Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Proof I Don't Have Tunnel Vision

Just to prove to you that I have a little, albeit pathetic, life beyond knitting, I'll give you some farming news. We live on a somewhat vast piece of countryside property here in Southern France. A portion of it is taken up with my husband's vineyards. Then, a really large part of it is just wild with some walking trails. Ain't it romantic? Yeah, whatever. Anyway, moving along to my real point... that leaves plenty of room for farming type endeavors. So, we've unsuccessfully raised chickens in the past. One by one, they mysteriously vanished. (lost the last of the original 5 just a couple weeks ago). So, rather than give up - because we like having fresh eggs - my mother-in-law brought in a new set. There are six this time. Maybe she thinks that extra one will make us better caretakers??? Who knows. Anyway, we still keep telling ourselves that we need to get around to building them a little fenced-in park to keep them safe. But, will that keep cats and other mischievous animals out? Don't know. For now, we just have to be sure to remember to lock them in at night (or lock other things out, to be more specific).

And, to make things even more rural, I did some planting last night. My trusty little lunar calendar (it works, even if I don't get obsessive with it) told me yesterday was the perfect day to plant fruit plants (anything with seeds inside the part you eat), so I dutifully spent the evening planting a large variety of tomatoes, some melons, eggplant, and zucchini. So, we're off and running (well, loping, at least) toward a very yummy summer.

The chickens, by the way, are already laying eggs for us, even though they're a bit small, since they're still young. We have two kinds of chickens: red and black. This is fun, because it actually gives us two colors of eggs. The regular brown ones you see a lot here in France (and that are tastier than the freakish white ones you get in the US) and some really pretty ones the color of red brick. They actually match our new home quite nicely.

All of this, I must tell you is pretty much organic. Actually, even better. Because we're so lazy with all this farming stuff, it's almost wild. We figure whatever survives survives. Is that why the chickens didn't last well?? Okay, I don't really mean it to sound so extreme in the case of the chickens. What I mean is that we give them water, but otherwise they fend for themselves. No, that doesn't sound right either. What I really mean is that there is plenty of stuff on the ground for just the six of them to roam around and feed off of. So, we let them be free range chickens and serve themselves. Seems to work out nicely for everyone involved (especially the fox or whatever got the last bunch - Oh, I don't mean that).

We have pretty much the same tactic for raising plants as for the chickens. We water them - well, at least we do when it occurs to us. That's where we get to the "what survives survives" part. We had some great tomatoes and hot peppers two years ago (we didn't get around to a garden the year our son was born), along with the okra, cucumbers and squash that did really well. And, they were all almost wild, really. That's my kind of gardening! Leaves more time for knitting, right?

Oh, and to top it all off, I actually did some real cooking and some baking. I made one of my favorite Moroccan dishes: chicken stew with preserved lemons and olives. Very yummy. Actually, I've never met a Moroccan dish I didn't like. Then, I made some chocolate chip scones from the world's most fattening scone recipe, that is oh, so tasty. Delish!