it's not very good here at the moment. We try to stay upbeat but it is a bit of a job. It's the rain and low temperatures which are trying to push us down. And I think of other farming folk over the years, how hard it is to grow food for one's self and others when nature is being so temperamental, when nature is being its self.
In the safety of our homes we are sheltered from nature, and in control of our environments, the same for our daily work, whatever it is. Not many of us are reliant on nature. Most of us have stepped away from that reliance, keeping away from the outside, and away from the natural world, living our lives closetted away indoors, unless it is warm and sunny, then we will venture forth.
And then some of us up took an opportunity to make a change, to move away from living indoors, to live more outside, to discover that nature is the boss, that we are but just midgets in comparison, that nature is mightier than us, that we can never hope to control nature even if we try, that nature will always win, one way or another. This we have learnt since coming to France.
An email in from Sara down the road, to say that we are under orange alert again for rain and flooding. Third time this year. We are not surprised. It has not stopped raining since January. We can, and do, moan about this. But there is no point. It is the way of things.
I look at the grass and try not to fret that we have lost the hay it would have made. I look at the far field and see the wild pea starting to seed itself, knowing that it will turn the field into a tangle of vegetation as it does so. It was a good hay field last year. This year it will not.
I look at the tomato plants, now deceased, at the potatoes, some of which are doing well, but a patch not so good because they are in a lake, at the intermittent lines of mangel (sugar beet), the patchiness of the seedlings due to the munching slugs, the slug pellets not working because of the rain, and try not to fret. Instead, I look at the strong growth on the pole beans, onions, and garlic, and I marvel at a very strong line of seedlings growing although have forgotten what they are.
I stand in the rain and watch the piglets romp about in their hut, and feel pleasure at them doing so. I try not to worry about the swampiness of their paddock, nor the wetness of the other paddock in which Max and the other sow live. But I look at the sheep and do worry. They look in a state, their fleeces are mud caked and ragged, their barn and paddock sopping wet. For most of the day they are out on the field, so have relief from their home environment. Otherwise, we keep putting straw down in their barn, but the floor needs to come up. It will make excellent manure when it does, which does not help matters much at the moment.
The chickens have gone off-lay, although I am managing to find up to two eggs per day, if I am lucky enough to get to them before the magpies and dogs find them. Am relieved, that when we had a glut of eggs, I froze about thirty. I think that that is an experiment which has paid off. It is encouraging to think that I have a small store of eggs.
It is also encouraging to look at my eight jars of canned food, and know that I have eight meals already cooked. At the moment I am concentrating on learning how to use my canner, so keep the food in those jars simple. Four have lamb mince in tomato sauce, and the other four contain goat mince in mixed veg and spices. Lester said that he thought I should have bought a bigger canner as mine will only take four one pint kilner jars at one time. I said that the size was just right because four jars filled with the same filling was enough, otherwise one would get fed up with eating the same thing.
My freezers are full of food, and that is encouraging as well. Means we are much less dependent on the supermarket. I also have a small stock of DIY soft goats cheese in the freezers, plus four one pint jars of DIY goats yoghurt.
All these things are positive, and help to keep the spirits up when one is waiting to see if one is going to be flooded again. And if we are? It is the way of things, it is the way of nature, and there is no point in getting upset and moaning on and on and on about it.
But it is alright to have a tinsy bit of a moan.
We are, after all, only human.