All Posts · Animal tales · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

Being a mug!

Not the best title for a post but had to put that pun in somewhere! Finally we hauled the extremely heavisome ceramic mug printing machine to the farmhouse. Our factory in nearby Gouzon was too cold and we still have a tonne of work to insulate the printing studio. Choosing what project to prioritize and… Continue reading Being a mug!

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

Getting to grips with the goose

I started my new project last week, drawing a set of illustrations of my goose Bumble. About two years ago I started writing a book, a collection if stories with the hope that I would somehow illustrate it too. How I would do that was rather beyond me at the time. I hadn’t drawn much… Continue reading Getting to grips with the goose

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

It’s an art start

A couple of weeks ago I posted about finding coloured pencils. A lightbulb moment after a very long time stressing about what medium and what subjects to paint, lit up. Paint. That was the problematic word. Actually the whole acrylic and watercolour thing had turned me off art and although I dabbled a little back… Continue reading It’s an art start

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

Cats about the house

Evenings at the farmhouse this time of year involve an en-mass tumble of cats and dogs heading for chairs, sewing bags and laps. The woodburner is crackling merrily away and the dogs are dreaming in their basket, feet twitching and the occasional growl breaking the snoozy snuffles. I dreamt of a home full of pets.… Continue reading Cats about the house

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · Geese · guinea fowl · Writing and Illustrating

Boys will be boys

Freezing today but luckily Penquin my Pekin duck had laid an egg. It was still warm and I held it in my pocket between feeding all the feathery family.  My girls are now three years old and egg laying is sporadic. With the winter chill all the hens have slowed and from twenty hens I… Continue reading Boys will be boys

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

Snug as a bug

It’s been warm in France, on average eighteen degrees. For November it seems too good to be true. Back in England November is a chill, drab grey sort of month where the rain drops sneak persistently down the back of your neck or the stiff winds make umbrellas a health hazard. But yesterday the fields… Continue reading Snug as a bug

All Posts · Animal tales · Links I Love · Writing and Illustrating

Finding my pencils

Note these are not my drawings, but come from a great book called The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornwell. For a long time I have struggled to find an art medium I love. Watercolour I find restricting with the layers and colour build up of washes and control. I… Continue reading Finding my pencils

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Garden in the meadow · Geese · guinea fowl · Landscapes and trees · The farm

Fallen leaves

As a child my walk to school took me through a rambling footpath between mighty oaks and horse chestnuts.  The latter supplied conkers that resulted in many bruised fingers from conker fights.  Now this childhood right of passage has been banned. Shame, but it was actually rather dangerous.  But also rolling around in leaves could… Continue reading Fallen leaves

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

Mad about the birds

From previous posts you probably gather I am starting out on a new journey to get back into art that I abandoned as a teenager. Part of that journey over the past year has been sourcing inspirational art, studying art techniques and amassing what’s beginning to be quite an extensive library of books dedicated to… Continue reading Mad about the birds

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life

Wild deer

Today we stopped to help a lady filming a trapped deer. Probably a Fallow deer. Why she wasnt untangling him, I have no idea. The deer was a young male, probably just under two years old. Likely lost his mother from the French mafia for Sunday hunting and as many, grown up a little vague… Continue reading Wild deer

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens

Accidents

Couldn’t write this yesterday as too upset. We came home around 6pm. I start putting everyone to bed but Penquin our Pekin duck has a torn wing from Heff being too amorous. Her white feathers were stained pink and the broken feather needed trimming out. It was bleeding profusely. So fetching medical kit we proceeded… Continue reading Accidents

All Posts · Animal tales · guinea fowl

Ear drums

Wasn’t that loud? I mean all that noise because a leaf dropped, a chicken sneezed or Ronnie Rooster did a tiny doodle-doo. The funniest thing is, if you replay this to the Guineas, they get louder….if that’s possible. They jump like jump jets , a vertical take off but with a very bumpy, ungainly landing.… Continue reading Ear drums

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

Tea for two

The French drink coffee but these die-hard Brits still drink tea, Yorkshire Tea with two sugars. Builders strong tea is a bit too tannin for us but a four minute brew and a dash of semi-skimmed milk is perfect.We manage to buy a few British brands here in France via a local couple who run… Continue reading Tea for two

