people look like. So if I look slightly confused next time I see you at the market then that is probably the reason why.
During my absence from blogging and social media in general we have been very busy lambing amongst all the general running of a farm and butchery. Patrick took up most of the work that Gavin had been unable to do whilst recovering from his knee ligament replacement. Happily we have had assistance from Emily and her partner and Alice to ensure all the wheels did not fall off in the last 2 months. It has been long, with a great deal of clothes washing and drying. and mountains of food has been cooked and consumed to keep the gang going.
I think Patrick has been happy with lambing. We have had many more twins than usual which we have put down to the health of the flock being so much better with the new system of once or twice a day moving to fresh grass. The fields that we graze are starting to show signs of improvement, more varieties of plant in the sward and Patrick has noticed a considerable increase in beetle life this year. The humble beetle is an important first processor of manure in the field, moving the manure around and breaking it down after the sheep have pooped, improving organic matter content in the soil and the soil structure, thus reducing affects of erosion by water and wind. In the photo to the left you can see the patchwork effect in the sward of daily moves in the background. In the foreground there are some twins following the ewe around the field happily grazing the fresh grass.
Other things we have done recently in efforts to reduce our own footprint on the planets resources is that solar panels are installed on our barn. They were turned on last September to attempt to produce enough electricity for our own use, which is substantial with 2 electric cars and a butchery not to mention the house, the lamb pens and the workshop. The predicted amount of panels we would need was 48 with a production capacity of 375 watts per panel. We are 1/6 under production for the house side and 40 percent under production for the butchery side coming out of winter. I envisage we will need more in the future to cover the yearly consumption, unless it catches up dramatically over the summer.
More projects coming in the year ahead including back to saucisson making.
See you all soon
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I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area