Facebook prompted a celebration of marriage this week and I wanted to share. * In this honestly shameful and tragic time of Coronavirus, you really feel how precious your life and relationships are. We are honestly scared about this virus and angry about the loss of many innocent and hardworking people. The daily news of… Continue reading Marriage in the time of isolation
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
I didn’t really want to mention the Coronavirus but this lock- in period hasn’t really caused us any inconvenience apart from having to slightly rearrange projects to deal with a few material shortages. The French brico stores are open but we are limiting our visits and the small local ones are closed. Generally the French… Continue reading Sofa sogood
Rain. Flooded field and the chicken coop projects on hold…again! So what do you do? Go to a Brocante armed with your measley €30.00, knowing that there will be an immense wealth of objects that would make even the Count Of Monte cristo blink twice! A short half hour drive across country to picturesque Chambon… Continue reading Woodworm
Now off to get lawn fertilizer, clover, grass and wild flower seeds. After mowing we raked the surface quite hard to clean out dead grass, moss, thatch and scarify the soil to help with reseeding and regrowth. Years of leaving piles of mowings had resulted in dead patches and nettle growth. The previous owners rarely… Continue reading Grass at last
A design original! After buying the farmhouse the kitchen tap lasted a month. It broke in two! This amazing replacement design of ours featured a simple rocking motion to turn on water. Couldn’t adjust temperature but when in France and renovating you get used to temporary things. Sadly last night it fell off. Replaced with… Continue reading Tap
Our Notaire is a very jolly guy and I think with a bit of wicked sense of humour. Unfortunately I have yet to master French and with our rather ambitious renovation projects of doing up four properties, my head is more full of the finer points of a 1-3 lime mix than whether I can… Continue reading Bottles and steel balls
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
My recent visit to London, my old hometown, was a quick five day turnaround. Between my art course at Central St Martin’s and quick exhibition visits, specifically Mary Quant of mini skirt fame, I only managed two tree photos. I can’t explain why I like photographing trees. I just get a thrill from them, especially… Continue reading London visit
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
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
Bella and Sake after bath time AGAIN because we must have rolled in poo!!! Stinky. AND emitting the odd cabbage farts too. Ah puppy love!
I have so many plans afoot for 2020 and wrote about a few in my rather long post – Fridge. Here’s a brief pictorial version for you busy bloggers. Happy holidays everyone.
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
A homestead is a isolated dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station. A homesteader is a lifestyle of self sufficiency. A year ago we would not have called ourselves homesteaders, but by the close of this year, we actually feel we are heading in… Continue reading The mundane and the magnificent
We all panicked when the clock ticked past the year 2000. Computers would meltdown, planets would explode and the world would head swiftly in its trajectory to the sun. We would be crispy by the end of the year! Well it’s 20 years since then and we have had some meltdowns, explosions and as of… Continue reading Seasons greetings
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
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
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
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
Carrot cake with coconut, hazelnuts, lemon and lime marmalade and duck eggs. Yum! And because today is a great day, a heart amongst the potatoes. Our week has been very stressful and today we needed a break from work, time to recover from my mini operation and the injury to my chest after I fell… Continue reading Carrots and potatoes
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
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
After nineteen years of sterling service getting me through London rush hours and traffic jams on the M25, the Ford Focus very unceremoniously ended it’s days in a French scrap yard. 149k miles and right hand drive was not going to cut the mustard on any French sales forum and to be honest we worried… Continue reading Vantastic!
Autumn seems to have arrived with earnest. From a blistering sahara 42 degrees we are down to a fishfinger chilly 18 degrees in less than two weeks. This signals not only rummidging in cupboards to find lost winter jumpers, but realizing we must get to the Farmhouse to decorate our bedroom. We need it to… Continue reading Putty in my hands
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
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!
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.
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.
We took the brave but necessary step a week ago, to ask our local tree surgeon to work his magic on the sadly neglected trees at the Farmhouse. My husband was rather doubtful about the whole project, but trees are complex guys. Firstly height. It’s a dangerous job to rope a tree, climb and wield… Continue reading Oaks
No rain today. The clouds scudded past all too quickly. Its been almost two and a half months with all but three days of rain. We are desert. The air is filled with choking dust from the combine harvesters. The river near our home is dry and our farming neighbour has to travel further every… Continue reading Mowing
Today was a day of contrasts. First thing this morning we headed off to Boussac, a lovely French provincial town just north of us with a chateau high up on a stony outcrop, to collect a painting by a local artist Pascale Lauwers. She hails from Belgium and had an exhibition of Chinoiserie inspired paintings… Continue reading Contrasts
Well you buy a place, you plan your renovation, you argue, you draw it out merticulously on graph paper with little paper shapes denoting cupboards and chairs and even rope your electrician friend in, to stop you getting electrocuted by the decidedly dodgy French electrics. You then realize the dresser will not fit unless you… Continue reading Behind the wall.
