Posted by: kathandroger | March 5, 2010

Gendarmes, tools and the scorched earth.

What a lovely day yesterday. Gentle spring sunshine, a soft breeze and the birds singing. Just right for a bonfire! In fact we managed five bonfires but only four were intended.

Before starting the incendiaries I noticed thousands of beetles on our big lime tree in the yard. I know there are forty fousand fevers on a frushes froat, but there must have been more than forty fousand on our tree!! They are called Gendarmes in France, I have no idea why, but they love lime trees and ours must be particularly attractive. The sun was out and I guess they were looking for the first rays of summer.

I started the first fire and was poking about with my pitchfork when I suddenly realised what a wonderful tool it was. Funny how little things enter the mind, and then I realised that I have some other local tools that are equally as wonderful! All three here have been found lying about without handles and obviously unloved and discarded, but little did they realise that they would, all three of them, be wonderfully resurrected. One new bought handle, one of English ash, and one from our local acacia wood, and here they are looking content in the spring sunshine.

Back to the fires. We are clearing the back field before getting some lambs in the next couple of months; the land had been neglected for many years and the grass and weeds needed to be cut back and burned. I cut some of it a few weeks ago but it was too wet to burn, but yesterday was perfect. Kath wanted a go at the Allen scythe and did very well for a girl, but she really excelled at getting the piles of dry grass to burn and we had a lovely time with cutting and raking and burning. Simple things for simple minds and I love it! The only problem was when the fire got out of control and started to spread across the field. The wind was changing direction and fires were springing up all around. Thanks to our dancing classes I was able to spring  joyfully in my wellies from one flame to another, putting out little fires in a merry tango. Kath meanwhile was bashing flames with a rake, which didn’t work half as well. She was convinced that I would set my boots on fire but I explained that my flashing feet were much too quick for that! All settled eventually and the fire actually did a better job at clearing the foliage than we did-if the grass ever grows again that is. We are off to do the final bit today.


  1. We think Roger is becoming a poet !Loved his descriptions of dancing among the flames !Those daning lessons certainly came in handy .Great stuff !!

  2. bien sur que Roger est un poète et il sera bientôt un acteur ….

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