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20 hectres more

After many, many months we have finally had the go ahead that we can rent 20 hectares of pasture land. This has taken many meetings with the owners of the land, the farmer who was renting it and now retiring although the farmers never really retire they just reduce their herd size, which i think they are allowed 6 cows, gain their pension and continue to be active as this is what keeps them going only through illness where they are forced to stop they then find life difficult missing what they have done for many years.  The farmer we will be taking the land over from is one of them, still keeping half of the land he has been and will continue to be helpful by letting farmer J use machinery and equipment and giving advice, something the French are very good at here.

Farmer J has put in many hours wading through paperwork, form filling, identifying parcels of land and who actually owns them (which all are in Farmer Pierre's head) and need to be put under our name. Meeting with the owners, sorting contracts and having our organic organisation technician come to check out the land. As it will be under conversion we can only use a percentage of the hay that will be cut this year to feed our troop. Hopefully the rest will be sold,this also goes for how much grass the cows can eat there.Rental contracts have been signed and this years rent paid. Hay anyone?

We still have to have a meeting with the chambre d' agriculture to complete more forms declaring the land and as this year paperwork has changed for farming aid its best to make sure (for a fee) forms are filled in correctly,enabling us the get our funding.

Tomorrow one of the fields will have an electric fence erected for three of our steers and one cow to go on holiday Tuesday, think they cant wait.


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Demounting a hanger

Farmer J has brought a second hand hanger. It's an extension to be added on to the farms hanger which  up to last year housed the cows in 2/3rds and hay in the other 1/3. As we now have more cattle and calves the hay space is being converted to house the cattle giving them full access to it.
Only thing is the extension has to be dismantled (and erected when planning permission is granted).

He managed to take down the road crash barriers on the side of it but need my gophering skills today to start taking off the roof. Cold, foggy and damp it was a bit chilly standing around however we did have a visitor, a old lady hunt dog. Once fed and watered (doesn't everyone carry dog food in their car or is it just me?) she found a draught free spot between the hay bales to have a sleep before being called back to her hunter once hunting had finished.

So a 1/3 of the roof is down with the rest to be completed on Monday ready for the metal structure to follow.

Laguepie chestnut fair

Yesturday was he annual chestnut fair at Laguepie, a small village in the Tarn et Garonne. The sun shone which made for an enjoyable time amberling round the market stalls, drinking coffee and eating hot chestnuts. Traditional dances and muscicians put on a display. In previous years there has been a mushroom display showing edible, toxic and fatal fungi in appropriate coloured boxes of green , red and black (leathel ones). I imagine no mushrooms could be found as it has been dry here for a while.

The many varieties of apples grown locally along with walnuts and chestnuts were laid out on tressel tables, so many different types of apples were displayed. As well as chestnuts for sale there was apple juice being made, which at this time of year many villages and organisations invite you to take your non treated apples along to have them pressed into juice for a small fee. We didn't stay for the set menu lunch, each course is chestnut based so you really have to love your chestnuts.