Thursday, 11 October 2018

...and then the hay arrived.......

Down they came, with one bale spinning its way towards me ...

........ fortunately it bounced against the letterbox, spun round, and came to rest in the flower bed which is now no more. 

Both me and Maz watched it gallop towards us. Neither thought to move. We could have become quite squashed if the letter box had not saved us. 
Lester was more alert though, ...... he quickly reversed (top photo)
But the letter box will never be the same again and the flowers in the flowerbed are definitely now no more.

And here are the bales before they took their tumble....

..... fifteen in total, stacked high, as you can see. 
In the past farmers have delivered the hay bales on a flat backed trailer pulled by a huge monster of a tractor, then they unload the bales one by one using the tractor's equipment, but they were local farmers. This farmer came from a distance away, did have a big tractor (he said) but preferred to use the lorry for speed.

Anyway, time to off load....
lorry backed into the space between house and sheep paddock, 
up we go...

.... off they all came.....

...... job done!

So then all we had to do was get the jumble of bales into their winter positions and covered.
Thought we had a few days of dry weather so we could take our time. 
We didn't.
After weeks of hot, dry, weather rain clouds suddenly appeared out of nowhere mid afternoon, so we raced the rain to get the job finished. It was dark by the time we dried off indoors. 

Doing such jobs on the farm always feels satisfying, and this one was done with good humour even though the wind was blowing and the rain was pouring down, but saving the hay from getting soaked,  and therefore spoilt, was the priority. 


And two day later I was lying in a dentist's chair having two teeth extracted, which was another job which needed doing. (abcess brewing). I can't say it was the best of experience to have, especially since my ability to speak French seems to evaporate in certain circumstances, but not to worry, I sort of got the gist of what the dentist was saying, especially the part about raising my hand should I feel any pain, which I didn't have to do despite the pulls and pushes and the sound of breaking teeth and the grumps the dentist showed because the teeth did not want to leave the home they have had for many a long year so he did have a struggle on his hands. 

It did take a long time, or so it seemed to do, but it was probably quicker than I thought it to be. 
Trying to stay calm was the key, thinking good and happy thoughts was the key, but this I found difficult to do with the 'goings on' which was happening in my mouth, so I took to singing, not in a proper 'open mouthed' style because my mouth was already occupied, but in a sort of hummy way which kept my mind occupied sufficient to get through the experience without creating a fuss. 

I did have to lift my hand up once though. It was when I opened my eyes and saw a white piece of what looked like string stretching betwixt my mouth and the dentist's hand. 
'Crikey' I thought, 'he's going to pull the tooth out with  that string', which put me into a bit of a panic mode, but not much of one because I shut my eyes and went into humming mode again, and continued to concentrate on that rather than what the dentist was doing.  
But the tooth was now gone away forever, and he was stitching up the hole with the string, that's all he was doing,

I was prepared for pain afterwards, but two days later and it still has yet to arrive. 
I was wondering if the fact that I have learnt several ways to sustain a relaxed mind during times of possible dreadfulness being done to me has helped my body cope better and heal faster. And I do ask the Universe (God) for help as well, being mindful that there is a greater force looking after us, and that all we have to do is ask, and then be willing to accept the help in whichever way it comes. 

So now I have a huge gap where once resided two back teeth. Apparently I can have two new teeth planted in the jaw, but I shall leave thoughts of having that done until another time. 

Smiling through, that is what is best done when things are going beyond your control,  and keeping the head occupied by thinking of something else rather than focussing on what is happening in the now, I have found this helps as well when I find myself in a difficult position especially in regards to my health.

Off to cook lunch now, so saying bye for now,


Saturday, 29 September 2018

A thought about the word 'Freedom'.......

It came into my mind early this morning, the word 'Freedom', which seemed a strange word to have become planted in my head, but yet it stayed quite fixed and would not budge.

Being Saturday, it meant that neither Lester or myself were in the Monday to Friday work routine, a routine which became instated in our lives when last year he started working for a UK / USA employer.  It sometimes seems quite strange to see him involved in on line conferences, with those other folk in their offices and Lester sitting beside me, with Maz (our Rottweiller) somewhere close by, the sheep, cows, chickens, or cockerels occasionally voicing their  complaints about this or that, or sometimes just giving voice to joyfulness, especially when a hen lays an egg, or a cockerel is trying to impress his ladies. And then there is the sound of cars on the road, not many, just a few. Or the chugg chugg chugg of tractors, or maybe the French RAF  pilots who sometimes practice landing their helicopters on the small  airfield nearby. All of this we take for granted, immersed as we are on the needs of the day....Lester, to wrestle with the complicated work required of him, and me to try and do as much as I can to keep the farm and the house on track.

It is easy to get mentally bogged down, but it is the same for all of us, for all those folk on the internet conferences, who live in various parts of the globe, all of who are governed by the need to work and to play, none of them really doing what they would like to do, all ruled by the need to earn money, and then when the money is earned, the driving need to spend it. Such a cycle. Of going round and round. Of time marching on meanwhile.