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · Geese

Feather memories

Every year the feathered gang have a molt but sometimes¬† its harsher. The damaged and worn previous year feathers are renewed and ready for winter. Sometimes the molt is so harsh, as is the case often with chickens, the regrowth resources so much calcium, any lacking it their diet is taken up from their bones,… Continue reading Feather memories

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life

There’s a Cou-nou in the compost

A year ago we acquired a lonely Cou-nou cockerel. One of three wandering henless around our barn, bachelor cool and social, Mr Chicken made a beeline for our coop every day to trill at the girls and strut his stuff. The other two loitered by our garden waiting for treats or casually entering our kitchen… Continue reading There’s a Cou-nou in the compost

All Posts · Animal tales · The farm

Pintade problems

One of my little pintades (Ginnea Fowl) has a cold. It prompted a quick sketch and an idea for a character in my future book. But more so, this sudden change of weather had arrived a little quick,¬† finishing the creche pen to avoid drafts was getting me in a fluster. The new birds had… Continue reading Pintade problems

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · French Life

New career move

When I came to France I had visions of relaxing on a terrace, Pimms in hand and a good book to loose myself in for a few hours. Ok there would be renovations to do and a new business to set up after my retirement from tax this year. But somehow life presents unusual twists… Continue reading New career move

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · French Life

Bella

Just over six months ago we finally got two Jack Russell’s, my favorite dogs. Since the day I visited a friend, whose mother was asigned to baby sit me at 18 years old, after a jaw reconstruction operation, to make sure I didn’t joke on my liquid lunch….I fell in love with these naughty, feisty… Continue reading Bella

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

Cats everywhere

Sadly since I posted these photos of my magnificent seven, Jasper has passed. A traumatic accident occurred just a few days ago. Ever curious and ever friendly, Jasper had climbed in under our pickup. Driving home from our local provincial town, about 5 miles from home we saw a cat on the side of the… Continue reading Cats everywhere

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Garden in the meadow · Recipes and allotment

Garlic

A bit late but the garlic started showing signs of shooting and we hadn’t really planned to plant much this year given the building projects taking up so much time. But the awful virus arrived and we realized what bad timing. We had seeds but hadn’t really prepped the beds. A long slog in the… Continue reading Garlic

All Posts · Animal tales

Lounge lizard

When you see your naughty Jack Russell Bella with her best little black cat friend Tokyo head to head burrowing in the nettles, oblivious of the stingers, something is being either brave or stupid. In this instance a poor lizard was being hooked out and tossed about. By the time we noticed, the poor thing… Continue reading Lounge lizard

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Geese · The farm

Little daily musings

A misty morning should mean a mellow day ahead? Hardly. Our mellow is unloading two new cast iron stoves, bagging up our flurry of leaves for composting and making a new chicken ladder. The silly cou nous cant jump. These podgy naked neck chickens have no sense of balance and at bedtime literally wail because… Continue reading Little daily musings

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Geese

It’s a poultry thing

Because I finally found my vocation…. Every day this chicken slave trudges through mud to do her egg collecting and cleaning duty. My bleary eyed morning routine at the farmhouse starts with a hot cup of English breakfast tea. Can’t abide that thin whispy Smokey Earl Grey stuff. No has to be robust enough to… Continue reading It’s a poultry thing

All Posts · Animal tales · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

The art of birds

On my 7th birthday I asked my parents for Charles Tunnicliffe’s book of bird illustrations. I had at the time a mild obsession with painting owls, especially barn owls, along with Dutch windmills for some obscure reason. Maybe it was a flight thing, the sails rising up into the sky, the connection with the wind,… Continue reading The art of birds

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Links I Love · Travels in Europe

Inspired by comments

I am so behind with blogging I should pay a fine! I have also to catch up on everyone else’s wonderful blog posts and apologise for being so sloth in adding my comments. But tonight I managed to read a few and this prompted me to manage an update. The Anxious Gardener is busy. I… Continue reading Inspired by comments

All Posts · Animal tales · Cheese tales · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Recipes and allotment

Fridge

I opened my fridge today and realized it represented all my plans and resolutions for 2020. There is fresh cooked chicken joints with a rich jelly for our cats. Tired of uneaten tins of cat food and mountains of rubbish created from pouched food, we decided from now on we are making our own cat… Continue reading Fridge

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

Christmas parcel

The parcel said Fragile. I am not sure these two wiggly sausages read that! Me trying to control the excitement with Archie our cat perched on my shoulder. Another mad moment at our home that’s becoming more like Noahs Arc, what with the heavy rains here and number of animals we now have. Tomorrow we… Continue reading Christmas parcel

