Firstly here is an update on Peaches who likes trees. She also likes sofas.
And here is the picture you were meant to get last week. I am pleased to say that Patrick has done a few more sheep now, he is probably about halfway through the flock. The lambs were a little confused afterwards whilst they tried to track down Mum as they all look the same with their coats off so the farm has been even more baa-ry than usual. I had thought that this year was a particularly vocal batch of lambs and my suspicions were confirmed when our lovely neighbour down the hill Mr.Lansmarie also commented on the fact.
We, the girls and I, have just returned from the butchery after a long afternon linking and packing. I admit that in an effort to pander to number 3 we allowed her to select the music of the day and we have just boogied and sung our way through "Barbie Girls 2" the CD. It has pink CD cover and is inappropriately named as there is not a single Barbie or Ken song on it (huge sigh of relief) I think most people need bit of "S Club 7" in their weaker moments. On our return home we remembered there were no biscuits in the house so we have just eaten half a bar of cooking chocolate. Things were desperate.
For those who would like an update on last weeks misery in total 15 lambs died and there are still 18 (I think) being treated but they are looking like they will make it. For those who know me this is not something that I will dwell upon, although the bank manager might, I will put it down to "character building stuff" as my Dad would have said and move on.
Ok, so, I have tried my new Hot Chorizo Sausages today and if you like a bit of fire with your barbecue (ha ha) they are really very good.
Patrick goes on holiday next week lucky thing, to the beach, and Gavin will spend the week dreaming about the beach I suspect. We did have Sunday off last week and left the big children to fend for themselves and look after the sheep whilst we relaxed next to a friends pool and had the joys of experiencing a fast connection to the internet which meant you could watch a whole film in the alloted time and have no buffering. Wow what an amazing experience that was. I am now researching satellite internet so that we can live in the modern world.
See you all soon
Well I started one blog yesterday and was going to share with you some lovely pictures of Patrick shearing and frolicking sheep all shorn and lovely. However we had a reality check this morning which makes me think that July is not my lucky month. There will be no pictures accompanying this post.
I innocently set off to load the van for Coutras this morning, which incidently was the most disastrous market I have ever done. On arrival at the butchery the fattening lambs were in the middle of the road, on closer inspection one had blood on her tail so I pulled forward to look into the field proper and to my horror there were 6 lambs lying on their sides motionless. As usual there was no cell phone signal so I returned home to wake Gavin and Patrick.
The second inspection revealed 10 dead, 2 not at all well though breathing, and some more, damged though walking. The Gendarme were called and only took about 30 minutes to arrive at the scene, take details and photos and then after a visit from 2 vets who arrived an hour later 2 lambs were euthanased and a further 18 are under observation and on antibiotics from bite marks. Of course the dead included the ram that was to be kept for the following year and a number of other lambs that were staying on to become breeding flock.
The general consensus fom the experts was that it was more than one dog and they were big dogs probably domestic bored dogs, not hunters dogs, who wanted to have a game unfortunately for us the game was "lets kill the lamb". They had entered the field by jumping over a 1.20m fence which did not have any holes in it.
The Vets and Gendarme were surprise that we did not own a Pyrenean Mountain dog but we have 5 separate outdoor groups of sheep which would entail having 5 pyreneans and I don't think that would be practical.
It is very frustrating trying to rear animals at a level at which is considered "animal friendly" and have "happy sheep" when one is up against foxes and badly behaved humans with badly educated dogs.
To top off a very disappointing and upsetting morning I dropped a large piece of wood on my foot at Coutras and Gavin broke his phone. It has been suggested that going out again today is probably unwise unfortunately for us with livestock to care for it is unavoidable.
I hope that next weeks blog will be a little more cheerful, it is not in my nature to be miserable for too long.
Hot sunny days
I am madly whipping up this little blog in between pilates and my second visit to the butchery today, escaping from the heat momentarily in our cool living room. In fact it is in these circumstances that our house actually comes into its own a bit of a freezing cold wreck for most of the year, but at 30 plus degrees freezing cold is actually what is required.
Now we are not going on holiday this year (this year, ha ha...I live in hope that we will go on holiday altogether one year) so I am sharing a picture of Salt farming in Malta where some friends of ours are on holiday at the moment and I am living their holiday through the most spectacular pictures they have posted. It is a long way from sheep farming but I think Gavin is trying to work out how we could incorporate a salt farm in Malta into our enterprise and whether we could convince the French government that we needed the grant to diversfy into providing our own salt for bacon making.................. Aaahhh we can dream.
