I have been a little too quiet on this blog. Life’s ups and downs as they are. But today in December was wonderfully windy, autumnal and the bright golden leaves looked like the sun had been scattered to the ground ready to swept up for a winter slumber. The chickens were out – the coop can get kind of stir crazy as the nights draw in – and the geese, Bumble, Barley and Bonnies are babysitting, even if sometimes to Bonnie that means picking a chicken up and shaking her!
Finally back in France, since my mothers passing, a lot has changed. Dreams are becoming reality and the next year will be a tad hectic, with some big projects in hand – more renovations, a demolition, a new build and all our feathered friends moving to our new farm house. The barn we adore and will continue to renovate, and although we have negotiated buying the barn behind ours, we needed more land to pursue our self sufficiency dreams. The chickens need more space as our garden is becoming a mud patch. I still want to create my wildflower meadow and herb garden, so the barn and its now larger area of land are ideal. I will be documenting how to create a wild meadow and how to manage it throughout the year.
The new farm house needs very little work – more a case of cosmetic surgery, a small nip and tuck here and there. But the two hectares of land will take some work. Tony has ordered a small tractor as we are not getting any younger and our backs are complaining. One field will house the chickens [ boy will they be excited being able to free-range, dig for worms and have a huge barn area to bounce about], an orchard [ we are planting apples, pears, plumbs, walnuts and quinces] and the other field will be our “Good Life”, full of potatoes, root veg, pumpkins in the autumn, and two goats – our lawn mowers with attitude.
We both have businesses on hold after years of money worries. Now released from this strangulation of our creativity, we are free to embark on these again. An old car-paint factory came up for sale after the owner was killed last year in a motor-cycle accident. His widow needs to move on. It comes with enough land for us to extend if needs be. Our local town is a buzzing place and it made sense to invest in our local community. On the site is a house. Not needed, we are demolishing it to rebuild a timber-framed atelier for my work. I have spent too many years working of kitchen table corners with piles of papers strewn all over the floor. I want to write, paint and sew. I want to be messy. I want to draw on my happy memories of the seventies and decorate the space as retro has I can. Purple, yellow and green. It will be my indulgence and a place to nurture my projects.
Our final madness today, after climbing steadily upwards towards our favourite village, was to put an offer in for a tiny mountain house. The views are spectacular across the hills and pine forests and rocky outcrops of this area. The owner had almost completed the renovation of this stone cottage. But she has cancer. She needs to fund treatment. So we will buy this quaint place and make it like a bon-bon. Its for feet up, dog walking, hot chocolate and Christmas. A place for friends to stay. A place to do, well, nothing for a time.
The blog will also be expanding. I am learning so much here and want to share what I am learning. Every month I hope to be posting about our gardens – “Cauliflower Corner”, about the chickens and geese – “Poop and feathers” and our renovation work and building dreams – “Big House, Little House”.
And who are these two handsome guys with the big orange rubber feet? Mr Chickens of course. Our girls are not interested in them at all. Mind you when they walk, they do look as if they have very wet nappies on. But I am growing very fond of them. They are a German breed of chicken with bald necks. Maybe they too will come with us to the farm house and our menagerie will keep growing.
Well its past midnight and very windy outside. Time to grab a hot water bottle and cuddle up under the duvet. Our chickens have finally realized that inside the coop is warm and dry too. Why is it that chickens just never go to bed properly. I worry about them. I am a mother hen. Until later then from me and Mr Chickens. Lights out for the day!