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

Brother and sister

After a hard dog day you dream about giant flying cats stealing your dog biscuits. When you get home your naughty sister steals the dog food and hides it behind the logs by the wood burner. She does this while your sleeping, blissfully unaware and then has the cheekiness to share your dog food by… Continue reading Brother and sister

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

Thanks Jack

Stubborn, fearless, intelligent, energetic, athletic, vocal. Yep and wiggly, poopy and naughty. So the definition of a Jack Russell means that potentially for 16 years the last shreds of sanity between 7 cats, 5 geese, 2 ducks and 20 chickens has popped! That bubble of a perfectly quiet Sunday afternoon reading a book on the… Continue reading Thanks Jack

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

The Magnificent Seven

Our first frosts arrived this week and the tomatoes finally curled and collapsed. We gathered the remaining unripened fruits to turn into green chutney and overwintered the strawberry plants. The tom crop was huge this year even though they grew from last years roots and the drought meant no watering either. Somehow nature gets in… Continue reading The Magnificent Seven

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs

The Great Escape

The gang are wrecking the place. The long wait for their spaying and doctoring ops was beginning to tell. Shredded table covers, naughty wees in their baskets and anything not anchored down was lost under cupboards and spiders were making homes in them. We moved them to a temporary room at the farmhouse, a cat… Continue reading The Great Escape

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Renovation work

Letting in the light

We finally hauled ourselves after the long hot summer into the Farm House to start renovations. Somehow a trillion excuses manifested to keep us from mustering up the courage to tackle opening up this lovely property and get some order into the rooms. With no rear access to the house, the kitchen off the bedroom… Continue reading Letting in the light

Animal tales · Geese

Goose not on the loose

Yesterday was quite a day for the geese. In the morning I bought the usual lettace and tomatoes, but no geese. Called them. Tried to get excitement in my tone. Nothing. Then saw they were all quietly standing near the fence. Very odd. Entered the pen cautiously and walked over to the little goosie gang.… Continue reading Goose not on the loose

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens

Bright and breezy or maybe a little windy!

The heat has broken. Thank goodness! After weeks of drooping and lethargy, all the girls and Mr Chicken were out enjoying the cool and airing hot feathers in the breeze. Lots a lovely fluffy bottoms and bloomers on show and Mr Chicken trying to look important. As usual failing hopelessly. Everyone ignores him. But he… Continue reading Bright and breezy or maybe a little windy!

Animal tales · Geese

That dirty grey period

Pecan and Cashew are getting all feathered up. And the tufts on their heads look just like daddies!At that dirty grey stage. Ugly ducklings who will turn into beautiful swans..no I mean stroppy, demanding, clumsy, geese. Now we will have five rubbery footed guys yelling at us instead of just three.

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens

This is Myrtle. I know how she feels.

Very poorly. Our little six month old Cou Nou or naked neck from Transylvania, cannot breath. A few days ago I noticed her gasping for breath, her little velvety skinned neck stretched skyward to grasp air.We have a dog kennel in our kitchen for emergency patients and Myrtle settled in for a few days of… Continue reading This is Myrtle. I know how she feels.

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens

Bedtime

I am absolutely run off my feet at the moment with trying to decorate, unpack boxes holding our life stuff and managing our abundance of babies at the moment…kittens, ducklings and goslings. I am also downsizing my accountancy work, meaning just six months and it’s over for good. No more deadlines. No more burning the… Continue reading Bedtime

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · French Life

Little ones

Last week excitement peaked when two little goslings hatched. As of today these guys are growing both in size and in their demands for lettuce. Spoilt to be honest with mum, dad and auntie Bumble trailing around them continuously. But they are sweet and we do believe some little tufts are starting to show on… Continue reading Little ones

All Posts · Animal tales · Geese

And then there were two

Not just one little goslings hatched today, but a couple of hours later, another! After feeling immensely proud of Barley and Bonnie this morning, to have two little cuties….over the moon and back. Poor Bonnie suffering from lack of sleep. Having guarded all last night and today, he was starting to drift off. Get some… Continue reading And then there were two

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens

Brushes and baby birds

Living here in France throws up two almost daily situations in the ever increasing heat and passing weeks into summer. One is renovating. The other is wildlife. We are in a crazy few months of being out all hours trying to make an impact on the to-do list. With a few properties on the go… Continue reading Brushes and baby birds