On Friday I had the less than pleasant job of moving a large pile of pig poo from the pig pens to the garden where it will be spread on vacant plots to fertilise them. As I trundled back and forth pushing the wheelbarrow it got me thinking about the interrelatedness of animals, the garden and our lives here at Eco-Gites of Lenault. In fact all the animals have a reason for being here and serve a purpose.
The PigsWe breed our own Kune Kune pigs and so at this time of year we have the breeding animals and the piglets who are being fattened up for the freezer. All of these provide us with a veritable small mountain of wonderful manure than enables our veggies to grow strong and healthy ... and keep me fit barrowing it from the pig pens to the garden!
|Coco - a mobile manure machine|
The SheepWe don't breed sheep any more after our ram got somewhat aggressive towards me but we buy in sheep in the spring for either slaughter or selling on in early winter. In the meantime they make great grass mowers!
|Sheep aka grass mowers|
The Chickens and DucksWe have 2 distinct types of chickens and ducks here, those for meat and those for eggs. Since first having them over 7 years ago we have never had to buy meat or eggs. Thank you for that our feathered friends. Oh and their manure is also great for the garden.
|Our egg layers|
The CatsWhen Henry came with us from England it is true to say he was purely a pet. However it wasn't long before he realised that living in rural Normandy meant MICE :) .... actually it meant more mice than he could possibly cope with so we gradually increased our cat numbers up to four. They really are pretty good at their job keeping mice numbers down and only failed in the polytunnel this year when the flippin' mice stole all the early seeds I sowed. In defence of the cats, though, the doors were shut and the cats couldn't get in there to do their job. I wonder if I can fit a cat flap in the doors to reduce this problem next winter?
|It's tiring work all this mousing!|
The DogsI did originally wonder if Harry and Saari had a purpose other than to ensure we have to go for a walk every day, what-ever the weather but then a car pulled up and they both barked! Of course ... both Harry and Saari make an excellent early warning system for the arrival of anyone here. They also serve a slightly more subtle role in that I am sure (touch wood) that because they wander all around the grounds they help keep foxes away, this keeping our poultry safer.
|Visitor early warning systems and fox defenders|
There you have it - all our animals have a purpose including feeding us, keeping us safe, fertilising the garden, keeping us fit and one I have forgotten to add but that is applicable to all - bringing a smile to our faces. Rarely does a day pass when some animal or other doesn't make us chuckle ... from a very irate Henry trying to get on the seat where Simon was to a pig in season stomping round the field with a severe case of PMT ... oh and not forgetting piggy tummy tickles, canine cuddles and feline furriness. It's lovely to have out animals around and even better that they all have a role to play.
|Tickling a pig|
Do any animals in your life have a role in your life? Please do drop us a comment below. And for more animal-type blog posts do click on the Animal Tales picture below and scroll down to find links to some lovely Animal Tales.