Thursday, 16 December 2010

Oi! What yoos doing in ma hoos!


And so a member of the Labartere crew moves into the Half Barn. The same snuggly, draft free, insulated space, which has been designated as the sleeping quarters for us, The Head Honchos. 


Look! Here she is again! All toasty and warm. Because, at dawn yesterday, on the most freezing of days (-5) she decided to deliver unto us these:


Aw! Two littl'uns. So here we go again! Only this time we are wiser and more experienced, so we acted quickly. No time to dawdle. Get them into the warmest space on the property. And so the Half Barn it was.

She didn't go too much on the idea, though, but followed her babies as Head Shepherd & Co carried the littl'uns out of the Sheep Barn and into the Half Barn, despite Bools and Gus romping around getting in everyone's way, and the chickens clucking and flapping in horror at this hugest of animals which seemed to be invading their space.

A tarp had been laid down on the floor, straw piled upon it, the builder and gardening paraphanalia shoved back to make floor space, and fencing wire stretched across wall to wall. There! Home for now!

Sunny afternoon:


....so out she went to stretch her legs and get some grass.

And so the cycle of life continues on.....


Last Sunday I did a 'down day'. Floated around in my dressing gown until lunchtime. Even laid outside on the garden bench to get some sunshine to my legs. (Pardon my odd socks!) It's not so cold today either. Until one starts unpeeling the layers. I have seven on up top. Plus hat. Plus scarf. Just three layers on the lower half. Two pairs of socks. Boots. And that's indoors! So I don't feel cold. But try undressing to go to bed at night, and that is another matter! Boy oh boy is it chilly! Not to worry. Sunny days do appear, and the bod can then get some heat into its bones when it does. 

According to Jean Pierre, our roofer, who has had all his appendages frozzled whilst clambering about on the Tall Barn roof, it is going to snow tomorrow. Not to worry, though. We are plodding through winter, nearly Christmas and therefore half way through the long nights. I am not wanting to wish my life away, but every day of winter that one gets through is another step towards Spring.

Am out tonight. Have joined a choir, and we are having a practice tonight. Concert on Saturday. It is partly English, but mostly French. The English are singing English carols, and the French are singing French ones. Then we sing some together. Normally the choir sings as a whole unit, and in French. Should stretch my ability  in regards to the French language. Might improve me. I can only hope! Sang with the English contingent in a Maison de retraite. (Care Home) yesterday, up in Castelnau village. Seemed weird singing in a French Care Home for the elderly. Still seems surreal, me being here, in France.

So jobs to get on with: break the ice from the water containers for all, drizzle some hay into the pig arbre so they can have a mid-day snack, have a hunt for some eggs (chickens been clucking about all morning. Sounds like they are recce-ing out some new nest sites, but have been finding two eggs per day for the last three days ), check on the new mum and her lambs who are out in the field stretching their legs, tea to warm Jean Pierre up, tea to warm Hubs / Head Shepherd/ Keeper of the Fire up ( we have our log fire on today. Normally light it at six in the evening, but Head Fire Keeper decided that enough was enough, and so he lit the fire at ten this morning), and I thought I would put the Christmas tree up. The same Christmas tree which had not seen the light of day for at least seven years, having remained boxed up both in the UK and here. But it fell out of its box the other day, and is residing on the floor in what will be the kitchen. Thought that it was telling me to get my bott into gear. Like an omen. 'Get me dressed up, or else....'

Oh so now all I have to do is find the Chrissy decs.........

Hope you remain in good spirits. Hope the winter cold is not getting you down.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Vera,
Great news about the new lambs, I'm sure they will do well. (Shush, I don't want to upset any of your vegetarian readers, but will they be ready for Easter?)
Your choir sounds great fun. I used to take a portable puppet theatre to the likes of retirement homes and always had a wonderful time.
They say (BBC report today) that making and drinking tea together is of huge value and benefit to any group, but we already knew that!!
Take care,
Ondine xx

Ken Devine said...

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, Vera. A lovely snapshot of your daily life...as usual.
We too have the tree up but can't find the decorations yet.

DUTA said...

I must say, Vera, your legs and the invading sheep are very photogenic!

Good for you the part of choir girl as it enables you a change of atmosphere. The bi-lingual carols sung by the choir must sound very interesting.

As for the cold, your hubby, as usual, is a savior of souls; his decision to light the fire at ten in the morning instead of at six in the evening is life-saving.

I like your wise saying:" everyday of winter that one gets through is another step towards spring".

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

What a great gift, twins for Christmas. Strange your roofer is Jean Pierre our is Jean Paul. Maybe they all go by the nickname of JP LOL. Have a great Christmas. Diane

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story...so fitting for the
season. Glad Mama and the little ones
have been given refuge in the warmth.
I'm in absolute awe of how you handle
all this and still somehow manage to
sing in a choir! Merry Christmas.
Sheila

Vera said...

Ondine: 'Portable puppet theatre'! Gosh, that does sound fun. No plans to revisit the land of puppet theatre? Agree about the tea. Having a chat over a cuppa is very team building.

Ken: Hope you have found your decs. And that your tree is nicely lit up. Our tree is in the dark at the moment, having fused its lights!

Diane: Oh I do so hope you are managing the continuing cold. Must be really hard for you at the moment. My friends from the choir are driving through France and England during today and tomorrow, travelling right the way up to Derbyshire. My thoughts are with them!

Hi Sheila: Singing in the choir is my respite from all the toing and froing that comes with running a smallholding! Wishing you endless seasonal blessings as well.

Duta: The bilingual songs are inspiring to sing. Did my first concert with the choir last Saturday, and it felt really good singing in French as well as English. Made me feel more confident about becoming more familiar with the French language.