What's good for the goose...
Country Life UK|September 29, 2021
On a soft September morning, John Lewis-Stempel turns his attention to the farm’s Toulouse geese, which need to get fat on the latest flush of grass
John Lewis-Stempel

THE larks stopped their morning singing back in July, so it is a case of up with the Maran cockerel. Unlike the wild birds, Robespierre, ‘The Terror of the Farmyard’, never fails to announce the dawn. He works 365. Mist across the fields and valley; but, behind the soft lace veil, the electric anticipation of September, the month that is the advance guard of winter, yet when grass has a second springtime. It is only the feebleness of the pinky-grey cells of the human brain that reduces Nature to a set of four separate seasons; yesterday, swallows hawked insects in leaf-stripper wind; thus, summer and autumn in one swirling moment. The geese need to get fat and to get fat they need to get out on this ‘flush’ of grass, hence my first duty this September dawn is opening the door of their wheeled, wooden shed.

We have farmed geese on and off for 20 years, and are currently ‘on’, with a small flock of Toulouse, that old French breed famed for being the force-fed provider of foie gras. More to our taste is that Toulouse are reasonable layers and, if they don’t beget golden eggs, they do beget white eggs about which cooks rave. Then, there is their grease, plus their down and, of course, their bodies, which we roast with Port-wine gravy or, for the mature bird, Armagnac and a castiron casserole dish.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM COUNTRY LIFE UKView All

A shaggy dog story

These big bundles of fur have advertised Dulux and danced with David Bowie, but numbers of old English sheepdogs are plummeting, warns Katy Birchall

5 mins read
Country Life UK
September 08, 2021

Interiors - The designer's room

A large collection of books lines the informal library of Kit Kemp’s Hampshire home

1 min read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021

Bonkers bespoke

What to do when you can’t find that perfect luxury item? Design it from scratch, of course, and, with the right help, it’ll be beyond your wildest dreams

5 mins read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021

Fix up, look sharp

These dream projects need TLC, but are well worth the bother

3 mins read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021

Snug as a bug in a quilt

If you’re planning to make a patchwork quilt, be sure to stick with tradition, inviting your friends and stitching to the accompaniment of violins and bagpipes

4 mins read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021

Magic carpets

Going bespoke can be the key to a stylish space

3 mins read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021

Tailored for success

Benson & Clegg has been making bespoke suits for decades in Mayfair, where it is as much about the experience as the end product

2 mins read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021

Just give me a sign

Even if no one agrees what a red fingerpost denotes, rural communities still cherish their historic signage

6 mins read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021

Things that go bump in the castle

A century ago, with a pall of loss and decay hanging over once splendid houses, a haunted history was one way for struggling estate owners to stay connected to a more illustrious past

6 mins read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021

There's a mouse in the House

As Larry celebrates 10 years as Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, Claire Jackson looks back at the cats of Downing Street–and the prime ministers who have served them

4 mins read
Country Life UK
October 27, 2021
RELATED STORIES

GAUL'S UNIVERSITY TOWN

New excavations have revealed the wealth and prestige of an ancient center of learning

9 mins read
Archaeology
November/December 2021

Speaking Fluent Fatherlish

Dads have a language all their own, one that’s not difficult to decipher

2 mins read
Reader's Digest US
October 2021

Stealthily Wielding Caesar's Sword

Sohrab Ahmari’s case for tradition conceals an authoritarian agenda.

6 mins read
Reason magazine
October 2021

QATAR AIRWAYS GROUNDS 13 AIRBUS A350S AS FUSELAGE DEGRADING

Qatar Airways said Thursday it grounded 13 Airbus A350s over what it described as fuselages “degrading at an accelerated rate” in the long-range aircraft, further escalating a monthslong dispute with the European airplane maker over the issue.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #510

Remember When: Fifteen years ago in Rome, Hingis rekindles her magic

The Swiss kept missing until a throwback performance in the Eternal City

1 min read
Tennis
May - June 2021

NO, REALLY, ARE WE ROME?

The sack of the Capitol was thwarted. But history suggests that corrosive change can be hard to see while it’s happening.

9 mins read
The Atlantic
April 2021

Fresh Pasta, Frozen Feet

Braving the elements for a taste of Rome off the Bowery.

2 mins read
New York magazine
March 1-14, 2021

EMPIRE OF SIN

A new boss is in town to take over the forgotten gangster sim genre

6 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
January 2021

MODERN-DAY OLYMPIA ANABOLIC STACK VS. THE ‘90S

Purists wish to trace modern-day bodybuilding to the sport’s roots of the 1960s, but it could easily be argued that modern bodybuilding branched away from classic bodybuilding in the 1990s, deviating to extremes in size and form that bring to mind caricatures or comic book drawings.

8 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2020

Paleoracism

With the nation and much of the western world contending with the fallout of the chronic problem of racism, this is as good a time as any to take a look at the issue within the world of vertebrate paleontology.

10+ mins read
Prehistoric Times
Fall 2020 # 135