Thursday, 24 January 2013

Nearly gone!

Need to rethink the positioning of the new pig pen and hut, the temporary hut nearly going under water when the river became too full. Now going to enlarge the small veg plot and join it up to the existing pens to make an L-shape overall. Still keeping the drowned pig pen where it is, but to make a walkway over the path between that and the ex veg plot / pig pen. This will give Max, our Tamworth boar, at least two areas to wander about in. On the other side of the two existing pens there will be access on to half the total size of the big veg plot area, so that the girls can have space to move about in, as well as digging the ground up for us. We were going to put the pigs down in the woodland, but we can't afford the fencing at the moment, so that plan has to wait. 

 The chicken hut was going to go by the pig pen near the woods, but that would also have become drowned should we have built it there, so the new plan is to convert The Hut back to its original use. The Hut (the small building on the left of the porchway, this is on our first day of being here, and much tidier it looked then as well!) was first a storage space for stuff. Originally it has been the chicken hut for Labartere.

....then we converted it into an office...

.....then we moved into the house, and The Hut was used to house piglets for a few days...

...then used as a wood shed....

....and is now the night time stopover for the geese, and a temporary hay shed. 

So now the chickens are to have it back, with a walkway going from the upper side window, over the wall, and down out onto the side drive, thus removing them from the courtyard. 

The courtyard will then be tidied up, wahoooooooo!!!!!!!, and a garden made, wahooooooo!!!!! again. We so need to have a better space outside the front door, and although it looks quite impressive to visitors when the chickens and geese are all clustered together in the Courtyard at feeding times, the wear and tear on that area does make for a general crappy mess. We might also feel inspired to get rid of some of the building detritus as well. 

Thank goodness the river overspilled when it did. So why did it become brim full? Continuous rain on the already fallen snow in the Pyrenees produced avalanches and a sudden and massive Spring melt which started coming down the rivers. This was joined by drainage water from the sodden land, especially from the hills near us which had been suffering from days and days of heavy rain. So all the water joined  up into a huge flurry, and gracious me but it was indeed a 'huge flurry'. 

Apparently this really rarely happens, the 1950's being given as the last time the river was so fierce. Not to worry, we know how high the water can come, and how close to the house it is likely to reach. Like all our neighbours we shall ever after be aware of the possibility of inundation from the river and take necessary precautions in the future. And over time the image of that water glinting so close to the house in the middle of the night will recede into memory. 

Things I have learnt:
- that it must be truly dreadful to have water come into your home, whether be by burst water pipes, a collapsing roof, or an influx of river water. 
- that if that happened, you have to pick yourself up and get started all over again.
- that living near a river means risk, but that all life carries risk, that that is the way of life. 
- that our house is built on a mound, the original builders having been fully aware of the temperament of the river at a time when the river would not have been so well managed, therefore it really has only minimal risk of flooding. Will have to work on this one. 
- not to get cross at the managers of the river when they send men in their diggers to take away the shingle bank in the middle of the river. To understand that this shingle bank acts as a brake on the river flow, thus encouraging the water to back stop, the end effect being a flood.  The shingle bank is very attractive in the summer, but it has to be removed periodically when it gets too high, and not to get tetchy with the men for doing so, like I did last time, which was three years ago. 

- that I am building a respect for nature. That we, as human beings, are only fragile little things when nature is roaring away at full force. This is a good thing to learn. Makes one less arrogant.
- that all the animals stayed dry, and that we would have got wet before they did, should the water have got any higher. 
- that experiencing natural forces can shake your confidence in your own powers of survival. This is not a bad thing. Humility is good. Makes one respect other living beings as well. 
- that this was not a catastrophe at all, nor was it ever going to be. The house is built on a hillock, therefore the water would have only been a dribble should it have got nearer to the house, and since we are the highest house around here, then others would have had greater trouble than us. Will need to work on this one.
- that it is unfortunate that for years I have had 'water- based' dreams, during which water rushes towards me or flows around me in various scenarios. That they had nothing to do with the actual water approaching us, but to do with stress. Will need to work on this one too.
- that having things to 'work on' is good for the soul. After all, it is better to be a wiser older person, who has acceptance of the way of life such that in their heart and soul there is happiness and contentment, rather than a miserable 'oh woe is me' type of person who has only misery and darkness in their heart. 
- that on the whole, the river experience was a good thing to have. Perhaps will need to work on that one a little bit as well!


The Broad said...

You are absolutely amazing! Your ability to look at things so positively and with such resilience is something few people are able to do -- and it makes such a difference to having a happy life. Your place is beautiful and the work you have done is really astounding and wonderful. I really take my hat of to you and really appreciate your sound advice.

Denise said...

Hear, hear!

rusty duck said...

So relieved that you escaped the water Vera.

Sometimes it takes a near miss to make us think a lot more about what we're doing and whether it is right. Your lifestyle can be idyllic but certainly does need resilience and you definitely have that. A sense of humour and a bottle of Baileys goes a long way too!

But where are the geese going to sleep now?

Vera said...

The Broad, your words reached into my heart at a much needed time, so thank you so much for them.

Denise, blessings to you my friend.

Jessica, I have neglected the Baileys lately, so I think a swig or two might chase those water fears away! The geese? Don't know, possibly they will stay in The Hut, but have their own doorway cut into the wall. Actually, this is a probability, because the place where we were going to put a little hut for them has been under water as well!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

i love that you said this, "t is better to be a wiser older person, who has acceptance of the way of life such that in their heart and soul there is happiness and contentment, rather than a miserable 'oh woe is me' type of person who has only misery and darkness in their heart. " good for you. but wow that flooding. i really feel for you. and WOW do i love your puppies!! thanks for the adorable video. i love them looking up into the camera. terrific!

Vera said...

Ohiofarmgirl, thank you for your words. The puppies are heart stealers for sure!

Niall & Antoinette said...

After all that I think you certainly deserve a good slug of Bailey's :-) Great 'glass 1/2 full' attitude!

Horst in Edmonton said...

I'm sure glad for you that the flooding is over. Take care and have a shot of Baileys for me.

Vera said...

Niall and Antoinette, slug of Bailey's done, and feel all the better for it!

Horst, have done. Cheers!