This rather impressive pile of muck is typical of the often steaming heaps of winter cattle shed sweepings that sit in fields all over the Touraine, waiting to be spread as fertilizer. Farmers here make huge quantities of straw, hay, silage and haylage and cattle are generally housed for the winter months, munching through the feed made during the summer and producing big piles of fertilizer in the form of their straw bedding mixed with cow pats. Some muck spreading is done in the spring, but it is also done in high summer. Travelling between Richelieu and Châtellerault can be an interesting olfactory experience in August. The pong seeping through the car vents and windows alternates between the very warm ripe melons sitting in the fields awaiting harvest and the smell of equally warm and ripe manure which has been newly flicked all over the earth of those fields that have already been cleared.
PS Cattle dung in French is not merde, it is bouse, but the temptation to start a blog post with 'Merde !' was too much for me.