And so, being Saturday, Lester and I had free time, so off to get the broken but now repaired lawnmower from the mechanical repair shop down the road, and then on to Plaisance to get replacement gas bottles. I, meanwhile, trundled myself and the old wheelbarrow along the river path to the fallen down oak tree which blocked the River Path last winter, and needs to be shifted. Lester managed to cut up the entire tree into portions so the fence could be repaired. With Lester working all the days long, it has been one of my chosen tasks to collect one barrow full of logs and bring them back to the Courtyard, the bigger logs to be kept under cover for the moment, but the smaller branches to be cut up and saved for kindling. We have quite a stash of kindling now, nine boxes in fact, plus a two cardboard boxes full. It is satisfying to look at those boxes and know that we shall not run out of kindling, which we did last year so had to buy commercial kindling, which is not the same as using our own bits of twigs and mini branches, because it is all neatly cut to size and is expensive.

Meanwhile, 'Freedom' kept rolling around in my head as I diddled away in the infant flower beds, feeling apologetic to the newly planted pansies, and the three trays of seedlings for my neglect of them yesterday when I retreated from the heat of the sun and had a couple of hours sleep instead, when I should have been keeping them watered. Seeing them desperately bent over with thirst later on in the day made me feel dreadfully guilty, and then seeing the pile of washing up and the unswept floors indoors trebled the guilt, so I ended the day feeling vaguely cross with myself..... not full on cross though, just niggles in the back of my mind that I had left things undone which I should have done, a state of mind which is often my companion of late.

Lester back with lawnmower and new gas bottles, so off we went to our local supermarket. It was lunch time, but no 'paid for' lunch for us today, just a cup of coffee and a bun each, and then off round the shop we went. Normal things bought, no fancy goods, just basics, plus a bigger wood saw (with spare blades) for me, and an 'on offer' trolley so Lester can have help hauling the large bags of animal grain to the storage bins in the Tall Barn.

On the way back home, thinking about 'Freedom' again, and I came to realise that Lester and I do have freedom despite his working hours, and my efforts to look after the farm as well as the house, because we are free souls. We live in a quiet part of France, are both working quietly at home without having to deal with offices full of people who we may or may not get on with, that Lester's daily commute to and fro work is from bedroom to Half Barn via the Main Field to give the sheep and cows their breakfast, that I do not have a commute at all but am free to choose what I spend my time doing and where I do it, that we make our own amusement and do not rely on others to amuse us, that to have lots of money would not make us happier, but would instead curtail our freedom because then we would get lazy, and that would confine us rather than make life the stimulating place that it is.

To count our blessings, that is what having the word 'Freedom' posted into my head early this morning has helped us do today. We can all feel trapped one way or another, but by looking at what we do have in our lives releases that trapped feeling, unchaining the chains that bind us away from our hopes and dreams, making us free to look forward to all our tomorrows.

I am now off to see if my new wood saw will magically cut the logs I brought up from the River Path this morning without hardly effort from myself. Of course it won't! I know that! But I can smile at myself for thinking so! Sort of being my own best friend by giving myself a smile!

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Wood cutting and crochet......

Having breakfast, (porridge), and out of puff after having brought up this pile of logs from the river path, the logs having once belonged to an oak tree which fell across that path last winter and been left unattended to ever since, allowing the fallen wood to act as a platform for an energetic bunch of brambles to grow across the path and latch themselves on to field fence thus producing a barrier through which we cannot pass. Nooooooo! They shall not win this war, so with clippers, saw, and wheelbarrow, we (Maz and me) trundle our way to the broken tree to rescue the wood, bringing it back to the Courtyard where it will be cut up into smaller logs for the Rayburn stove.

This is my project, Lester is glued to his PC all day and has no time available to get jobs done other than looking after the animals each side of his working day. It is fierce for him at the moment, and he gets very tired. It is not forever, though, just for now. Meanwhile I do what I can out on the farm, which is good for me because it is building my fitness levels up after my health crash in September 2017. It is also building up my confidence in myself, which is good. It would have been so easy to have used my age (71) as an excuse not to do things. But that will not do. I love this farm and the lifestyle that goes with it, even if it is hard at times. Living life as a human being has many facets of difficulties and if we expect to coast through life without ever having had battles to fight, then we are foolish indeed. Overcoming these battles, whatever they are, strengthens the fibre of our being and keeps our spirit running high. 

Anyway, back to the logs.......... with a degree of surprise I have learnt that I can cut quite a thick branch into the right size to fit the Rayburn's firebox but there is a point at which I become stuck, as illustrated in the photo below...... the saw can't go any further through the log because the engine to drive that saw (me) is in 'run out of puff ' mode because the log is too thick and I have reached my limit. 

So what do I do? Carry on perhaps, which is not wise as my body is telling me that it has had enough of being involved with this particular task, or go do something else which will use other muscles, allowing the ones I have been using to rest.  What do I do? I go sit in my little arbre........

...... and do some crocheting........

....... but only four rows maximum otherwise I get sucked into the rhythm of crocheting and will find it hard to get up and carry on with the day. 

And thus it is that I go through my day, going from active task to creative task in small parcels of time, often about 30 minutes duration. I find big chunks of active tasks will make me too physically tired, so better to do thirty minutes per day for as long as that task takes to complete, is a more sensible strategy. I am fortunate in that I am not constrained by having to do certain things at certain times, apart from producing lunch somewhere around 12am-1pm each day. 
As for the creative tasks, these I do have to limit the time to thirty minutes, because if I go over this time then I shall probably fall asleep because I have been sitting too long!

Anyway, that is how the fabric of my day is loosely woven. And now I need to go get some lunch so I must be away, so......

Bye for now,