Sunday, 2 July 2017

Off to the market......

Just got back from a trip to the market at Vic en Bigorre.
It was going to be another grotty weather day, so best to do things which were not dependent on the weather, so to the market we went.

But I am not complaining about this bout of rainy weather because the land badly needs a drink. After the recent months of dry weather it is very thirsty.  No wind today though, thank goodness, that is something us and the land can do without. Even the sheep shearer man, who has now come, done, and gone, battled to do his work in the 90 mph gusting winds. Six fleeces this year, keeping three for spinning, the rest for composting. They were extremely clean, no dags, no mud, the recent torrential rains having showered the sheep pristine clean, but not enough to remove the lovely sweet smell which is such a delight to the senses.
Mr Cockerel is now strutting and parading like a General in front of his troops, the three new hens being very pleasing to his masculine self. They are farm chickens, big strong girls, nearly at laying age, and chatty already. Although not the prettiest of hens, they should give us a good solid base for our new flock. We shall develop some breed strains later on, probably the various types of Orpingtons, but that is not for now. Best to stay sensible and get the flock built up first.

Our new hens were purchased from a farmer at the market.
He had a van full, but we only bought three. They were put in a large cardboard box for transport. Three hens in the box is a safe number. Any more and the bottom of the box can give way. We know that it can do this, because last time we visited the market we bought four hens and the bottom of the box dropped out mid way across the main road. Fortunately there were no injuries.
While Lester concentrated on the purchasing of the hens, I wandered round the market.
And I was surprised at how much I have changed since last we visited.
Instead of looking at what was on offer from a buyer's perspective I found myself looking at the produce from a seller's perspective. It would seem that I am moving on towards being a seller of produce before we actually have produce to sell.
We have realised that this year is a year of learning the craft of being market gardeners, of learning the rhythm of planting, of learning how things grow, of combatting the various mini disasters relevant to our life here, (which happen most days), of learning to deal with extremes of temperature, of not giving up when a  plug tray full of  forty very happy and healthy seedlings, which I had nurtured for several weeks, became fried to death when I forgot to put the shade cover over them because I needed an afternoon nap on the hottest day of the year so far. I am not good in heat. I wilt. As did those seedling. But I survived. They did not. 
So what did I do?
Upended the dead bodies of the seedlings onto the compost heap, said a blessing over their carcasses, then immediately planted another tray, meanwhile fighting the urge to give up the gardening project forever, the words 'Don't Quit' rolling round and round in my head as I planted the batch of new seedlings.

The new flock, five in total now, plus nine chicks indoors.

One little visitor in the front garden this morning.
Milly, growing into a big girl now.
..... and Bonny asking why she is still indoors when Lissie is already out in the field.
Bye for now,


Rhodesia said...

Glad that you have some chicken back again though for now only a small block.
It was extremely hot and I struggled with the few plants I still had in the green house.
The rains are very welcome, but how I hate the cold winds that seem to have accompanied them!
I would far rather it was too hot than too cold!
Take care Diane

The Broad said...

Oh, Vera, I do sympathize with you over the need for that nap! Hot weather can zap all will power from us so easily. I have noticed how in these parts of France people really do plan their working hours around the times of day that are the coolest. I still have not quite acquired quite that knack! My husband and I have now had quite enough of the cool rainy weather and are ready for the sun to once again shine and dry everything out. But it won't be long, I'm sure before he will be worrying once again about the grass dying and needing rain soon! I love your pictures.

Janice said...

I know what you mean about the heat. When I was young and much slimmer it was never hot enough for me. I would wear a cardigan on days when it was above 30C. Now that I'm much higher in years and weight I can't stand the heat. I even struggle when it is 25C.
Thinking about the fleece from your sheep, could you spin it all in the winter and sell some of it at your market garden in the summer? That would be a few more pennies for you, just a thought.

Cro Magnon said...

Deer have calendars. They know exactly when the shooting season is over, and they raid our gardens in total confidence.

Vera said...

DIANE, it is giving us a good feeling having chickens living here again...they do give life to the farm. As you say, it has been good to have had some rain, but those winds are definitely not easy to cope with, especially when you are trying to plant seeds!

THE BROAD, glad you enjoyed the photos. We also work with the heat, splitting our day into two, with an afternoon rest in between.

JANICE, 25C is my best temperature, and the hotter it gets the slower I get. Spinning the fleece during the winter is a good idea, but I still have a backlog of fleece from previous shearings which is why I decided not to keep more that three this year. As for making something with the spun fibre......I want to buy a loom when money permits, so meanwhile I just keep building up my stash of wool.

CRO MAGNON, fortunately this little deer was well away from the vegetable gardens, otherwise it would have been chased out toute suite!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I loved reading this post and finding out about the daily activities. You do have the prettiest cows! I also read a blog written by a woman in the United States who has been market gardening for many years.
I hope this link works, if you are interested. -Jenn

Vera said...

JENN, thanks for the link, and I am going to pop across to it now.

Kerry said...

You'll be a seller soon. So looking forward to hearing how it goes.