Monday, March 9, 2009

Chateau de Tour Blanc

Well, after two weeks of the rustic french countryside, I find myself back in my city-on-the-sea, once again breathing deep the salty air.

On February 21st, Miss Smith and I found ourselves at a bus stop in the small town of Barbaton, waiting anxiously for our hosts to pick us up. What followed were two weeks of nine-hour labor-intensive days, delicious organically grown food and wine-making with the Keltons, a British family farming in the Landes department of France.

Their mantra seems to be pretty straightforward – lead a simple life, eat organically, be self-sustaining, and respect the environment. Sandra and Philip, after living in all around the world (think Portugal and Greece) found themselves in France, looking for an artist’s space with big windows. And thus Chateau de Tour Blanc was born. A few years later, the vineyards surrounding their home were up for sale, and instead of letting industrial-corn farmers buy the land, only to spray it with pesticides, the Keltons became wine-makers.

So Miss Smith and I, girls from the ‘city,’found ourselves at Chateau de Tour Blanc tending to the vines (clearing old rusted wire, attacking bramble patches) and feeding the animals (chickens, geese, sheep, and one incredible goat).

It was incredible! Sandra is an amazing cook, we made friends with their children Victor and Valentina, and we got to explore a more rustic department of France. This region is also known for Armagnac, or Brandy. Philip and Sandra were kind enough to drive us to an off-the-road, award winning distillery on one of our last days!

After not showering for two weeks, rolling what seemed to be miles of wire, rigging an electric fence and making some wonderful new friends, we returned to La Rochelle. I start work tomorrow, and while it’s good to be home, our little adventure was pretty amazing ☺

1. The electric fence your's truely built

2. Miss Engelbrecht and Miss Smith, day ten.

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