All Posts · Animal tales · Ducks · Garden in the meadow · Geese

Gates

Over the last couple of years the feathered gang has increased. From two flocks of chickens with a couple of rescue roosters, we have now nine boisterous Tolouse geese including our new rescue Louis ( was on the food menu, bought for meat and luckily the buyer regretted and asked for rehoming!), two guineas, seven… Continue reading Gates

All Posts · Animal tales · Brocantes and reclaimation · Chickens · Thistle Cottage Studio · Writing and Illustrating

Sharing support

As you probably know by now, I am crazy about poultry. Not only do these guys bring me daily joy and a sense of worth, but they have been the catalyst in finally finding my new vocation in life, illustrating and story writing. They are the source of my inspiration, the bedrock of my day… Continue reading Sharing support

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Operation vet

Poultry in France get a raw deal. Seen more as food and less as pets, finding an Avian vet isn’t easy. Foi gras, goose liver is still on the menu and guineas and ducks are slaughtered for gastronomic appetites. I can’t agree, I am absolutely not happy to see these poor birds have such short… Continue reading Operation vet

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Bumble trouble

Spent some quality time with Bumble today. We had him at just a few weeks, he was yellow, fluffy and cute and he was extremely playful and curious. His favorite toy was a squeaky pig and we would chase each other round the garden with this silly pig, him tackling me and visa versa for… Continue reading Bumble trouble

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Factory House to Apple Puree

I have hurt my back again. Mowers with pull cords are absolutely dangerous! I have a lot of grass and land weeds to contend with and petrol mowers are a necessity. But they do not make them suitable for women. I am not a feminist but I do expect manufacturers to know our upper body… Continue reading Factory House to Apple Puree

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · guinea fowl · The farm

Please perch

A recent post on Facebook perches prompted me to do a quick post on my perches. . There are a lot of different types and views on perches and after keeping chickens now for three years, I realized the old fashioned idea of round perches, like a thick broom handle, were wrong. The girls suffer… Continue reading Please perch

All Posts · Animal tales · Animal welfare · Cats and dogs · Chickens

Food for fur and feathered friends

Yes they are spoilt. We hate the commercial dog foods. Too strong, too much protein, too much cost and no wonder dogs end up with health problems and eating special dietary food that happens to be supplied by vets. My mother-in-law fed her dogs on bread soaked in meat juices, chicken legs and scraps. They… Continue reading Food for fur and feathered friends

All Posts · Animal tales · guinea fowl · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Thistle Cottage Studio · Writing and Illustrating

From sketch to tea mug

A few posts back I mentioned my dream of drawing and designing fabrics, characters and products. As an accountant, very embedded in my toils of tax and statutory accounts, I still scribbled in sketch books and jotted stories on ever growing bundles of lined and plain paper. Over the years I had completed half a… Continue reading From sketch to tea mug

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Bee and bug time once more

This post is a little long but it contains a few thoughts about the insects world that I would really appreciate if you could read. It’s an important revelation to me and has changed my life…literally. Bees. I think most of us have a huge respect and soft spot for these busy guys, who work… Continue reading Bee and bug time once more

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

Geese in the grass

I have been absolutely useless in posting recently but I do have a few genuine excuses. The weather in France has been one long spring of rain, and although it is exactly what creates this beautiful scenery, meadows and cow pasture, it’s almost June for goodness sake and should at least allow me to remove… Continue reading Geese in the grass

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Geese · guinea fowl · The farm · Thistle Cottage Studio

Pipi Pintade

Last year I was given a box of baby guineafowl. They were supposed to be banthams. Billy Bantham my adopted, feisty cockerel needed girls. He had adopted the role of deputy to Ronnie roosters flock of Rhode Island hens as Ronnie had an amputated toe and found rounding up the girls at sunset difficult. But… Continue reading Pipi Pintade

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

In the dog house

Dogs need a dog house. It can get -23 degrees here and upto 46 degrees in the height of summer. Dogs need to be spoilt sometimes and dogs need a quiet, calm down when your hot over excited space too. Dogs need to share their house with cats. A two tier system with a cat… Continue reading In the dog house

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

Fables in France

I am am an absolute sucker for traditional illustration and the brocantes here in France provide an absolute treasure trove of pre-loved books for children. Fables are a favorite and books like this are filled with many classic tales and fine art illustrators who also painted as an aside, for childrens publishers. This volume is… Continue reading Fables in France

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Egg song

I love my Cou-nous naked neck chickens. Sadly of my original six, only Doobie, Sweetie and Ruby remain but are a source of daily happiness. We have had a few moments of crisis with them too…Ruby suffered from respiratory issues and upto a year ago was constantly blue looking. Doobie had a nasty prolapse due… Continue reading Egg song

All Posts · Animal tales · Geese · Making and crafting

Naughty Goose

Very excited to have at last designed my first fabric for children, and honestly for a great group of poultry loving homesteaders and keepers I connect with on social media. Getting great feedback. I have for a very long time had a passion for fabrics, especially retro, folk and pre-1920’s designs, plus the ubiquitous English… Continue reading Naughty Goose

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Perch perfect

The new perches gave proved a huge success. For over a year I have been dealing with a temporary set up while we built the coop. Thats not completed yet but in a moment of clarity I realized that what we were probably going to build wasnt going to be practical. The traditional perches have… Continue reading Perch perfect

All Posts · Animal tales · guinea fowl

The gang

Toots, Pipi and Fifi hiding from the rain. They share a small coop with three other adopted chickens and Mr Chicken, our huge Cou-Nou rooster. The little coop sits along side the huge main coop as the Guineas like to go to bed earlier and can be very disruptive with their 98db screaming. I really… Continue reading The gang

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · The farm

Cooped up

Everyone was full of beans yesterday…not literally but the extra ration of meal worms in the meal worm hunt had resulted in a group of feisty ducks and chickens. Mr Chicken led the hunt and as per usual showed off for the benefit of the camera and the girls. Now for clarity these girls are… Continue reading Cooped up

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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