Monday, August 17, 2009

A Medieval Village............

This weekend we decided to visit a medieval village not too far from our temporary home. The village of Lann Gouh is dated approximately 900 AD. It has been the subject of archaeological excavations and turned into an interesting tourist attraction with reconstruction of the buildings and gardens.
There is quite of lot of things to see and I was fascinated with the gardens. Plants with which I am so familiar, just have to learn their French names. There are culinary herbs such as borage and mint and many others which we still use so much in our cooking today. The herbs used for dyeing, flowers for fragrance as well as a hemp for clothing. Do not get excited this is not the narcotic form of the plant and is still grown for many uses today including textiles, paper and I was interested to learn, biodegradable plastic. I found hops and artemisia (absinthe), gilly flowers, violets and periwinkles.
The past few months I have commented on the farming around us here in Brittany. I have managed quite easily to identify all the crops grown with the exception of large fields of strange plants with small flowers which I have never seen before. On exploring the medieval garden I discovered that this is buckwheat, used to make pancakes in France. Having been interested in herbs and their cultivation for the past forty something years, I really enjoyed this part of the visit.
The animals are as near as possible to the breeds that would have been around at that time, small black sheep, cows, goats with amazing long horns and colourful chickens.
The wood and thatched houses were of interest, the one that caught my attention had a barred entrance making me think it was prison for misbehaviour. On close examination and by the smell I think the goats are shut in there at night!
This beautiful toadstool just had to be photographed, 'tho I had to climb over a dry stone wall at great risk to life and limb to get a close up picture. I have noticed quite a few mushrooms on our excursions in recent weeks, most probably edible but as I am not an expert best left well alone.

The houses have plants growing on the roof. House leeks have been grown on roofs for centuries and provided much needed year round food. It was also believed that the house leek protected the house from storms and lightning and prevent evil spirits from entering the house. Taller iris plants also had their use for patching the roof and as rushes on the floor.
This is a gargoyle from yet another old church, this time in Pontivy just across from the doctor's rooms, one of the two very large cathedral buildings in the town. I would love one of these carvings for my garden..............
It is mid August and already I am seeing signs of autumn in some of the trees. The leaves are just slightly turning colour and of course the farming activities have accelerated. The wheat fields have been cropped of the top part which is taken to the mill for further processing and the lower down section is rolled up into bales for fodder for the animals in winter. All so neat and tidy.

All the farming in Brittany is having a somewhat detrimental affect on the ecology. On the BBC news website I read that this part of France has a high concentration of farming and the overuse of fertilizers leaching into the rivers is causing problems.
The wretched mosquitoes are still causing problems, I have resorted to closing up early in the evening and using those dreadful chemical mats. Sitting typing my blog this evening I have done battle with about six of the little beasties. So no open windows at night with the fans on as it does get extremely stuffy. I bought some citronella oil blocks which do not seem to do very much.
Time to prepare dinner and stitch bears.

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

1 comment:

Southern Bears said...

Hi Wendy

Thanks for showing all these very interesting things and good luck with the "mozzies".

Pat xx


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