We are almost one third through the year and still awaiting Spring! A two and a half hour fast walk along the chemins and rues of La Balade des Plaisirs takes us through beaucoup beaucoup de boue (mud) and puddles. We witness masses of le coucou , wild flowers that we know as "cowslips". Also swathes of what I think are "Shepherd's Purse" and then a real gem as I stop by a solitary wild Common Fritillary (uncommon, then a little space away from it another beauty. How wonderful to see such a protected species in the wild. How magnificent and beautiful to see the snakes' head patterns or as one Frenchman described as being like the markings of the plumage of a pintard (partridge). The Botanical name is Fritillaria Meleagris (LINN.) and it belong to the Lilicae family -Lilium variegatum. It is also called the Chequered Daffodil or Narcissus Caparonius or Turkey Hen or Ginny Flower in England....these names I never knew until recent research with the internet which is the fount of all knowledge and learning...Aaaah so that all fits in with French belief!! guinea fowl.... Partridge. Then along the way I stopped by a snake - a Coulevre - a Grass snake. He was beautiful. It wasn't a sunny day and although some people had already passed him he was still basking in the grass in the warmth of the midday for me to admire. He recoiled into the undergrowth and slithered away before the next walkers and dogs arrived. Sam the Alsation discovered a hare sitting on it's platform and I watched as the two took off on a their running spree. I reckoned the hare could run faster than the dog and the latter soon returned out of breath!!! The nightingale was heard singing it's varied song but not even the locals recognised it, so I felt quite knowledgeable!!!! I might add it has taken me 59 years to be aware of it!!!
Home-made carrot, coriander and chicken soup for lunch was followed by a short repose before tackling projects in the garden and domestic cleaning!!!!!!!
In the early evening I was asked to come quickly!! Captain Sensible was standing in the lane and Jean-Yves was on the field side of the wall holding two tiny lambs. He was like a proud father. He loves his sheep and handed one over to me and one over to Captain Sensible. We have never ever held lambs before!!! Such a privilege. Their little hearts were beating and their maman was bleating, their bodies were warm, naked with hardly any wool!! There are now three sets of twin lambs and another sheep about to produce! Meanwhile Captain was asking whether we could buy one for the congelateur (freezer!!! We established that slaughtering is in October. What happened to my 23 years of vegetarianism! As J-Y has explained the taste of the meat is special because they have only eaten "herbe" ( the grass ). We cannot wait!!
In the next field there must be 100 sheep but I see no signs yet of the miracle of new life!
I have made more bread. No machines for us!! I have mixed semi-complet blé (wheat) with sarrasin (buckwheat) flour, seigle (rye) flour and some rolled épautre flakes (an ancient wheat). It doesn't take long and is our attempt to not only economise but to eat healthily!