Steph & Chris Dagg run Notaires & Alder carp lakes in France. Through this personal Blog, Steph is going to describe her experiences of moving to France and living the dream of many UK carp anglers.
Here at Les Fragnes, home to Notaire’s and Alder Carp Lakes, we’re taking our drive for self-sufficiency in meat and veg seriously. Chris has been busy butchering over the last few days and I had a liver to use, so I had my first stab at homemade liver paté. I chose an ultra simple recipe. It involved frying a chopped onion in butter, adding the chopped liver, pepper, nutmeg and herbs, and I threw in some walnuts for luck. Once the liver was cooked I added some cream and whizzed everything in the food blender and voilà, suprisingly good paté. In future I’ll store up all the livers from the poultry. We’d previously been giving them to the cats. No longer!
Monsieur le Président of the local hunting club turned up yesterday with three large lumps of venison for us, so we now have a very well-stocked freezer meat wise. Our supply of frozen pumpkins never seems to get any less, so today I was trying out apple and pumpkin crumble. It’s interesting, shall we say. I don’t think it will catch on. Actually, I think the problem may be that I used raw pumpkin with stewed apple. I vaguely remember reaching the ‘s*d-it, I-hate-pumpkin’ stage when I was processing the citrouilles last year, and lobbing a few bags of uncooked chunks into the freezer instead of cooking them first. I’m not a high ranking domestic goddess. And my laziness has caught up with me.
The cold killed off all my seedlings in the polytunnel sadly, but we’ll start again. We’re in the process of preparing a raised bed in there. We put the wooden frame in place yesterday and put down a layer of geotex (our builder got the wrong stuff in for our fosse septique, which was responsible for it being failed the first time – it took five goes to get it approved.) On top of that we’ve put cardboard as an extra weed suppressing barrier.
Today we’ve been transporting lots of compost in my brand new wheelbarrow (an early 50th birthday present I’ve been told!) to the bed. It will take several more sessions to fill it, but we’re on the way. The plan is to grow tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, radishes, cucumbers and other salad and delicate veg in there and keep ourselves fully provided for. We have a kiwi tree in there too.
We’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first lambs and we’re in the process of tracking down some pigs, preferably Gloucester Old Spots or Berkshires. We also have our eye on some Limousin Cul-Noirs (black-bottomed pigs). They’re very slow growing so they’ll be a long term project. We need some other weaners to fatten up quickly for this autumn. However, there seem to be a lot of time wasters out there who advertise pigs for sale, but when you make contact, it turns out they haven’t actually got any. A few people have also told us we need to be registered to keep pigs before they can sell us any. That’s nonsense, and all the pig-keeping forums say as much. Anyone can buy a few pigs to fatten up and eat. It’s only if you start supplying meat into the food chain that any sort of agricultural rules and regulations have to be obeyed.
Chris fell in love with pigs on his pig experience course so we’re very frustrated at finding it so hard to get our hands on some. But we’ll keep trying.
Carp Fishing in France at Alder