Free Food! Free Food! Free Food!


(The sky last night and that’s a small plane up there)

I want to walk every day after breakfast while I’m here, just for twenty minutes, a budding exercise routine. So this morning I got up a bit earlier than usual (to let the girls out) and went out the back gate and down another lane. It’s a farm lane I’m guessing, because it’s not paved but perfect for walking. Unusual for my experience of France the lane is bounded by ditches and sometimes hedges of trees. They are old trees, like oak and horse-chestnut. Beyond these are crops still growing, like sunflower or wheat. There are also newly cut fields and there’s one ploughed field.


(Droopy headed sunflowers as far as the eye can see)

On my way back I decided to pick up some cooking apples. Now, I’m talking literally “pick up” – from the ground. Before Mara left she showed me an apple tree in the next field, it didn’t seem to belong to anyone, she said, no one was picking up the windfalls. So we did and this morning I did. I felt very oddly excited by the fact that I would not have to exchange some coins for this bounty. And I wasn’t just taking them because they were lying around I have a plan.


(Little blue butterfly)

Each day I’ve been making little treats for the hens with the bits and pieces of leftover food from our table. This always includes some bread because the bread seems to go stale very quickly. But hard stale bread seemed a poor gift so I was softening it with some warm milk. It gets lovely and mushy… and that’s when I remembered Bread and Butter Pudding. I used to love that as a child and I often have fond memories of it, I even asked my mother for the recipe once but never made it – there’s milk in it, I don’t like milk! Despite that I still like the idea of it and I love the memory of it, warm and comforting, mmmmm.


(The apple shop)

So, I’m going to make a different version of Bread and Butter Pudding. I’m usually not good at making up recipes – I worry that it’ll be awful and after all the hard work I’ll have to throw it out. No problem here – the hens eat everything, even stuff that seems really yuck. And I’d be throwing out the bread anyway (to the hens!) and the apples were free and… and it might be a good time to let go of worrying about getting something wrong! So my version will have stale bread, cooking apples, rice milk and cinnamon. Oh and eggs, of course eggs, the other thing we can just “pick up” here. Oh and blackberries, yum.


(Soon to be Bread and Apple Pudding)

There’s one small problem, I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to start, we’ve eaten all the bread. Hang on, there’s another problem… I don’t know if it’s ethically sound to offer cooked eggs to hens?


(Oh and free drying too)

From a cloudy with sunny spells back garden in France, Mairead.