Its been a while since I last wrote anything. Since the last post there has been a massive hail storm annihilating much of the coutryside and homes around us. People have had to move house and farmers have had to find alternatives to feed and house their animals as sheds, crops and grassland has been destroyed. Accompanying this, a drought, which has effectively stopped the vegetation from regrowing. Not to mention the multitude of fires around us assisted by dry vegetation and some rather unsavory people who think it is fun to set alight to the countryside. A very difficult year for all. Today we have a meeting with our local Chambre d'Agriculture to discuss moving forward with planting hedges and trees that have a greater chance of survival in hotter drier conditions and are suitable as fodder for the livestock. When we left Zimbabwe nearly 19 years ago we had not imagined that we were coming to a region where there is little and erratic rainfall creating quite a challenging environment for grazing animals, equal to that of Zimbabwe.
Trying to keep the sheep behind an electric fence during a drought has been interesting. As much water has gone on the earth peg as into the sheep. Many early morning and late evening calls from kindly neighbours. It is one way of getting to know everyone I suppose. Patrick has wondered on several occassions why we farm animals. There is never a moment of peace. Gavin is coming to the end of his accident leave from work so there will be a break for Patrick in the near future. It has been a long 2 years with first one then the other knee. But as Cyril the physio man said to Gavin yesterday, be careful I don't want you back for the third knee.
After nearly 7 years of pig farming we are hand rearing a pig. Luckily it is a "she" pig so if well behaved will more than likely get to stay forever. Poor little mite ended up in a mêlée and had a unplanned nose job in the process. The rather large cut is healing nicely and she walks to heel better then the border collies at the tender age of 3 days. Obviously as trained professionals we know not to get too attached in case of an early demise 🙄, but I forsee tears and tissues if this turns into a death in the family.
Some people spring clean, I prefer to autumn stock up. We have a respectable cupboard nearly full of goodies, jams, chutneys, cordials and coulis for the winter. I made banana and grape jam for the first time, wasn't sure I would like it, but it is surprisingly good. Slow cooker chutney takes the effort out of standing over a saucepan stirring to stop it sticking and burning. I now have much more sensible sized pans for sterilising after the haggis cook up last January which has made life much easier as well. With our dried meat supplies also on the increase it looks like we will avoid starvation Chez Franklin this winter. A new wood burning stove is to follow I am very excited after being without one for 6 years.
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