There is a widow who lives in a castle. We were lifting each other up to peer over the fence. The german shepard came barking at us. Guess what she did? She kindly came out and gave us a tour!
There was a chicken that was healthy, many old historic buildings and equipment, and a 'source' of water that had once been enjoyed by Joan of Arc (Jeanne D'Arc) and her horse! But the most amazing thing was how she treated my boy after he got stung with nettles. I had told him to ignore it, because there was nothing to do. She instructed us to take the leaf of another plant that was under our feet and rub it on the nettles. I did it and it helped, but she knelt down and showed us how to crush the leaf to get more juice and rub it. It felt better instantly!
These are wooden shoes, or 'sabots'. They were in the widow's historical collection. I know someone who made them. He is eighty-five years old and is a shoemaker. He worked day and night to raise four children and pay for the education of the youngest two. They lived in a small house until he had a long hospitalization and extensive surgery for tuberculosis. After that, the family always lived in a small apartment, and he kept making shoes.
This is the sewing machine for the shoes
These are the wooden forms for making the shoes
The tool on the left is for holding the shoe for hammering the heel, the middle is for making holes for the shoelaces to go through
Here is an example of his work
Although this tool is for putting design into leather, feel the energy of the hand. You won't see the hand of a master craftsman like this for a long time. Or feel the energy.
Here are sold old tools, and again, feel the energy of this hand
The clarity of mind, the force of spirit, the connection to the land and to his trade of this man was remarkable. Did you know that in apartments in France, if any building is over five stories tall (one rez de chausse and four living floors) there has to be an elevator? Well, the shoemaker lives on the second floor. He has to climb up and down one flight to floor one and another to his floor every day! Can you imagine moving day on those stairs??? Anyhow, he stopped riding his bike ('velo') five years ago at eighty. And he still works his garden. I went there yesterday and after we picked fruits and vegetables, we had crepes under a shade at a table. I felt like the Renoir painting, 'Luncheon of the Boating Party'!
This is just one small bed of the large garden that has two shacks, a pump, a toilet, a kitchen, and a bedroom. He says they live there three months out of the year! All of the growing plants are watered by hand, either from collected rainwater or the pump that pumps by hand.
I noticed a theme with him. Look at this land (as we drove by), it used to be farmed. Now it is vacant. The young people are really missing out!
I agree. He is accustomed to hard physical work, and as a result he is in the best shape, physically and mentally, I have ever seen for someone his age. His doctor says although he has health problems, let him garden. His children often come to assist. But the vitality and joy of living? It was off the scales compared to those I work with in the hospital. I had to take note of it and share it with you.
This is the neighbor's garden. There is a waiting list for the garden space. It is rented annually for a very low price. I have eaten the tomatoes and cucumber from this garden the whole trip in France. If you haven't grown anything, you might want to give it a try. It's fun!
It is also a way to connect to others who enjoy plants. I have always been around a garden due to my mother's side of the family. I know all of the plants by sight, and know the names in Italian, English, and now, French.
Aloha and Mahalo,