On one of our walks a few weeks back we noticed something hanging in a vine field that we had never seen before. In fact, as we got closer we could see there was more than one. I immediately thought that packages of herbs had been suspended on the wires to ward off unwelcome insects and was curious to find out what they could be and whether it was something I could consider imitating in the garden.
The package looked as if it was home made, using recycled tights which seemed an economical method of distributing the treatment.
I thought I could hazard a guess at what the herbs might be if I took a closer look but when I got near I could see it was not herbs but hair inside the tights. What is more – it definitely looked like human hair!
There is something about cut human hair that makes me shiver. While it is still attached to someone’s head it has quite a different character but once cut; it remains human but unembodied.
A lone dead tree guarded the field, itself remarkable and stark against the horizon.
We came home with no comfortable answers to the questions we were posing ourselves.
I plucked up the courage to mention it to a few people but questions of the sort, “Do you often hang packages of human hair in the vines around here?” were getting negative responses combined with strange looks. It was an uncomfortable feeling but it aroused my curiosity.
In the end I asked my neighbour who is in charge of the local hunting club, he smiled, understanding my concern, and to my surprise he admitted that it was actually him who had put them up!
It is an old method to protect the young vines from damage from the Roe deer (chevreuil). I had not noticed that the vines were young. The alternative would be to erect fences to keep the deer out which would be expensive and limit access. It was indeed human hair that he collects from the hairdresser and stuffs into old tights. The packages are then sprayed with cheap eau de cologne and this deters the red deer during the period when the shoots are growing rapidly. The packages are sprayed periodically with more eau de cologne, but to be honest I never got that near to the tights to notice any perfume. He assured me it was a very old method but not widely used these days.
I can sleep more comfortably in my bed now the affair of the human hair has been settled.