The farmer is always right

At last, it has cooled down dramatically, and we can breathe, move and go outside without feeling faint !  We had rain last night - 3 mm of it. Very very welcome, but of course not nearly enough, and we look forward to more later this week. I hope everyone else has had some rain. I am sure we will all be flooded in Autumn, but for now, I don’t care, I just want rain.  Jono and I slept right through the thunderstorm and all that lightening last night, which is most upsetting, as there is nothing better than lying cosily in bed with thunder all around. The others however, did hear it, and were counting it down to 2kms away. 

The video I have attached, is of my giving the chickens watermelon last week. I wanted to film what I had noticed with the cockerel. He is a very good cockerel. For a start, he is not aggressive at all. Both our cockerels are not aggressive. Which is more than can be said of the cockerel I had bought two years back, and who had to meet his maker last summer, after attacking our guests ! Adobe chicken if you must know.  Anyway back to this lovely chap. When it is over 37 degrees, I cut up watermelon into tiny cubes, and give it to the chickens. It keeps them hydrated, and they have grown to love it. I do notice a marked difference in their ability to cope with the heat. Cockerels will always call their girls over when they have found food, whether a pile of grains, a tasty insect or the boss with watermelon. They seem to be saying: “ Look what I have for you, come and get it, I am the best one and I look after you”. ( We have two cockerels who compete with each other )  I was fascinated to see that the girls are so greedy and vicious, and that when I try to give him some just for himself, he always gives it up for the girls.  So here you see me trying to give him some on a spoon, only for him to pick it up and drop it for them. I tried it time and time again. Once he knocked the whole lot sideways off the spoon for them. What a sweet chap ! 

We spoke with Mr Letaud , our neighbouring farmer last week, when we were all feeling desperate for rain.  He always seems to have the weather sussed out.  He told us that we would not have rain until the new moon. And what happens ?  New moon, and then rain. And a change of weather.  The last time he had told us something like :  Shorts in December, rain in April.  I can’t remember exactly, but he was absolutely right.   Maybe he just has a better weather app, but I think I will always ask him from now on. 

Well we do still need a lot of rain. A young tree opposite the front of the house has gone brown from the tip almost to the lowest branch. That however is holding out and is green. We were debating going over and giving a bucket of water. I don’t think its feasible. We may do so with the old washing up water. We have about a bucket a day. Seems crazy but it may make that difference. 

I went to a flea market this morning. I would not have gone out if it had been last week, as its no fun in the extreme heat. But today - oh how glorious !  Clouds, a cool breeze, and the market was rather charming. I bought some old photographs of people in about 1915. On the back, is handwriting which says :  Uncle so and so,  and ‘My father’. And ‘ grand ma and grandpa. X.( a surname I cannot make out ).   I am so drawn by these old family photographs. How sad that they have been kept all these years, and suddenly, when that person dies, the family has the house ‘cleared’ by a brocanteur - with all the boxes of photos and things.  Don’t they even look through the family things ? Maybe they have no idea.  Maybe those old people don’t actually give those photos on to the younger generation ?   Why on earth would you not want to have that family heritage. To see people that look like you. To see what they were dressed in ?  Anyway, I asked the brocanteur whether he might know where he got those photos. And for once, he did.  He said it was in a house clearance in Bussac sur Charente. And that he had kept for himself a larger photo, which had a whole family photograph in front of the house.  I asked him if he could not take a photograph and send it to me.  He said he would. We discussed the fact that families loose the link to the past.   I am going to see if I can identify the house, and then see if I can find out who the family are.   I do have some photographs of my fathers side of the family. He told us who the people were. But sometimes, he was not sure. I dont’ know what it means for the future, but I am fascinated when I look at them. I remember the stories my father told me about those people. The man who could not stop marrying women. ( Syria, remember ).  The aunts who were always sewing on an old treadle machine. The uncle who was very kind. I suppose you can only really have that contact as far back as photographs go.  And for the future ?  Do we really think that what is on our phones will last ?  My plans for this winter : Printing out photographs and making albums with descriptions underneath.  With all our full names, and stories.  And the other thing, is to write down, finally, the rally diaries. I spoke into a tape recorder every day during our 1997 Peking to Paris rally, and I think the time has come that I should transcribe them. Otherwise it will just never happen. 

Thanks for all of those who sent kind comments about my desperation on the weather and the lack of rain. I appreciate the concern. 


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