What have I learned lately?
Sights and smells of spring - A colza fieldFrance's natural beauty never ceases to amazes me, my newest amazement - colza. It's a variety of cabbage, cultivated to make lubricant or illuminant oil. What I find so amazing is that colza can stimulate two senses simultaneously - sight, it's a bright deep yellow early in the spring, that only nature can make and smell, very sweet. Think of a smell resembling the taste of honey
Don't know how I missed colza before. Maybe the other French regions I lived in: Alsace, Ill-de-France and Aquitaine didn't have it. Here in Burgundy colza fields are everywhere. Just about any direction I drive from Dijon, after only a few minutes, there's colza. My eyes and nose are treated to a delight not seen in many other places.
This being France the countryside is never far away. I bike along the colza fields with my son. Only in France can male bonding, and discovering natural beauty occur at the same time!
Colza field photos.
Spring?So far there's not much spring in France. The cold of winter gave way to the heat of summer with little transition in the middle of May. The third week in May saw record high temperatures for that time of year. This is not good news for France, if this is a preview of the weather to come. Certainly not after last year's heat wave that was more natural disaster than a weather event.
Down on the (French) farmFarms have their own rhythm, certain things at certain times of the year. In May it's La Tonte, or sheep shearing. This, my friends is very, very difficult work. It's like trying to give a hair cut to a 100 pound child, who is constantly moving. I didn't do any shearing; two sheep shearers were hired to do that, called tondeurs in French. No, I along with many of my in-laws was the one who had to bring the sheep to the shearers. Believe me it's not easy to grab a 150-pound, sheep turn it over on its back and then drag to get its 'hair cut'. In total over two hundred sheep were sheared. We started at seven in the morning and finished around four in the afternoon.
To give you an idea of how economics are not in the farmer's favor, fifty years ago the wool a sheep produced paid the shearing costs and the sheep's food for a year. Now the wool produced will not even pay for the shearing.
La Tonte photos.
Un peu de Pub
Étonnez-moi! Astonish me!