The Swamp, The DMZ and Instincts.

North, over the perimeter fence to our property the land is in essence wild. There is a pool about half the size of our pond which backs on to le Jaudy. When the river level rises the pool, affectionately known as the swamp, gets filled. It is very overgrown and the mud in the pool is a nice shade of black, with hints of Mordor. It is largely covered by foliage. In a previous life the water from the pond was used to wash the floors of the nearby abattoir {no longer in existence}. There is an old, slightly macabre, pump shed on the edge of the pool with three industrial grade pumps and a rusted electrical distribution board. {These may feature photographically in due course}

There are many fallen or partially fallen trees.  The wild growth impinges on our perimeter fence and causes problems. All sorts of stuff grows through the fence. As part of maintenance, we need to trim this.

So, this year we are adopting a different strategy and that is to cut a foliage free zone, a demilitarized zone or DMZ between our fence and the wilderness on the wilderness side. It is/was a bit like a jungle. Over the last couple of days, I have been the other side of the fence with my saw and my hand scythe. As a by product of creating the DMZ we can harvest some wood for next year’s needs. The ground is very uneven, and I have been working with a hand saw. My hips are, as a consequence, sore. I am aching all over, no need for posing in Lycra down the gym. I am not a MAMIL after all. I estimate that I have cleared around 60metres in two sessions with a further 90metres to go.

Standing there close to the swamp and in thick undergrowth all my childhood instincts from Africa and Australia said, “Golf Tango Foxtrot Oscar Oscar Tango”. Get out of there. Because there be snakes and crocodiles and spiders. Making all that noise next to a swamp will call a salty or a croc. Does that pond remind you of the croc pool at Mita Hills? …Yep, it sure does…

My rational mind kicks in. This is France, old chap, they don’t have crocs and black mambas…Ah but what if they escaped and learned to live in the mild climate? What was that noise?

It was only the wife the other side of the fence.

It was funny to feel my instincts go all hyper alert, on bundu or jungle setting, just by stepping the other side of our fence and into the “swamp”.

Where I was working today, in the exact same spot, I have previously seen a magnificent stag, with whom I had a staring contest.

If we complete the DMZ it should last for two to three years and we can probably get 2-3 cubic metres of firewood, much of it already dry.

I may need a day off though; I will have to see how sore everything is tomorrow…

Perhaps some photos to illustrate…

Hmnn…