Monday, 14 July 2014

....and this is as far as he's got!

So this is as far as Lester's got with the gate post. 
He is doing very well, this being a big job for an ex-computer programmer,
who has hardly ever done anything for much of his adult life so far,
except sit at a computer and programme for endless hours.

But now has arrived a bit of a prob,
because the wall is flat on top,
but it's partner opposite,
has a peak on its top.

Pow wow time. What to do. 

-Finish the top of the wall......

..... leave to dry,
go down to the river beach and collect some stones,
put a little pile of stones on top of the new wall,
aiming for a sort of pyramid shape,
glueing the stones together with cement where necessary,
then sort of pat-a-cake cement round the outside of these stones,
to give a similar effect to the wall opposite,
this being the project for tomorrow,
because the wall needs to be finished,
because the year is marching on,
and we need to get back to work in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, the harvest is starting to roll in, 
with our first cabbage picked......

which contributed to the simplest meal,
but the most tastiest we have had for a long time,
every single food item on the plates,
being entirely home grown:
roast chicken, new potatoes, cabbage, butter over all.
Sooooooo simple a meal, as I say,
but as I ate every mouthful I was aware of the history of its growing.
It made me feel very humble.

Sometimes we can get weary of the work of running a smallholding,
but to eat a meal which is all homegrown 
enthuses us to keep going.

It has been a lovely few days here,
no visitors, 
just two people, on the same page, working together.

Mum piggy has still not produced any littl-uns,
two little chicks disappeared overnight,
rats, we think, came and ate them.
Lissie is now about six weeks off giving birth to her calf,
so I had best start sorting out my cheese making equipment,
meanwhile one of our goats is still giving us enough milk to get by on.
I have continued with my massive 'clear out of the cupboards' project,
we continue to sleep on the settee's,
I have made 38 pots of jam so far,
and all is well here at Labartere.

I am aware that it is the nature of life
that we shall have disharmonious moments,
because life is not perfect,
which makes quiet days such as these,
something to treasure.

Hope you have such days,
and that you hold on to them
for when times are a little bit up and down.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mum Piggy's udders

Gosh, but Mum Piggy is getting a full tank of milk on board, as can be seen by ever increasing udders. Tonight, perhaps, if not, then soon.

It has been a strange day today. One of those days when one feels spaced out. Both of us felt this same spacey feeling. I do not think it is because of the little drop of wine we had last night. But the weather is chilly at the moment, (around 20C which is considered quite cold here) so perhaps our bodies are missing the sun. Or it might be because we have had a busy week. Or it might just be that we needed to have a stop day. Anyway, it has been a strange, 'spaced out' type of day.

New mattress ordered from Amazon France this morning, but it will not arrive for another two weeks, which means staying on the settees for a while yet. Not to worry, our backs are not complaining too much about the awkward sleeping positions that the settees requires us to lay in.

Rottweiller girls spaced out as well today. Spent the day tucked in around Lester as he played chess on his computer.

It was raining outside, and sometimes, just sometimes, it is necessary  to stop. That is what the girls thought, and so did Lester. Meanwhile, I pottered about but mostly I watched vids. As I say, sometimes, just sometimes, one has to stop. 

It is another day tomorrow. Perhaps we shall have got out mojo back. And perhaps little piggies might have been born.

Bye for now,


Friday, 11 July 2014

Stopping the girls from going AWOL

These are our front gates, and here is Lester fixing them. And the reason why they have to be fixed is that a year or so ago the lock broke, but the gates could still be closed although force was needed to do so.

And then we got two rottweiller girls. Now they can't open the gates, but others do by exerting a force sufficient to push those gates apart, and those 'others' are people who are known to the girls, so the girls just wag their tales in delight at having visitors and think how nice it is for people to come and visit them, meanwhile keeping an eye on the open gates through which they will sneak when no one is looking, one of their most favourite occupations being to have a jolly jaunt down the lane.

So, time to get the gates sorted, and time for Lester to get some of his new tools out. Wahoooo! There was a time when he didn't even own a hammer. As for screwdrivers, he used to raid my sewing box and 'borrow' the ones I used for my sewing machine. But now, wow, he even has tools which have leads attached! 

Job done. Gates re-hung, and new lock fitted. Now all we have to remember is where we put the key, there being only one key which came with the lock, and we really should get another key cut, but we don't know where we can get that done, so I wait with interest to see how long it is before the key is lost!!!! 

The girls still went AWOL though, doing so through the jumble of block bricks and 'gate' across the other entrance to the courtyard, the gate not being fixed, just leaning, sometimes even falling down. So, time to get this gate sorted out as well. It is the first step in the 'Move  the Chickens and Geese out of the courtyard' Project as well. 

But this is no garden gate project, because at some time in the past this entrance / exit has held quite a considerably sized gate as can be seen by the ancient hinge still sitting at head height on the surviving gate post. Lester has to build a new gate post, and here he is making a start. And it has to be a sturdy job because the gates which are going to be hung there are the same as the ones in the front, and anything flimsy will tip over with the weight of the gates. 

We did have a pillar once, but it fell down, assisted to do so by the boot of our builder's brother, when he was up on the roof of the Half Barn supposedly getting the new roof done, but obviously needing to have a bit of a play around in between times, which was a shame because the pillar was made of some handsome chunks of stone, which are now going to be replaced by grey block bricks and cement. Ah well, not to worry, Lester said he was going to cover over the new wall with a rendering to match the house. Which will be good practice for him, because the whole of the front of the house and the front walls of the Tall Barn all need rendering as well. the way, in the background you can see the front entrance which still has its original wooded gates in situ, or rather one gate in situ, the other one having fallen off just after we arrived. And to the left is the kitchen caravan, and the green tarpaulin covered mound which is where the freezer and sundry other of our possession were being stored. This was 2009. The caravan and gate are long gone, but that freezer is still working.

And here is how far Lester has got. At the moment there seems to be a whole load of half finished jobs around the place, both inside and out, but the rottweiller girls need to be contained before they get into the habit of wandering off. A bit of a prob though, because Lester has just realised that the gates we bought are slightly too big, so we have decided to put those across the drive (to stop the geese and chickens from romping up and down the lane), and buy the slightly narrower three metre wide gates, which we shall go and buy next week.

And as an added bonus, that new wall is going to provide us with better flood defences should the river flood again. Last winter it came just in front of where those two block bricks which are lying against the new wall. Already I am looking at making sandbags, just in case.

So off to bed now, or rather, off to the settee! Been sleeping on the settees these last few nights because the mattress broke a spring so it went off to the local tip, leaving us with no sleeping accommodation apart from two very uncomfortable settees. Not to worry, have taken the opportunity to thoroughly clean / de-cobweb the bed area, and seem to have got a bit of a steam up in regards to getting things sorted out, so have carried on and am, at the moment, going through all our clothes, books, and other stuff, ruthlessly throwing out / recycling anything which is not absolutely necessary to have, or wear. Which might be because of having to sleep all kinked up, Lester having the three seater settee to sleep on, with me having the two seater. Ah well, not to worry. It's nice having a super duper clear out, and it is nice to see things looking shiny and clean even if they are not going to stay that way for longer than a couple of days!

Now, what is the French word for mattress, and where do we buy a mattress from, and oh strooth, it is a long weekend here, so we shall be on those settees for at least another four or five nights.

Hope you all have a good night's sleep. I shall be thinking of you as I sleep with my legs hanging off the end of the settee. But oh won't I be a happy girl when I am back in my bed again! Nothing like going without something to make one appreciate the value of that something when it comes back into one's life again.

Bye for now,