Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A short life, not always merry

The last ten days have been a terrible reminder of the fact that man proposes but God, gods or Nature, disposes.  We react more often than we act.   Death arrived suddenly amongst the lambs after worming.  We had no means of knowing whether it was the strength of the wormicide that stressed the lambs or whether they suffered a new, fatal infestation.  A warm, wet winter helps parasites to proliferate.

Disposal of dead animals is never easy, neither emotionally nor physically.  When an animal bred and cared for dies before the proposed time of slaughter, the breeder feels a failure, neglectful.   The unspoken bargain between human and food animal (via God or gods, if you like) is that the former provides a sheltered and natural as possible life for the animal before what is called 'le sacrifice' in old fashioned French.
This is how it is meant to be.....

The eleveurs in the Dordogne have not been helped by the re-organisation of 
'equarrissage' service.  It was run from a centre about 20 kms away from La Chaise, not always as speedily as could be wished but a service with a human point of contact.   It was likely that someone's aunt's second cousin's nephew worked there.  Indeed, a lady in the neighbouring village who offers a catering service, was aunt to a young man who worked for the local company.  Now, for reasons not known to me, it is run by a company some two hours' drive away - contact by automated telephone or internet.    Luck of the draw will decide when the collecting lorry comes by.  Meanwhile the cadaver, covered discreetly but firmly against possible carrion eaters, awaits in a wheelbarrow by the side of the road.

In as good an example of pathetic fallacy as ever discussed in literary classes, the weather has been as temperamental as a toddler, beyond human control or prediction.   A heavy, lurking quiet as the clouds pile up, the sky darkens and we below wait - for an explosion or a whimper.   There have been times when we saw the storm clouds just a couple of kilometres and a valley away, shouting thunder and streaking lightning there as we stand in pattering rain here.

The short term weather forecast promises more unsettled weather.  On the positive side this is mostly good for the re-sowing of the greens that suffered from the earlier warmth.  But, on the downside, the damp will encourage the parasites.  The sheep may have to change pasture more often than they would  like.


Meet my new best friend - does anyone know his name?

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