Solognote Sheep, Le Petite Ferme, and Bourges

We hit the road early today on our first official day of the post-Congress tour. We had a lot of distance to cover and things to see as you can tell from the title of this post!

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Our first stop was to visit a flock of Solognote sheep that they brought up along the river for us to see. They are local to the area. Do they look at all familiar? I thought we had found the French cousin to the CA Red!

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We all wanted to get as close as we could.

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They are very beautiful sheep, with the lambs being born dark and then lightening as adults.

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Like all lambs, they hang out with each other….

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…and catch a quick snack when they can!

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Your French word for the day is “bise” which describes the color of their fleece. This color adds value to their fleece as they are the only sheep in France with the color.

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Each day we meet with the people in charge of the flocks and receive pertinent information through the translating of our guide, Pierre. We are getting used to,watching his megaphone is we move from place to place!

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Here are a few facts:

– the breed is several centuries old and it numbered around 500,000 ewes in the 17th and 18th centuries, dropping to about 300 in the 1970’s before rebounding to its current level of 3500 ewes.

– wool (greasy) sells for 0.7 Euros/kilo

– they are grazing 2000 acres with 1600 sheep

– breeders get use of land for free but must manage it

-these flocks are managed in the transhumance way – moving sheep through the state-owned land with no fences. Grazing is the best way to protect the biodiversity of the region.

– “the shepherd is the fence”, sleeping in a caravan near his flock

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Leaving these sheep was hard, even in the rain…

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…but we had to move on to eat lunch at

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The little farm. They are part of a program where farms use at least 55% of their own products to prepare what they serve, with the rest coming from other local producers. They served us a wonderful meal, including lamb and cheese they make themselves (all the food in France has been fantastic and fresh).

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They also sell their cheese in a little shop on the farm (guess what I had for breakfast the next day?!)

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Leaving the farm, we move on to the historic town of Bourges, which was the capital of France for 20 years during the 100 Year War with England. It is the home of a cathedral which is a contemporary to Notre Dame.

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The outside architecture was amazingly detailed

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And the stained glass windows seen from the inside were colorful and told so many stories ( we had a guide to explain some of it to us)

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There is a little bit more to this story but I am having some connectivity issues and will try to get you the rest of it tomorrow. Stay tuned!!!

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Published in: on May 23, 2014 at 10:41 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for bringing us along with you through your blog. It is all awesome!

  2. Jackie, these sheep are really quite beautiful with such expressive faces. Ditto the cathedral!


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