Tuesday 14 July 2009

Bastille Day

the forest

It's the fifth anniversary of our first official view of the farm. We'd had a sneak preview by climbing the gate a few days before but the 14th was our last day before leaving France. Despite it being a public holiday the agent was prepared to take us around in the hope of making the sale.

It was a blazingly hot day and we walked the boundaries of the land and explored the buildings with amazement and excitement, me babbling on in poor French about how much it reminded me of the place I was born, Paul being much more sensibly silent on how much we liked it but struck by the beauty and the wildness and all the birds and insects. We had to wait a while before our offer was accepted, the scattered and mutually antagonistic family that had inherited were mostly away on holiday but we'd already lost our hearts. It was a tremendous relief when we heard they'd finally sorted it out amongst themselves.

mixed leek flowers

Each year I buy our leek plants from the market in St. Lo. 5€ gets 100 seedling plants ready to pop into their final growing on spot. The variety is always stated to be Carentan, the local (and famous) strain that is grown widely all across Normandy. Carentan the town is about 40 km from here. The insects love the flowers so I always leave the last of the patch to go to seed although I don't save them.

As you can see from the picture, this is very much an open pollinated and somewhat diverse strain with flower colours of all shades from white to purple and quite a number of umbel forms too. In fact, I suspect that what we have is just home saved seed of no particular variety with the appellation being provided from the location. No matter, they are locally grown and make a fine crop, maturing across the season and standing up well to the prevailing weather conditions.

This year I've planted our plot a little earlier than last. We were just too late last year to get full sized leeks by Yule, this year they should be a better size.


ICQB said...

Your farmland sounds wonderful - and it must have been waiting for you to come along.

Catofstripes said...

Thanks, we do feel very lucky and privileged.