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
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
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
I knew for some reason I cancelled all appointments today. In my diary I had a pencilled note…” Egg hatch on 7th or 8th July”.Approx 28 days ago Barley our 18 month old Tolouse decided that 3 eggs was a clutch and that meant possibly fertile eggs and maybe motherhood could be quite a nice… Continue reading Gosling has arrived
I looked it up. Is was important. That confusion between Celsius and Fahrenheit. Today it’s an oven hot 102 Fahrenheit. It’s a larger number written that way. It represents the searing heat today and we are not even in July.What do I do in this canicule? I don wierd garb reminiscent of an 18th century… Continue reading Mad Englishwoman goes out in the midday sun
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
The grass has grown but we are only mowing thin access strips to protect the butterflies, moths, and the million other little bug heads that live here. Today I saw so many different species, we made a pact, husband and me, to leave a third of our field to grow savage each year. The farmers… Continue reading Coropisnita – scary bug
We all have different facets and mine seems to revolve around poop scooping and being yelled at by geese and ducks as if I am about to unleash an extremely dangerous bowl of peas and corn. I mean that yellow stuff..got to be careful! The chickens have currently worked out that by running around dodging… Continue reading Music in the countryside
Is it the height of vanity to take a selfie or is it because the rain clouds have gone at last and Mr Sunshine has crept into every nook and crany and made us sun drunk and wanting to share my sunny feeling? I packed up all the winter woolies into boxes and took them… Continue reading Sew we are sewing.
Barley has finally decided she will brood. Could there be a tiny slither of hope that one of those large grubby eggs will hatch a mini version of a happy-go-lucky Barley crossed with an aloof tufted headed Bonnie ( Dad)? In three weeks we will know. Barley chose a secret spot near the chicken forest… Continue reading Your place or mine?
Freezing, links, recipe and what to do with eggshells: I see this question a lot on the internet forums. Our lovely girls are laying eggs as if there is a local competition going on…which coop can egg it the best this week – wins meal worm treats! Well my girls get treats regardless but our… Continue reading Can I freeze eggs?
This week I had a delicate matter to resolve. Below we have an innocent looking tea-towel. An Irish linen one. Great at drying dishes and quite an old one. I think I may have even bought this from Harrods in Knightsbridge, London. Every January the sales are often with 80% discounts. The China department is… Continue reading The evidence is clear
Simply my lovely Tolouse goose Barley lays her eggs daily, carefully covering them with straw and twigs in an attempt to be a careful mumma goose. Except she doesn’t brood over them. Bonnie her mate (Sorry we thought he was a girl) doesn’t chastise her either. So I collect them and in return for the… Continue reading From field to plate
I have always loved exploring second-hand shops and the old warehouse salvage yards of Bermondsey, London, now sadly on the decline (better converted by a greedy landlord than promoting entrepreneurial enterprise..don’t get me started!) and if I get the chance, beachcombing, or collecting “finds” from the countryside, like curiously shaped sticks, old glass bottles to… Continue reading The foraged home
My twelve girls do me proud. Fresh eggs daily. I try to collect the eggs every day around mid afternoon. This gives latelayers time to lay and not miss out on the lunchtime treats. In the morning it’s chaotic. Everyone is either laying, thinking about laying and hovering round the laying hens or all trying… Continue reading All about eggs
My good intentions this week to update progress on the barn renovations fell fowl. Pun intended. A couple of weeks ago our electrician invited us to his home for drinks. An ice breaker so to speak. Accepted. Lots of fun and resulted in an invitation to join his wife’s sewing circle in a small village… Continue reading Heff the duck
Blogging has stopped for a few weeks. It’s been a crazy busy time for us. Completing final paperwork for properties which have to follow French strict timetables and rubber stamping. It takes forever but when you finally get that little bunch of keys, well you don’t care. In a flash of a paintchart, the waiting… Continue reading We are confused