April 24th, 2017
Well hello there everyone on this reprieve from nail biting politics day...
So, I was going to moan about small minded people on Facebook and "the pot calling the kettle black" attitudes that I read every day on the internet. And despite the fact that many of my neighbours have voted for the National Front in France, which makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, I should in fact be used to a degree of discomfort having lived outside my country of birth for nearly 25 years now, as an immigrant. So onward and upward we go hoping that seeing as no one is in fact interested in my vote, other than my local community and the European Parliament, for as long as I am allowed to remain a European I am going to bore you with something completely different....
Above is a photo of some of our sheep with a few hour old babies. They have just realised that Gavin is walking into the field which could mean some goodies in a bucket for them. We are up to somewhere in the region of number 90 sheep to have lambed and thus far it is going ok, I think. There is the usual gang rotating into and out of the kitchen, when they have been sufficiently revived, and there is the incessantly hungry bottle fed gang who either have no mummy A (miraculous birth), a mummy with too many babies, a mummy who doesn't care for them or no mummy B (sadly did not make it through labour) fortunately not so many of the latter.
Now anyone who reads regularly will remember me moaning about butterflies last time... Well, we went to have lunch with my stepmother the other day and as we sat in the garden surrounded by the flowers that my Dad had planted to landscape the pool area lavendar, rosemary etc easy to manage multiple flower stemed plants, guess what! I saw a swallowtail butterfly. Maybe Dad reads my blog and sent me a butterfly to say hello with. Honestly I thought twice about sharing this, but I decidd that would be dishonest and we need some positive energy....however do not be complacent about the things that are really important.
Usually I avoid the subject of diets and life choices with regard to what one eats due to the nature of our business and not really wanting to offend anyone, but I have to say I was incensed by a video that Emily watched on Facebook (as was she) about a man who went into a school to give a talk on veganism to a group of teenagers, so I am sharing my rant with you. He used words like murder, killing, death, rape. He had the worst images of animal care that I think you can find anywhere in the world to emphasize his points. He also said we, humans, were more closely related to herbivores than omnivores.(?) He then proceeded to justify this argument by saying humans are herbivores and then compared that analogy with carnivores (?) to illustrate his point about digestion which was quite frankly a load of old b******t, as his knowledge of anatomy and classification in the animal kingdom was deplorable. He admittted that he had no idea what a live animal smells like and his information on artificial insemintion was completely unfounded not to mention egg and milk production. In fact his knowledge of farming, balanced nutrition and biology was the worst I have come accross and this man was let loose in a educational environment!!**
He went on to say that anything other veganism was destroying the planet,.... no information on the destruction of the planet caused by quinoa and palm oil demand.. hmm, here is a widely read fellow??? Well all I could wonder was whether these impressionable children had been given a balanced view of diets of all kinds, I suspect not. So this is what they are providing for English childrens education, thank goodness I live in France and my children have been educated in France. And, do I feel sorry for all those parents who then had to feed those kids when they got home that night. Well I could go on and on but then you really would fall asleep. So I will stop and say that all the people I know who have lived a long and healthy life have had a completely balanced diet including all food groups, not eaten or drunk to excess and generally have maintained a steady body weight (not been overweight) and have moved a lot. I don't necessarily mean hardcore excercise I just mean been active, not sat around watching telly or on the internet all day.
I am perfectly well aware that changes need to be made to conserve the planet and to change peoples attitudes towards food and also to change how farmers farm and how governments assist to fund farming in sometimes the wrong direction. But I implore you to be vigilant against people who misinform you and for goodness sake don't put them in an educational enviroment. There are plenty of good farmers out there who try and do a good job and supply you with high quality food but unless you support them you will be left with the giant corporates who produce massive quantities of everything at large profit for themselves and without long term consideration for the environment. Think... when did you spend most of your income on food in a month? Possibly never for some of us... But back in the 1940's and 1950's it would have been normal. Where do your priorities lie? Do you ever criticise farmers and if so, how well informed are your criticisms? When did you last talk to a farmer? Read a farming magazine? Did you know that only 3.4% of the french adult population is involved in farming but the suicide rate is 20% higher than across France as a whole? These statistics are pretty much the same for certainly the western world where farming ranks sometimes as number one but usually in the top 10 of jobs where risk is high to commit suicide. Gives you pause for thought really......
See you all soon
Reflections... and Action
Driving along the road today, returning from the market, a Red Admiral butterfly flew past the windscreen and I reflected on the fact that I see fewer and fewer butterflies every year. The first truly incredible butterfly I saw was a Swallowtail butterfly resting on some grass at a Chateau somewhere in France or Germany. It was very docile and obviously not in an ideal position, so my Dad picked it up and placed it out of harms way. Now my Dad had large hands and I remember that the Sallowtail filled his hand so it was a magnificent specimen. Somewhere in the family archives I am sure there is a photograph of said beautiful creature.
I cannot remember if I have seen one recently, so I figure that if I cannot remember then I probably haven't. I wonder if anyone else has seen one fluttering about in their back garden?
We do see the odd Peacock butterfly, the small blue ones and the white ones but not nearly in the same quantity as we used to. I remember my Grandmother saying the same things to me about the reduction in numbers of butterflies and other insects since she was a child, so my Sherlock Holmes deduction is that in 80 years we have not learnt very much about anything.
It is a wonder that we have not managed to reduce our own population by the same quantity, as we are evidently intent on self destruction at some point or another, by some method or another.....
So the question is what are we going to try and do about our own lifestyles to help curb our impact on the environment? Many of you are probably thinking vote for the right people to put them into the power positions on the planet where the decisions are made, but seeing as we don't seem to have a very good track record for that currently, we may need to come up with an alternative.
Any little thing no matter how small you may think it is can help, remembering to take a shopping bag to the market, starting a compost bin then putting that compost on your own garden, shopping locally from local producers to reduce food miles or in fact any product miles. There are many local people who make things that we use every day without us having to resort to products made in China every single time we go to the shops. I expect if you sat down and thought about it you would know plenty of people.
Or if you are having a wealthy moment in your life install a solar panel (on my list of things to do), buy an electric car, which by the way saved us 2000 euros on fuel last year. Now that is a lot of money and a lot of clean air in Eygurande et Gardedeuil.
On a more personal business level, I have a client who has decided to buy in bulk at the market. She provides me with an order, a cooler box, blocks and containers, if required for things like minced meat. She took responsibility for the cleanliness of her own equipment and packed and froze the items to her own requirements when she returned home.
All things are possible one just needs to think outside the box and then have a conversation/heated debate with someone about the possibilities/practicalities.
It is long past time to be motivated and to hold yourself accountable for your own life and I am no saint myself, however, we do need to change and we need to do it soon. Below is commuter parking in Holland at the train station. And what a gloriously quiet town Tilburg was without all the cars rushing everywhere.
See you all soon
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