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
Four years ago we could see the sky through the tiles. Mmm nice and sunny today! The joists had insulation made from spiders webs, a dense white drapery befitting Mrs Havershams world* and the beams looked as if the woodborers had a work in progress ‘re the new lunch menu. With no money the prospect… Continue reading The roofers finally arrived
Today was wet, windy and after a week of working hard on the septic tank and moving earth and stones, we crashed for a cosy afternoon in bed. Music, magazines, YouTube and a cup of tea for good measure, we love these times to catch up on social media, research or read about things we… Continue reading Lazy Days and lazy bikes
We took a day off from working on renovations. Both tired and a little wrung out from clearing out the houses and the back and forth journey to the local tip. It’s Pasque in France, otherwise known as Easter. Pasque is derived from the Latin word for Passover and the little purple flower bursts into… Continue reading Watercolours and Pasqueflowers
Well it’s turned hot so out comes the masonary gear, sand buckets and rubber mixing tray. The girl likes to live dangerously! So first job, tackle silly top of Little House wall in prep for converting room to a cold room to hold food, preserves and such like. The original builders didn’t finish to top… Continue reading Girl does concrete
We had a happy hour digging for worms today. Everyone got stuck in helping to scratch up the earth as I dug. I know it seems harsh on the worms but the girls will find them eventually and it’s good to have some bonding time. Collette is looking very fed up. The only juicy worm… Continue reading Worms
The world needs more flowers…it certainly does and with the welcome banning of pesticides that harm our bees and other insects in many countries, including here in France, I have been planning for many years to create a wild flower garden where the bees can hang around the tall Scottish thistles and snapdragons and the… Continue reading Cutting flower garden
Big day today. Septic tank going in. All hands on deck. Except me. I was foreman and well, drank tea! Someone has to keep an eye on health and safety from a safe distance! Ah that was a lovely cuppa! My friends sent messages of congratulations as we had to use a bucket for our… Continue reading Fosse septic at the barn
What a long day today. We finally completed our property purchases by signing for our rear barn and mountain house. I hadn’t slept well. Over did work at the farmhouse and my back was angry. On the second signing I was drifting off. I can understand French ok. Can’t speak it but it’s tiring when… Continue reading Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian
It took me 10 minutes to cook scrambled eggs, chop up some leeks and add some sunflower seeds. The girls scoffed the lot in one minute! Really couldn’t you all just take a bit of a breath between pecks!
A week ago we signed for our farmhouse just north of the barn, in a lovely forested area full of lakes and rocky outcrops.Typically when you move in, the remnants of the previous owners lives are left unloved in cupboards, under beds, chucked in garages and garden outbuildings. This house is no exception.The van is… Continue reading Backbreaking work
Sometimes we do slightly zany things in life. Coming to France seemed a little zany at first, but now I am settling and the benefits of being in this wonderful countryside surrounded by cow’s and mountain pines and oaks, well it seems the most sensible of decisions in reality.I have always tried to support charities.… Continue reading Funky Chicken Rescue
I really thought Barley had a false alarm the day before yesterday. Nest building all morning but no egg. Barley had found a quiet spot in the goose pen and had been trying to arrange the few bits of straw and dried grass there. Her nest efforts were a disappointment with such megre materials, so… Continue reading Poop an feathers: We have goose eggs!!
Today Barley built a nest. The geese have been extremely territorial recently and grumpy. Bonnie and Bumble have been hissing at every one and anything, including wellies, buckets, egg baskets, grain bags. But quiet Barley has been making a little spot to maybe lay her first egg? The geese are a year old now and… Continue reading Nest building
The sun is finally shining and I got a chance between sniffing into my hankie (I have a cold) and trying to stop Bonnie goose from pecking me (she has hormones!), to do a quick video. It’s countdown to signing for our purchase of the rear stone barn to ours, complete with the large hey… Continue reading Update on the barn project
Near our tiny hamlet there are forests. Logging forests for burning and fence making. I drive past here many times meaning to take a photo, but either forget my camera or I am not the driver and too soon we have driven past and it’s too late to stop. But this week Tony’s injured shoulder… Continue reading Winter firewood
This week the mezzanines arrived from Spain. The French delivery guys had no idea about health and safety and appeared to have no safety boots or understanding about using truck hi-abs without the risk of loosing their pallet truck in the process. I couldn’t watch. After a lot of groaning and levering, the three very… Continue reading Mezzanines
Our mountains to the South send strong, almost hurricane proportion winds across Limousin. Farm roofs take off, trees are uprooted and last year our garage collapsed. Today was no exception and the ominous drone above our barn made me uneasy. Wandering down to the garden for my daily coop clean and tussle with the hormonal… Continue reading At home and hurt