A trip to an isolated sheep farm high above 'the spectacular ' Gorge du Vis.'
FOOD, WINE AND HOMEGARDENING
I apologise for the above vulgarity, but how could I possibly ignore such wonderful alliteration. Moving manure is not quite the same. Whatever you like to call it, this is what we were doing yesterday morning , and we now have a fine pile of well rotted sheep dung or 'fumier' ready to fertilise the spring growth in our vegatable plot. Some may dream of gold, but this is just as valuable to Brian who has searched for a source of local animal'fumier' for many years. When we spotted our forestry manager neighbour with a large trailer load last spring, we enquired as to its origin. Alas he was not forthcoming. Clearly the source of gardeners' fumier is a closely guarded secret. However this year a good friend has come to our rescue. Her magnificent garden, which is like an oasis in the dry river valley of the 'Gorge du Vis' is overflowing with produce every year. Clearly she knows of an excellent source of fumier, so yesterday she took us there . The road from her village winds to the top of the gorge, . From there we followed a bumpy track towards an isolated farmstead . The land was stony and marginal and there was not a single building. Eventually we came to a large barn where alongside we spotted an enormous pile of well rotted 'black gold.' There wasn't a single soul or animal around. As we got out of the car, a pair of vultures rose from the ground nearby to join a larger group that were wheeling and soaring around high above us. But where were the sheep that had produced this wonderful gift for us ? I heard a solitary bell so I walked over to the barn to investigate. Through the open door I saw a flock of sheep large and small, black and white sheltering in pens. As I entered the dark space, many pairs of large yellow eyes were focused upon me. They all surged forward , and as they became more and more excited the noise of their bells filled the barn. But I had work to do , so I turned away, only to be followed from behind like 'Little Bo Peep.'Once the work of shovelling had begun the sheep quickly lost interest and returned to the barn. Brian toiled to fill our the trailer, one shovel at a time, while I helped our friend fill ten large plastic bins with manure for her own garden. As we returned with our booty the views over the valley were amazing, and we were the only humans for miles around to appreciate it.