Las Laous

Trip Start May 22, 2009
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Trip End Feb 16, 2010


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Flag of France  , Midi-Pyrénées,
Sunday, October 4, 2009

The trek into the house was about a kilometer from the main road and post box.  A tiny gravel track has no room for mistakes as it snakes it’s way down a steep hill.  Hairpin turns soo sharp that you need to stop and do a 3-point (sometimes 5) to get around them. 

The house is an old French Farmhouse which they have restored and expanded.  Evidence of the old bread oven still exists and is built into the décor.  A full house with the new 3 month old twin girls there’s always something going on!  The property is littered with other old stone buildings and building remains.  Out beside the house is a charming terraced garden built up the steep slope. 

Gaston pigs are raised ‘free range’ in large forest parks.  They are amazingly happy with natural springs, mud to wallow in and trees to uproot.  Currently 3 parks are being used:  the sow park (Winnie, Ella and Fatima as well as the infamous boar Shaft), the porker park has 8, and the wiener park has 13.  All 3 sows are pregnant so those numbers will be changing very soon. 

In addition to the pigs, there are 9 chickens (half laying half meat) and a rooster, 5 cows and a calf (again 2 are pregnant), and some goats which I’ve never seen.  Part of communal living in the Pyrenees entitles each commune to certain areas in the higher mountains where everyone can graze their animals.  Rather than ‘owners’ of land, these people see themselves of ‘guardians and caretakers’ of the land with the notion that no one really ‘owns’ the land - it’s there for all use. 

During this stay we’re looking forward to learning how to care for all of these animals, general farm labour, numerous renovation projects on the house, harvesting the garden and getting ready for winter!
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