Monday, 11 April 2016

Dust motes, hymns, dead fields, dandelions....


......sitting watching the dust motes sparkle and dance in the beam of sunlight coming in through the velux windows of the Half Barn, looking at my shoes under the table which are covered in dry mud and which I shall need to be wearing in a few minutes time so will have to get them cleaned, thinking 'Shall I have one of those scones on the table, or not.....' as I continue to drink my coffee. Dawdling, that is what I am doing as I watch those dust motes.


But I do get those shoes cleaned, and I did eat one of the scones but not all of it because I had baked them in the Rayburn yesterday and they were now hard enough to almost break my teeth, and soon I am on my way to Mazeres, one of our nearest villages, driving across the fertile flood plains of the  Adour, the river which cheerfully floods our own fields when it gets too full of water. The little pointy spire in the middle of the photo is where I am heading to.


Looking sideways  and up on to the top of the ridge and this is the village we belong to, Castelnau Riviere Basse. Perhaps you are wondering what crop is being grown that is looking such an attractive shade of pinky rusty brown. It is not a crop. It is a field which has been sprayed with chemical weed killer. No weeds will grow there now, nor worms, nor any living being within the soil. It is a dead field. Soon it will have fertilisers added. Maize will be planted and grow, assisted by further spraying of fertilizers. These are modern day industrial farming methods.

I am glad that our fields have now got their first sprinkling of dandelions and daisies, and that there are now worms in abundance as can be seen by the hundreds of worm casts. I won't mention the moles which are hunting those worms. I am glad that we are able to keep just a small portion of the land alive while all around us are fields which are industrially farmed.


I am just about to set up my keyboard in Mazeres church, where I shall be playing hymns for the service which is going to start in half an hour. This is a Catholic church, which the Church of England community here uses for a couple of hours a month. I like Catholic churches. I find them calm places to be, with no dead people interred in the walls or under the floor, which is what you are surrounded by in the Church of England churches in the UK.

But I would not label myself as a Church of England follower, nor a Catholic follower, I am just me, a free thinker and therefore not a follower of any particular religion, but I do like to add to the ambience of these church services, and if I had more free time I would also play for the Catholic services as well.

Meanwhile........


...back home and Lester has ploughed Number Two and Number Three veg plots. I look at them and think, 'Crikey, that's a lot of land to fill up with veggies'. Ploughing is slow for him, though, because he has to keep getting on and off the tractor to pick up the large stones which the plough is uncovering. If not picked up these stones will damage the rotovator. There are a lot of stones. He is on and off the tractor many times.


Dandelions!!!! It is no use, I cannot avoid the 'Dandelion Jam making' thought any longer. 365 is the number of flower heads I need to pick. I pick 291, then flunk out on the settee. It is hot. I need to rest my back. So me and the three dogs all pile in to the sitting room for a cool down and back stretch. Time passes. Oh. We have all have had a nap. My enthusiasm for the 'Dandelion Jam making project' has dwindled. I look at my bowl of flower heads. Have a search on the internet. Apparently I can make tea out of them. Ahha. An idea pops into my head, and so in to the dehydrator they go.



My vague sense of guilt about not following through with making Dandelion Jam has now been replaced by a sense of satisfaction that I have inadvertently started the long awaited Medicinal Herb Project. Won't go into the benefits of dandelions here, other than that they make you go to wee, but the Medicinal Herb Project is one I have long wanted to begin so I now have.

I have kept you long enough,
so bye for now,
Vx



12 comments:

PioneerPreppy said...

So close though only what another 70-someodd left? Oh well switching projects is a viable homesteading alternative :)

The Broad said...

It is rather disheartening to hear about all those dead fields surrounding you! Your farm is a gem in the wilderness... Dandelions are not my favourite 'wild flower' -- even though from time to time I find them oddly attractive! Lucky you, it sounds as if Spring has well and truly sprung. It's very slow in coming to this part of the northwest of England!

Vera said...

PIONEER PREPPY.....I know! As I was stretching my back on the settee I kept saying to myself 'Only another 70 something to go', but the effort to pick more had all gone away!

THE BROAD, passers by would not even think about the condition of the soil on those fields, it is only because we have a smallholding that we take notice of such things. I never used to like dandelions either but now I love to see them all about the place. We have lots of wild flowers here now, and all of them are very pretty. Yes, Spring is galloping onwards, too fast really!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a beautiful church. We have mole problems but our cats are very helpful in that department.

Vera said...

LISA, it is a very old church, and the villagers are trying hard to raise the money to save it. Moles! No cats here but three dopey dogs who wouldn't know what to do with a mole if they caught it!

Cro Magnon said...

Hence the name here for Dandelions! My dog catches Moles, but I do wish he'd fill-in the holes afterwards.

Kerry said...

Dandelions arent called pissenlit for nothing :)
No insecticides are allowed on my veg patch, everything is left to grow naturally. If it grows it grows, if it doesn't it doesn't. When I see fields here being sprayed a wonder what is that doing to us and the environment.

northsider dave said...

It's great to see the land being rotovated and being made ready for cultivation. I like digging with my long handle four prong pike. You are so right about the lack of worm activity in farms that use chemicals. It seems to be nothing but monoculture (grass) here.

Vera said...

CRO MAGNON, ah, the 'wee factor'! Our dogs do dig but in the wrong places!

KERRY, we are the same on our farm.....no commercial chemicals used here either. Living in the countryside does bring home the reality of modern day farming methods, and I also wonder what is happening to us and our environment when the fields are being sprayed.

NORTHSIDER DAVE, nice to hear from you. I don't think that we would be able to manage to hand dig our veg plots, but I am intrigued by your four prong pike. We do have some fields laid out to grass here and which are used for hay, but our area is heavily into growing maize, wheat, or colza with fields of sun flowers dotted here and there. And of course there are the acres and acres of vines.

My Life in the Charente said...

Nice to see the photos of the area where you live and the church. I admit to spraying tomatoes, grapes and potatoes against blight but as for the rest of it it takes pot luck. Two of our local farmers have lung cancer and it is thought it is due to all the sprays they use! Problem is though it will get in the air so innocent people will get the drift of it though hopefully not in such big quantities. Dandelion tea - somehow that does not appeal, I will stick to my ginger and lemon :-) Have a good weekend we are nearly there. Diane

DUTA said...

With all the industrial methods and the big crops, prices of products in my neck of the woods, are not cheap. The government tends to open the market to import to create competition and thus lower food prices. Anyway, agriculture seems to be in crisis. People speak less of the chemicals and more about prices and seasonal shortage of certain growths.

swampi sandra said...

Hi, it all looks and sounds so lovely apart from the chemical fields. Think I would have used the dandelion heads for making wine myself. Keep up the good work, love Sandra