Cart death…..

farm_cart_LaM_0282La Moussiere is slowly dying and I’ve only just noticed. It’s not particularly sad, as everything in our world is doing the same thing at its own rate, but I was disappointed in myself for being so unobservant, so unfeeling. Its current state of health was brought to my attention by a photographic brief for the cover of a psychological thriller. It specified pictures of old, dilapidated farms  and out buildings in a Northern European setting. As chance would have it, fulfilment of this brief entailed going out of our house into the lane, pointing my camera in any direction and pressing the shutter button. I have no reason to believe that my pictures will be the ones that the commissioning art director has in his mind, but they certainly opened my eyes.barn_wall_yellow_0261

A little more than eleven years ago we arrived here from a life in a huge city. This tiny hamlet was made up of two dairy farms, one beef farm,  a small holding, the house we had bought, another ruin (now our current house) and eight souls – the two of us made it ten. Over the years we adapted to this total change of pace and found a new home. This winter, for the first time, the silence became deafening. The animals have gone, save for the dairy herd at the end of the lane. Two farmers have retired and the smallholding lies empty due to the death of the farmer and the subsequent departure of his wife to the bosom of her family, elsewhere.Barn_side_view_0312

Buildings that were old, yet fully practical, are now just old. Empty farm buildings have a slightly disturbing nature. The warmth, noise and steam of gentle creatures masks the harsh practicality of these structures, which are no more than holding pens leading to the slaughter house. This desolate feeling is even more apparent on a cold, grey day. I miss the noise of the animals and the farm machinery. What had become our bustling metropolis has fallen silent and we must now adapt to that.empty_cattle_barn_0299

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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28 Responses to Cart death…..

  1. Tandy says:

    And village of 10 people would suit me perfectly 🙂

  2. Too bad. What we get instead is industry producing food, or “food”, with less animal welfare and less quality. We need farmers!

  3. It can be frightening when it really hits home that we are ‘not in charge’ and that things around us can change drastically at a moments notice, or – if we are lucky over a long period of time. We had a shock like that when a couple of years ago we found out that in our absence, our neighbors had accumulated in excess of a hundred cats who were using our backyard as a sandbox, and had eaten or chased away all the birds for which the area was famous, and on and on……Hopefully the pendulum will swing a little and you will have equilibrium restored!

  4. I hate change like this. Great bustling buildings, albeit buildings bustling with cows, now lying silent. I do hope some new agricultural blood comes along to breathe new life into it all.

  5. ChgoJohn says:

    Is there anything more desolate than an abandoned farm? It’s tragic, really. I hope the land finds owners once again.

  6. In a lot of areas of South Carolina, we have ruined structures like these. One of my friends paints them. A few more have gone back to the land to farm because of the popularity of community supported agriculture here. I hope that trend continues, and even spreads.

  7. Sounds a lot like where we live in Spain, It would be lovely to find a balance of people who want to come in and work the land without “yuppifying” it to death. beautiful, sad photos.

  8. So beautifully written.

  9. Eha says:

    I wonder how much such changes affect one’s own peace of mind and joy in life . . .

  10. Ros Long says:

    This made me think Roger.
    Ugo and I have some photos of the wonderful cows that were near you when we stayed with you a few years ago. How sad!

  11. Mad Dog says:

    That’s a great shame – I think smaller farms keep people in touch with the land and animals.

  12. Sometimes change is melancholy. Your photos are beautiful and hopefully someone will want to move there and carry on the traditions of farming.

  13. Karen says:

    It is very sad to see the small farms and their building disappearing. Each winter a few barns are lost around here because the farmers either can’t afford to fix them or don’t use them and they decline until they collapse.

  14. What a great old barn. I like to eroded yellow paint on the bricks.

  15. Charming post, even though it is a bit melancholy. When we lived in England, it was on a working farm – livery and grain farming. Shortly before we left, they were in the process of closing the livery. As you describe, the quiet was unsettling. I realized that part of the beauty of the farm was the racket – machinery and livestock. You’ve captured this feeling so nicely in your words and beautiful photos.

  16. cecilia says:

    Oh God, i know what you mean, am surrounded in empty dying barns, with nothing but ghosts to hold them together, here there used to be a SCHOOL every two miles, on the corners, tiny schools everywhere, I cannot even imagine that many people here.. all gone now.. but there must be a way, I refuse to believe that people like me are a dying breed.. after all you and i are So YOUNG! You will just have to get farming roger.. I will send you one of charlottes babies to start you off (that is if she is even pregnant, i was never sure about that boar fella! No-one likes a Bore. ) c

  17. Michelle says:

    Beautiful shots, Roger. But very sad.

  18. I enjoyed the look at your little hamlet, even though it is a bit sad to see this type of place die.

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