It has been quite difficult to find the enthusiasm to post a blog, not to mention what kind of photographs I should be putting in the blog in case it becomes a gateway for knowledge for theives. The battle with stock protection from theft and getting any support from any gendarme in our area has been dispiriting. They have not been seen even once in our area for the whole month since the livestock thefts despite being told they would come out on patrol more often. Even worse I now know how little is known by the general population about livestock theft, which is rife throughout France but obviously not dramatic or interesting enough to make any media outlet. My neighbours have all sorts of items, animals and fuel stolen every single year. It is disrespectful, exhausting and just plain flipping annoying. Time wasted with paperwork, unecessary stock counting and looking for replacement items. Not to mention stress and worry due to business shrinkage.
I am sure some of you have watched Jeremy Clarkson farming show on the telly. An hillarious progamme from both a farmers and a general viewers perspective. So far he has shown a few of the battles that we experience in farming paperwork, administration, weather etc, but what I have enjoyed the most though is his willingness to give anything a go (I know he has quite a bit of money to protect himself) and his delight at being able to get something right. It is heartening that he is questioning the methods he is currently using with regard to his soil health and a joy to realise that he has understood the importance of animals within a farming system.
The shearing has been completed, apart from the rams, without too many incidents, and with some willing arms to help with wool collection and catching the sheep. Wow..! the biting flies were fierce though in the shearing pens. And mosquitos exceptionally hungry and robust.
I made my first batch of soap with mutton fat, olive and sunflower oil and lavender and it looks fabulous. Also much harder than the pork fat soap I have made in the past. I am discovering the delight of making chutney in the slow cooker, chuck it all in, bring it up to temperature then let it bubble away with lid off. It can take a while, but so much easier than standing over the stove when there are so many other things to do. Made my first ever strawberry chutney, delicious. Alice has made some more of her plum cordial this year. We have not bought any cordial since her experiments during last years confinement and hope to go through to next years fruiting season with what she makes this year. There never seems to be enough storage space at this time of year for the quantity of produce that appears from everywhere.
The family from the Netherlands has been and visited and returned to the Netherlands to work. It was lovely to see them as always and they will be missed as always.
All things being equal we should be back to normal services this coming weekend at the market. I will come laden with all things meaty and delicious.
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