It has been a very busy year at Notaires with new pigs arriving, new sheep and a surprise delivery of baby alpaca – llama crosses (huarizos).
Here at Notaire’s lakes we have 75 acres of lakes, woods and fields in one of the quietest areas of France. This makes for a unique holiday experience; the calm, quiet atmosphere is appreciated as a counterpoint to the busy modern life in England. If you stretch your legs round some of the hidden fields you could well catch sight of deer or boar as well as buzzards, kestrels and sparrow hawks.
We decided that we wanted to add an element of self-sufficiency but with very low impact. As a result our smallholding is like an old fashioned farm with a few pigs, sheep, turkeys and chickens (OK and a herd of llamas, but they are just for fun)! Around the farm (in addition to the swings and swimming pool) the farm animals are a source of great interest for children.
Brendan the alpaca was allowed to stay in the girls’ field after he ‘grew up’ as they would spit him off whenever he made an advance, but in the heat of the night, one by one they succumbed to his blandishments (hence the story of the brown bear jumping on the back of a llama that one of our visiting anglers told us) and now we have a new flock of very cute brown huarizos, the offspring of a llama mother and alpaca father. Brendan and the other male alpacas will soon be getting a special visit from the vets.
This year we have a small flock of Suffolk and Charolais sheep (I thought that Charolais were cows but they are also a race of ovines). It turns out that the Charolais – Suffolk cross is a very good meat sheep, but that is more fortune than planning. Lambo the hand raised lamb is growing up to be the ram for the herd. Oscar the llama is the boss of this flock as having a llama in with the sheep protects the young lambs from foxes. The Suffolks have a black face and the Charolais have a light face; strangely one of ours has a pink face and always seems to be scowling at me.
Our pedigree Berkshire pigs have settled in well and are always keen to eat any vegetable scraps that guests have spare. Oberon the boar was a little unhappy after being separated from the girls but settled down after being given extra treats and tummy rubs. All being well Oberon should be siring the next generation of Berkshires on the farm in the spring and guests will be able to meet the piglets. The Berkshires are a heritage breed but are becoming increasingly popular as consumers tire of watery supermarket pork and are looking for meat with natural fat levels and flavor as often advocated by TV chefs.
The turkeys are full size now and the dominant male is strutting his stuff trying to impress the other turkeys. A black turkey doing his turkey dance while waving his wattles is quite a sight. It’s a bit ‘redneck’ but few people can resist doing turkey calls to make the male gobble back and dance.
The carp are also growing well and the lake record has been broken twice this year, currently standing at 43lbs 10oz.
Fishing Holidays at Notaires