One of the striking characteristics of the countryside around Daglan is just how neat and tidy it is. Litter is rare. Logs are stacked neatly after they are cut. Lawns are mowed, pastures are trimmed, and fields that are harvested are quickly tilled under.
And we have to give a fair amount of credit to fauchage, the constant trimming of the grass, shrubs and even trees on the sides of all kinds of roads — from major highways to secondary departmental roads to country lanes. (One day recently I was amazed to see fauchage in action on the tiny back road from Daglan up to Castelnaud, that I often ride on my bike.)
On bigger roads, fauchage is usually conducted by a convoy of two, three or even four vehicles. This can include one or two trucks with flashing lights and large signs that read “Danger — Fauchage,” on either side of the actual fauchage tractor. The actual trimming is done by rotating blades that can be positioned in any number of ways, to cut grass whether it’s on the flat or on a slope, and to trim shrubs and tree branches that might impair a driver’s vision. Here’s what the fauchage machine looks like: