Saturday, 12 December 2009

What's new (again)

Building work virtually finished, though it is still waiting to be painted. We've had a nice big terrace doing this week - at the expense of the lawn and some bushes. The digger driver "thought" the perimeter of the lawn was just a load of weeds! The problems come with men "thinking"! OH reversed the tractor and trailer over a willow tree. I agreed it was not a nice tree, but it did stop drivers of vehicles (and OH) hareing into the yard and hitting anything in their way - hens and chicks, peahen and chicks and dogs and cats.

We had one or two "it's obviously your house" moments, followed by "do what the h..l you want". From me to him that is.

The cat left home. Well, Whitey took to straying, went over the dried-up river after girls, and either couldn't get back or found somewhere better. The latter I think as he was gone for about 6 weeks. Ater telling a neighbour about it, her sister-in-law phoned to say they had him. It's amazing how many people you get to know through straying animals. When at our last farm, Whitely Mark 1 also left home (after girls again). The neighbour I was talking to had found him and taken him in, and was a bit worried that we wanted him back as that day she had taken the cat to the vet to be castrated! I assured her she could keep him, but privately thought that would serve him right! Not long after that he had an accident and lost a leg. Am not sure if he is still going strong.

Talking about losing legs. Not far from where we live now we have seen from the roadside a lone calf on its own in a field. Obviously a pet calf being reared on the bucket, but when Laura and I passed the field recently saw it only had three legs! (This is not a joke.) We have also seen it since, looking very well and obviously cared for, but sadly our French, or nerve, doesn't stretch to stopping at the farm and asking what has happened to it - the leg, that is.

The pea-chicks are now nearing weaning from the mother, and going on their way. The only things that are prolific here are the hens and cats. There seem to be more hens hatching eggs than laying for food - they lay there eggs in places that are impossible to locate. I am getting a hen-house before the summer to preserve the garden and eggs and cut down the number of cockerals.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Farming-frenchstyle retired

Is it really 3 months since I last did a blog? Well it must be as the date of the last one was 31st May.

The only excuse I have is that the computer - yes, it is still working on it's last legs - is in the living room, and not hidden away in an office. As soon as I get on the 'net OH appears with the words "what's that you are on?" "Who's farming-frenchstyle?" he asks - he doesn't know that I blog. So consequently until I'm back in splendid isolation the blogs could still be sporadic. He's gone off on a social jaunt at the moment. He often goes off now, on the pretence of getting the bread. I have threatened to tag him so I know where he is, but generally he returns after a hour or so.

Summer has come and soon to be nearly gone in a flurry of building work, painting, some haymaking, and lots of village fetes and markets. Though I have not been to any brocants yet, there is one left at Lathus in September which is quite good, so I will get the bread that day.

Building work came to a near halt when we sacked the builders we had. I say a near halt as the plumber, electrician and joiner all did their bit to help out and get us moving on again. We also found a very good friend to finish the tiling for us, in half the time and at half the cost. So at this point in time we are now in our new bedroom and bathroom (even decorated), the new kitchen is in and operational, and the new builder and joiner start on Monday to complete the other bedrooms and bathroom. I should be frantically painting so that we can move furniture out of the sitting room and into the new kitchen as the ceiling is being renewed.

The new kitchen is fabulous. One daughter put in a request to come back home, I'm not sure if the boyfriend was coming too, a friend saw it and called me a "jammy cow", and others just say "oh my god!". Laura, youngest daughter, saw my tap in the bathroom and declared that it is not a tap, but a water feature! I've also got one of those in the big water trough outside, water feature not tap.

We are also going back into cows. We have a heifer that went to friends to be fattened for the freezer. Unfortunately she put on calf-weight, and had a lovely daughter by caesarian in June. They are both doing well. Bertrand (remember we went for lunch and bought a bull) was the father, so we are quite pleased to have his daughter. We'll just have to get some more to go with her.

Must get back to the painting because I want to do some weeding when it cools down a bit - hope this late sun ripens the melons.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Retirement - I love it!

Since we came to our new house in December 2008 we don't seem to have had any time at all. What with the builders starting on 7th Jan and sorting them out, doing their "shopping" - one day we went to Poitiers in the morning and Limoges in the afternoon getting materials - and making tea for them. Still, they are promising that we can get into our new bedroom and bathroom in the next few weeks. Laura will be able to come back then, and we will have room for visitors - if they don't mind the rest being a building site still.

Lambing - we still have 140 sheep - came and went. They had to look after themselves this year and lamb outside, but all seems to have gone quite well. It helped with the weather in March being good and dry.We are now hoping to get them clipped on Thursday, and have booked the services of Louise's boyfriend to help with the catching of the sheep. Let's hope it doesn't rain Wednesday as we have nowhere to get them in for the night.

Hannah, our sheepdog, also seems to have taken early retirement. She absolutely refused to work when we had to get the sheep in for the vaccinations for Blue Tongue - it took OH and I, and Jack (one of the other dogs) 2 hours to get the sheep in and 20 minutes for the actual treatment! We are now in the process of buying a sheepdog puppy.

My main occupation at the moment is gardening. To say it has got away from me is an understatement - it has actually escaped! Am doing this blog now as my back is burning from the sun yesterday and OH is fencing, in the shade I hope.

We have been to Paris twice recently, once to see Tina Turner with Louise and Laura, and then OH and I went to see Lionel Ritchie. OH has also got this retirement lark between his teeth.

Tina was fantastic. The girls loved it and sang every word - they may not be familiar with nursery rhymes but they know their Tina songs. Of course they both had a t-shirt (as did I). On the motorway back there was an accident on the motorway and we eventually crawled into bed at 6.45 a.m., and a materials delivery was expected at 9!

Lionel was very good also, but this trip was the first leg of a two-day trip to England to buy lights and various other bits and bobs. Good old Laura farmsat for us as she was on half-term. It's so much easier now that we don't have so many animals and hours of work to do.

Well, I'll go and see if there is any shade for doing some more weeding, and will report again in the near future.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

I hate computers

I am doing this post quickly on my daughter`s computer - though she is on broadband and doesn`t cost her - as my computer is on the blink. Doesn`it just annoy you when you can`t check on something? Hopefully I will be back in full production soon, and will update you all.

The builders are into their 4th week so with luck I will see some progress after my visit to England at the end of Feb. I`m taking 10 days this time so that I can pull in a trip to Windermere to see Thomas, and see some old friends up there. I only hope the snow has gone before we leave on the 24th.

Thanks for all your best wishes on our move.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

A "moving" experience

Well, we managed it. The last load from La Fromenterie left at 7.00 p.m. Christmas eve. We were installed in our new home that evening.

A friend had been previously to get the new cooker working, we had the telly and the washing machine going, so had to watch DVD's and video's all christmas as the "telly man" couldn't do the satelite until 29th December. So we missed the Christmas "Strictly", but not a lot else I think.

We are now here with 140 sheep - they've already had 6 lambs, the 4 horses, 4 dogs and 5 cats.
Another firend moved the horses, that went exceptionally well considering two of them had not been near a trailer or horsebox for 10 years - and they were relative babies then. Didier, the horse who was lucky to come, jumped out within the first hour - he is renowned for his jumping, but he is not broken so doesn't win prizes! We ended up putting the other three with him i another field. Thankfully he has now settled down and is getting used to the crap winter grass.

Charlie, the Beagle, has also come with us, and loves his new life. Even OH can get up to him and fuss him (we think he had been beaten by a man in his previous life).

Needless to say, we had a rather different Christmas - no tree, sent no cards, did no Christmas shopping but went to a local restaurant with my eldest, Louise, for Christmas lunch. That was very nice, and when we got back home unwrapped our only pressie - a video camera from the kids. That was truly a surprise (except the instructions are in French). Anyway, I think I've mastered it, so have been videoing the new place to show my mum when Laura and I go to England in February.

I have been unpacking some boxes to make the place a bit more homely - the builders start on Monday, and when it is all finished I'll have to move everything into the new bit. But boxes are so depressing.

The weather has been so cold since we got here. We had no water one day as it had frozen up, and had to be towed up the lane in the car after a shopping trip to Limoges and the road was iced up - but we slid down the hills (which was a bit scary). The car didn't go out for the rest of the week, we used the van instead. I did, however, get my Christmas pressy from OH - a chainsaw, so that I can go wooding! He also got his - a 102cm plasma screen TV - where did I go so wrong?

So, we watch bigger, better crap in glorious 102cm technicolour! But at least the sport loks better (even when my team lose). Two Mules for Sister Sarah is currently on (again).

Happy New Year to you all out there.