The life of the shepherd in the Alps
• The life of the shepherd in the Alps
Gaetan Meme completed his third seasonal transhumance to the rich alpine pastures, and even can not imagine a better life. 24-year-old shepherd to the reluctance comes down from the mountains and is waiting for the new season.
The picture story from the life of a young shepherd who loves secluded lifestyle and believes that the work of his vocation.
Gaetan Meme surrounded by sheep near the Col du Glandon, high mountain pass in the Alps, Dauphiné, Savoie, France.
Meme asleep fully clothed because of the fear that a wolf would attack the sheep at night. His cloven-hoofed herd spends the night in a shelter next to the house high in the French Alps.
A flock should be "salt route". This trail of salt, which left Meme to steer animals in the pasture next to a place of pasture.
The green velvet mountains, dotted with rocky outcrops, between the array of Belledonne (Belledonne) and the valley of Maurienne (Maurienne) - an idyllic playground for tourists and shepherd's kingdom from June to October.
The sheep graze on a hillside overlooking the lake.
Today in France, there are about 1,000 of the shepherds. Secluded life still attracts young people looking for a change, but a few remain for a few seasons.
Prudence - one of the dogs Meme. She was born on a sheep farm and apparently considers itself a part of the herd.
This gorgeous backdrop could easily apply to the dangerous place when you have to take care of 1,300 defenseless animals. At the beginning of his first season Meme was face to face with a wolf, which had to be repulsed.
"He appeared every evening for a week at my pen, - says the shepherd. - When the first lost my sheep, I felt that I had failed, that has not fulfilled his duty. "
In order to defeat the wolf, it has to be led astray, he said. You can create a lot of noise, kindle fires, to make bogey. For this purpose, sheep bones, old clothes and a bit of dog hair.
The sheep with a broken leg received medication.
For Meme this work - the vocation of all life. "I do not remember to have ever wanted to do something else," - he says. When he was 15 years old, and he studied at the Agricultural College, Meme was an intern with the shepherd in the Pyrenees. "I do not want to go back to the mountains," - he recalled.
Meme wakes up at 6.30 am to the sound of the guitar riffs of Jimi Hendrix. Dressed in thick corduroy trousers, a sleeveless shirt and a woodcutter, he looks like a real shepherd.
Every second morning before releasing the sheep, he pours salt on the stones. Otar catches for salt, making loud bleating. He seeks out lame sheep, drags away and cuts the damaged hoof.
At an altitude of 2000 meters above the small village of Saint-Colomban de Villard, Savoy, shepherd's most worried about the fog, when the sheep wander and get lost. Yet they do not like rain. In rainy weather wool absorb water and they are freezing. If there is no shelter, sheep and stop "turning their backs to the wind" until it blows over.
It should be the sheep, where they like to graze. Assisted by three dogs. We have to walk a lot, but in fact is not going anywhere. "I'm a nomad, that is not going away - laughing shepherd. - I am only familiar with the pasture, but not something that is above or to the side. "
The days are long, like clouds floating over the tops. "You can spend hours not to worry about any matters," - smiling young man, all the while listening to a small transistor radio.
Meme drags lamb to lead his mother to safety.
The sheep in the night paddock next to his hut.
Mid-October marks the end of the season. Inbound trucks herd being taken from the mountains.
When Meme returned home in Angers, in western France, it takes a month to adjust to the city, and he is looking forward to the next season, when he could return to his secluded lifestyle. "To be with yourself - it is something from which many flee, but this is what I'm looking for," - he says.
Shepherd Gaetan Meme.