It is the Grand Souk in Ribérac this weekend which means lots of music and dancing all weekend so the market will be lively. It is being headlined by Vanessa Paradis on Sunday night for those who don't already know. I was vaguely concerned that Number 3 did not have a clue who she was and wondered if she was as famous as The Vamps (google them). 35 years is a big age gap between a Mummy and child, she also did not know what a record was and Emily had to translate that I meant song. Well, at least I did some generation bridging with the first batch and Number 3 so they will always be there to translate. On the up side at least I know who The Vamps are, I suppose.
I digress the sheep are warming up as are the boys for some serious shearing, so the fizzy water factory will be on overtime for the next few weeks. No they don't get it over and done with in a day firstly because there are too many other things to do...... and secondly because they don't shear that quickly ;-) When they have started I will post some pics of the hairless girls always amusing as the lambs take a while to recognise them. Oh no more sleepless nights.
Happy birthday to those people with birthdays this week. You know who you are.
See you somewhere soon and some of you here sooner than you think.
The First Week of the Holidays
Yes school holidays fnally began and with that everyone disappeared from the markets to obviously accompany my girls and their Grandma to Rocamadour for a brief foray into historical real-life education. The weather has been quite chilly so sadly whilst they were away the pool was not well used at the campsites where they stayed but otherwise a good time was had by all. I on the other hand was left at home to entertain Peaches, our delightfully placid bundle of fluff always ready to settle for a cuddle and a sleep!
The girls of course were mortified they had missed out on this little stunt and astonished that I had not video-ed it, however they were quite happy to have not been included in the eyelid pouncing contest in the morning at 6.00. So if I am less than full of the joys of spring at the markets this week my sincerest apolgies.
We are experimenting with markets this week and trying out Coutras market on Wednesday and hopefully St. Seurin-sur-l'Isle on Sunday morning. Obviously Riberac and Ste-Foy will be attended as normal. If anyone would like a pork roast with crackling I have a few for the markets this week so let me know.
Patrick has been assisting our friends with their very hairy sheep this week having a warm up ready to face the main flock. His reward was food in copious quantities and a swim. Funny I don't think Gavin and I managed to strike that deal for the home flock.
See you all soon
Aren't they cute. No we did not take them all even though there was a considerable amount of pressure from Patrick and Emily. Number 3 had the choice, seeing as she has never had a kitten before, and in an eminently sensible fashion that belies her years, sat down on the floor next to them and said that she would take the one that came to her first. What a fool I was because as every person knows who has ever had an animal the most forward of the group is usually the most naughty.
So meet Peaches who has slept on my head for the last 2 nights and purred like a steam train waking me up at 5.45 am to let me know it is playtime again. Funny isn't it the only one who wakes up for the toilet training bit is the one who least wants to have the kitten in the first place. I can hear you all saying but look she is fast asleep and looks so adorable and yes mostly she is adorable until she starts climbing the bookcases.
Did anyone go to the Félibrée last weekend and see Emily working hard with Louise Dunn selling cheese and cooking goat kid meat? We did and had fun eating and dodging the large cloud bursts.
On the farming front the fox has been out again and sadly helped himself to 2 of our smallest lambs which is exceedingly annoying as we had kept the lambs in the barn for so long trying to avoid the problem and now having released them all at what we thought was a size large enough to not be an attactive proposition for Mr Fox, to absorb sunshine and run about like lunatics, we have once again been outsmarted by the 4 legged beastie. Time to call M.Bourguignon again methinks.
The kermesse at the school was the final activity to be ticked off my list of children end of year functions so I decided there was a possibility of boredom through the summer months and had better fill up the gaps in my schedule, hence there is a third market on a Wednesday in Montpon-Ménésterol on Rue de Verdun. My pitch is at the cinema end inbetween the flowers and the olive seller opposite the nems and large fromagerie van.
Some of the family are arriving during the weekend to whisk away the 2 girls on holiday for a few days not sure if that makes life easier or more complicated as although that means fewer hands, it does mean less cooking and cleaning. However I am sure the girls will have a lovely time. Hope the weather stays resonable.
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