Femme de la fowl

What a great name. Women of the fowls. French.

In Italian it would translate to Le Donne del pollame. I really like the French version.

Fiona and I met in Melbourne, at NAGA (The Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action). We worked for Local Government as educators. And then very recently, at Jonai Farm in Blampied, my neighbours butchery where I heard her call out my name. She was there butchering her ducks.

How exciting I thought. How brilliant. On so many levels! She had tended to her ducks, had organised for their cull and was now sharing the facilities to butcher the meat. What a great act of community for Tammi to share her butchery with other local farmers! And for Fiona to make use of it. Travelling from the not too distant and very, very beautiful countryside of Glenlyon.

‘I want to buy duck from you I said, Oh yes, yes, yes!” I mean there is nothing more exciting… actually there are so many exciting things in my life at the moment that I’m saying that about everything…but I really love buying from people I know, people who share a similar language, and I’m not talking about ethnicity here, no, no, but the language of …well I don’t know how to described it, a cultural practice kind of language about food and ideas and our world and how we are going to address climate change kind of language.

‘Can I come and visit you?’

We arranged a date, and at her home we drank tea and talked about dams and dogs and tractors and life in the country. I grinned and smiled as she shared her pate and then we walked around Vue du Volcan, her farm. And I admired her pearly white electric fence, her creamy maremma and the ducklings gathered around the warmth of an incandescent globe.

Femme de la fowl (1 of 14)

I asked Fiona if I could photograph her hands which are beautiful.

Femme de la fowl (6 of 14)

And if she could take me on a tour of her farm.

Femme de la fowl (2 of 14)

And her vegetable garden with drip irrigation.

And her vegetable garden with drip irrigation and raised soil for improved drainage.

Femme de la fowl (4 of 14)

Her climbing peas and …

poppies.

poppies.

And Artemisia my five year old asked if we could grow some too.

And Artemisia my five year old asked if we could grow some poppies too.

The ducklings in a protected shed away from predators.

The ducklings in a protected shed away from predators.

Her creamy maremma.

Her creamy maremma.

And ducks at their different stages of growth.

And ducks at their different stages of growth.

Femme de la fowl (11 of 14)

Femme de la fowl (12 of 14)

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And gumboots for the long grass.

Gumboots and pearly white electric fencing…switched off for our visit.