And it came into my mind that I ought to clean out the Paddock and Sheep Arbre (the house of our sheep), it being a quite a few days since this task was done. So wheelbarrow loaded with rake, shovel, and hoe, and with the Bools and Gus trotting along behind into the Paddock I went.
Now why is it necessary to gather up the poo? Because we need manure for our land. Oh I know that in comparison to a healthy dollop of horse poo, that what the sheep evacuates is tiny and hardly worth bothering with. But a little bit of poo can accumulate into quite a nice pile over time, and our veg plots need the manure, even though Max, our Tamworth pig, is assisting us as best he can.
So one of my allotted tasks per day, was to gather up the poo from the Paddock and Arbre. It kept the place looking cared for, made me feel a real farm-girl, was good for my bust line (the lifting of the shovel with my left hand after my right hand had scooped the poo onto it with the hoe has proved a marvelous exercise for the lifting of the bosoms), and the growing pile of manure was satisfying to behold.
But then I stopped for a few days because other things took priority, mostly in the garden. And then I thought it time to do a clean up, only there wasn't anything to be cleaned. No poo could I see anywhere, apart from a few scattered patches of droppings. And I felt quite robbed of this much needed commodity for the garden, plus confused as to where it had vanished.
So I made a watch on the Paddock and Arbre. Blackbirds, magpies, and assorted other smaller birds, that is who were helping themselves to what they saw as food supplies. Like a free supermarket. In they came, gorged themselves full, then off they waddlingly flew.
Nothing for it, but to get into the Paddock and Arbre as soon as the sheep were off into Station Field for the day, to get my rations of sheep poo before those others took theirs. And today, I got two barrowloads to add to the manure heap.
I suppose I should be grateful that the feathered community see fit to help themselves, after all they are only cleaning up what the sheep have finished with. Like Hubs says, 'Nothing is wasted', and I agree. It is just that manure is a 'must have' requirement, and the sheep and Max are the only two helpers with this task at this time. So the feathered community will have to wait their turn.
And I got an email from a French lady who we met at a Fete last week, inviting us to join her music group. Hubs plays violin, and I play the piano. But the violin was damaged during the hurricane of January 2009, and had to be subsequently burnt, so he has no instrument at the moment. And my piano was left in the UK, but I did bring my electronic keyboard which has somehow magically survived. So Hubs is looking out for a violin, and I am practising the keyboard. It feels like the piece of a jigsaw has fallen into place. I didn't realise how much music was a 'must do' for us until we went with friends to a musical evening at one of the local villages.
And the fun of listening to the men of the village sing their warrior songs, which were mostly aimed at making fun of the English, but all done in good humour. And the French lady who played the flute, accompanied by a Dutchman on the electronic piano, with an English woman doing a duet with him, and the jolly round Frenchman who thumped out stirring old French songs on the accordion, they all had a go at making music. It was a grand night.
The builders are elsewhere at the moment, for which we are relieved. The tall barn is ready for the roof so it won't be long before it is put on, but Team Coe needed a breather from the noise and hubbub and that we have for three weeks or so. Gives us time to catch up with ourselves. We have both been feeling rather winded with the pace of things here, so it is good to have the place to ourselves for a while.
Things I have learnt: that if I want to have a good quantity of manure, then I have to go pick it up after the sheep have done their bit, and not be diverted into doing other things, like practice on my keyboard.
That I can do a road trip by myself, after having had to go to the Chambre d'Agriculture at Tarbes to sort out about registering the sheep and Max. OK, so I didn't actually drive into the town centre, but parked on the outskirts and walked in. It only took half an hour to do so, and along the way I found a second hand shop from which I purchased some material, and also, oh joy of joy of joys, a shop which sold new fabric. For two years I have been denied the pleasure of running my hands over roles of fabric, and I didn't realise I missed doing so until I was able to do it again, the same as what happened to the music. Anyway, didn't purchase much fabric because my sewing machine is on a go-slow (hardly any wonder since it spent most of the last two years under a tarpaulin) and funds were low, but at least I know where I can go when the need arises.
And I am off to make Hubs a cup of tea, and give him a kiss. For no reason, other than that I an glad to have him on my team.