Cee is looking for something farming-related this week for her Black & White Photo Challenge. This is a close-up of the business end of a very old wooden plough. Just give a thought to how labour-intensive that job must have been.
Go to any brocante or vide-grenier around these parts and you’ll find plenty of old farming utensils which would nowadays probably be classed as – and only useful for – ‘design pieces’. Almost inevitably,somewhere in the jumble will be an old set of weights – like these:
Some may recall that last October I put up some of my photographs at a local ‘Expo’ of hobbies and ‘passions’. One of the displays was a table-top homage to agriculture – still the main form of activity around here- including these models of agricultural machinery. Whether they are toys for children or adults I leave it to you to decide.
Out here in the French countryside, many things are still done as they have been for generations – working off the lunar calendar, for example. However, the local farmers are by no means averse to using technology to make their life a bit easier.
So the horses have been put out to grass and the heavy work is now done with tractors. And that’s progress.
Living, as we do, in the depths of the French countryside, it was never going to be a problem to find an image to respond to Cee’s theme for this week of ‘All Things Farm-Related’.
However, there’s only so much interest you can wring out of yet another picture of a tractor, so instead here is a landscape from just up the road. The item in the foreground is a hay feeder, used in the winter months when the sheep don’t have freshly growing grass to chew on. This photograph was taken in early summer this year, so no need for the winter silage.
We live in a very rural part of France, where agriculture remains a crucial element of the local economy.
As most farms remain family businesses, they are typically much smaller than the vast agri-industrial enterprises to be found elsewhere. Modern methods are used, of course (nobody uses a pair of horses for tilling any more, apart from at the annual ploughing competition), but there is still plenty of heritage, in the sense of evidence of the way things used to be done.
In particular, there is the open-air museum of rural life at nearby Montrol-Sénard, which includes this barn, still containing old cattle byres. There were some just like these in our own barn when we bought it, but they were too far gone and disappeared during the restoration process.