|Cured bacon from the market in St. Marie-aux-Mines, the little Alsatian town where my great-grandmother lived. I discovered from the Archives that my family lived there since 1675 at least.|
|A really wonderful duck pate en croute. It had three different layers, and raisins and almonds in aspic on top.|
|This was the ladder up to the hayloft where we slept. We got five mattresses up this thing.|
|Blood Sausage - it was really good. I want to learn to make it.|
|Some kind of cool wild flower. My dad probably told me what it's called, but I can't remember.|
|The boldest sheep.|
|Looking at the sheep with Bernard. I felt bad he didn't have more for us to do.|
|Purple columbines in the meadow|
|All around was meadow with beautiful, forested mountains all around. Lovely views.|
|Me standing by the stone water trough with a bowl to pick nettles for lunch|
We didn't do too much yesterday, mainly the drive from Aurore's to Bernard's sheep farm where we're WWOOFing for the next few days. The drive was pretty smooth and uneventful, traffic wise, but except for the middle part on le autoroute was pretty hairy. First we had to come down out of the Alps, and then we had to go up into what I think are the Vosges. The goat track up to Bernard's farm wasn't even on the GPS or the Google maps we printed out, but we managed to drive straight there anyway. I think we must have good dirt-track-to-middle-of-
karma. We were a little worried about the WWOOFing, since sometimes
they have people stay in a wiki up or teepee, but it's really nice.
We're staying in a room in the hay loft. We covered the floor in
mattresses so it's just like home with the super wide bed. The only
thing it doesn't have is heat. We all froze last night until we got up
and put on all our clothes.
It's incredibly beautiful here, and the wild strawberries are just ripening. Bernard's three daughters have been really nice and have taken to the kids. So far all the work we have had to do is cook dinner last night, and we're on the hook for lunch today. He uses the same netting we use, and his other fences are familiar, too. We'll get to move fences with him later and see how he does it. Between his limited English and the tiny bit of French I've picked up it's hard to talk shop, though.
We spent yesterday roving around Bernard's farm. For a couple hours in the afternoon Angie and I went with Bernard to move his sheep in the various pastures he rents up and down the valley. It is almost exactly the same as at our farm, except instead of the oak branches making it hard, it's the hillside, and finding a place with few enough rocks to get a post in. Marc spent the day rambling and went through both camera batteries. Angie has been cooking for everyone, and Bernard's daughters looked very surprised that everything tasted really good. I think they have had some WWOOFers who can't cook. There has been hardly anything to cook with, mostly just potatoes and onions, with a bit of prosciutto like ham. We have eked it out with some of the wild nettles and dandelion greens. Mathilde ate three bowls of the nettle soup last night. They seem to trust Angie's cooking now, because Bernard came back from Ste-Marie-aux-Mines yesterday with tons of groceries and is defrosting a leg of lamb for dinner tonight, and we have mutton sausages for lunch. We're going to the market in Ste-Marie-aux-Mines now, so here's some pictures. They're all pretty self explanatory, but the one at the bottom is Angie be the water trough in front of Bernard's house. The whole thing is carved from one block of stone and is constantly fed by a trickling spring that has been piped down the mountain.
Saturday was our last day at Bernard's. In the morning we went to the market in Ste-Marie-aux-Mines. It took us a while to find it, but we got a nice tour of the town while we were looking for it. We might have gone a little overboard, but it was okay, since we felt like we ate more than we worked at Bernard's. The charcuterie stall was amazing and we got a couple different types of pate en croute, one duck, one chicken, a cured blood sausage, and a truly cured bacon that didn't need refrigerated. We loaded up with that and some vegetables and bread and went back to Bernard's. There was an exciting moment in the way home when said "If we want to go the back way to Bernard's, turn here". But Angie heard "turn here", and we had to turn around with a twenty point turn on the side of the mountain.
We made it back the usual way, which is crazy enough by itself, and had lunch with Bernard and his girlfriend Nadine and son Paulo, who was home for the weekend. He is in the French version of the 10th Mountain Division. After lunch Mirin played with the dog, Schmoozie, and we helped Bernard catch some sheep that he was selling to a couple from down in the valley. They were vegetarians who just wanted them to keep their grass short. We were all driving up to the pasture and got to the turn where Bernard would go half way around, back up, put on the parking brake, shift into first, gun the engine, release the brake, and peel out up the mountain with a cloud of stones flying out behind us, when the lady buying the sheep said "These aren't moutons, they are chamois!" We caught the sheep and helped Bernard hobble them so the couple could drive them home in their tiny little Peugeot hatchback.