12 November 2021


Our house is completely surrounded by fields.

All the fields right next to the house are owned by a farmer who lives in the next village.  The set of fields next to them are owned by two other different farmers.  They all tackle the harvest at slightly different times, the furthest to the east being the first and ours being the last.  This means that we usually have a bit of a warning when it's about to happen chez nous.

This is something we need to know!

We need to know because it makes a lot of mess!  The first time it happened we were out and got home to find everything covered in a thick coating of dust and chaff.  Fortunately the weather is often quite breezy where we live and the wind will soon blow the worst of it away.  Unfortunately we found out the hard way how much dust it creates inside the house if we leave any windows open.  

On 1st August this year we heard the tell-tale rumble of our farmer's old and trusty combine harvester in the distance.  He always begins with the fields furthest from our house.  That gave us time to whizz round closing doors and windows and stacking garden furniture and other bits and pieces in the barn.  If you have ever wondered how long it takes to clean up chairs and tables and remove dust and straw from candle holders and tealights just ask!

By the time he approached the back of the house everything was put away in readiness and Daisy was ensconced on the highest shelf in the wardrobe!    

The machine makes an unbelievable amount of noise as it rattles past the back of the house within a few feet of our ancient walls, although I suspect it's also the vibration that makes Daisy go into hiding.  Hugo isn't usually bothered too much but we keep him indoors, as an eyeful of the horrible dust or chaff would not do him any good at all.

When we bought the house we understood that the fields were owned by the commune and that they might sell us a strip of land around the perimeter.  It turned out that the land is actually owned by our friendly farmer, right up to the hedge and walls themselves.   As it happens he leaves a wide pathway uncultivated around the house itself so that we have constant access to our walls and boundary.

We did ask if he might be willing to sell us a strip but he replied that for legal reasons he was unable to do so.  It's a mixed blessing.  It would have been nice to have a bit of space between us and the crops but more land would mean more work in looking after it.  Luckily the number of days per year when we have to batten down the hatches and take cover doesn't amount to very many and we have learned to live with it.  The peace and quiet that comes from being surrounded by farmland is wonderful and so many of the houses that we looked at before we bought this one had noisy neighbours and outdoor dogs that were constantly barking.

All the farmers seem to plant the same crop, alternating between wheat and rape every year.  This year was slightly different, some of the further fields being planted with sunflowers, a joy to behold.  

Bon weekend !!


  1. "Unfortunately we found out the hard way how much dust it creates inside the house if we leave any windows open...."

    And that Jean is why the inside of our open barn / Hangar has a constant layer of brown dust!! As does the inside of the barn / Grange proper [the tiles stop diddly squit.... including the wrong sort of snow... had snow up to 1cm deep in the grange and not a sign of it in the hangar!] Same with our house roof!!
    Until we were re-roofed, that was also the same tale up in the grenier of the longère... but the membrane Loic put under the tiles has stopped all that!

    And they must plant three crops, not two... so you are probably getting some barley as well as wheat.

    1. Tim, I thought so, that the rotations has to be three crops not two. I'm not sure I can tell the difference, I'm sorry to say!
      Filling in the gap below the roof of our barn and lining the roof with a membrane is on our list of jobs!

  2. I suppose it comes with the comfort they are producing food.

    1. Michael, our farmer is very friendly and considerate, it would be possible to have a much more dismal experience of living in the middle of his field if he wasn't!