The barn and henshed have been cleared and are now completely empty and ready for the builder. Another step away from this house's agricultural past. Small farms like this are disappearing in France just like everywhere else.
I found tools with hand made handles, an old tractor seat, photogenic rusty metal, many, many walnut shells - the remains of many a mouse's (or worse) supper, home made ladders, old bottles, chains, harnesses, a yoke, a flatiron, two crémaillères (for hanging over the fire and holding a pot or kettle).
These aren't things which were used in the dim and distant past but by Daniel, the man who sold us the house and who was born and lived all his life here. It is extraordinary to think how things have changed in such a short time. In Daniel's youth the cattle and sheep were walked out to pasture then watched over until it was time to come home. There were no enclosures. His sister Simone told us that when she left home her parents invested in fencing so that someone no longer needed to watch over the stock every moment.
Everything that could be homemade and mended was. There was a wooden wheelbarrow here when we first arrived. It weighed a ton even when empty. We have several beautiful ladders and know people who even now wouldn't dream of buying a shop bought handle for a fork or shovel but select a branch and make it fit. There is a strong 'waste not' ethos here which has nothing to do with parsimony but just common sense.