Saturday, August 29, 2009

Working around the clock

He that has a good harvest must be content with a few thistles. ~ Spanish proverb.

Last weekend I went to the Comice Agricole in a nearby village. A simple affair with cows and horses, huge modern tractors and a few side stalls, all the locals had sat down at long tables and eaten lunch. I was there mainly to look at the Breton horses, and maybe photograph a few old tractor relics.

This year in Brittany a horse died on a beach overcome by fumes from rotting seaweed. It is shocking that the cause is almost certainly the use and abuse of spraying fields with chemicals. Brittany grows vast amounts of maize, mostly for animal feeds. The chemicals end up in the rivers and then of course the sea, hence this bizarre accident when the horse died.

Farming has changed, they now work into the night on enormous machines that thunder through the villages as late as 3.30am. When my Dad worked at harvest time the days were long but they finshed before darkness fell.

The French government has offered to help pay the bill to clean up the beaches, but prevention can be the only cure.

We are not content to harvest a few thistles, all must be eradicated but at what cost.

The Sharp Mechanical Thistle

Hobby Horse

With the recent credit munch (stolen from Henry the Dog)many people cannot afford to purchase organic, so what is the solution? Are those people who eat meat, or milk, or cheese consuming chemicals too, I think they are.

The French word for thistle is chardon (as in Chardonnay)

The French word for chemicals is chimique.


Dave Jones said...

Interesting post, I love the photo of the farm machinery. I agree farming is changing but its more to do with the demand from supermarkets to meet the demand from the consumer...! My wife and I have recently (about 10 months ago) started an allotment and have been surprised at the new found flavour of potatoes and carrots without any chemicals. My carrots had a high proportion of funny shapes which amused the kids and suddenly they were eating more carrots without us fussing them. straight carrots are fine but lets get back to naturaly miss-shaped veg, without chemicals. Regards Dave

ArtPropelled said...

I'm quite sure we are all consuming chemicals. It's frightening isn't it? I would rather slow down and go back to the old way of farm life. Getting up at 5 for the milking and knocking off at dusk. Knowing that the food we eat is untainted.

LadyFi said...

Great post and wonderful photos - especially that first one!

I totally agree with you about using so many chemicals. Really, governments should stop subsidizing farms that use chemicals and start giving more money to organic farms. With these subsidies, organic food could then become cheaper.

I eat organic as much as possible.

claire p said...

The more we spray the more we need to. Sooner or later something will have to give.

Clive said...

Agree with you totally!

What is being done to the environment for the sake of greater food production is truly dreadful.

French Fancy said...

I didn't know about the horse on the beach and am staggered that yet again this is happening. Two years ago a dog died under the same circumstances.

You are far more active locally than me and quite put me to shame. Me and agricultural things do not mix and I keep my little hermetic existence quite Breton-free really. Apart from my favourite thing which is called Going to Quimper Where I Wish We Lived


♥ Braja said...

How sad....

Carol said...

I just don't think that people should mess with the food chain...they don't know what the long term effects are going to be!!! There has been a rise in people being diagnosed with all kinds of nasty things and I can't help but feel that the chemicals in our food could be a contributing factor!!

Love the photo of the farm machinery!!

C x

bindu said...

So sorry for that horse! This topic is one I can go on and on forever about. I don't even know where to begin.


We went to Lamballe this Summer and visted the National Stud Farm, home to the Breton Post Horse. A wonderful couple of hours spent in the company of a wonderful charming French lady guide :) TFx.

Val Grainger said...
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