Wednesday 25 July 2018

Wheelbarrows,.... the wheeling of,

I have been working my way through my blogs, of which there are over 800, copying them from Google and putting them into a website so I can save them in case Google blows up, or something .......  This is what has been occupying me during this hot weather we have been having.

So I came to the 17th May 2015 blog, and this made me laugh, so I thought I might share it part of it with you......Bonny and Lissie are our house cows, ........

'So it came to the mid morning break of coffee and cake. All outside morning chores were done, and now it was the patch of time between the break and lunch. It can be quite a small patch of time which can easily be wasted especially if tiredness is hanging heavily upon one. On looking at Lester I could see that his eyes were getting a glazed sleepy look, so to perk him up I suggested that I help him with
getting Bonny's pen cleaned out. It was in a muck, and he had got half of it done already, but had sort of run out of steam, and I was needing a break from the house so I thought that the two of us might get the job finished.

Under instruction now from Lester..........
" see this wheel it through there (the middle barn) and out into the middle veg paddock........then you bring it back here and take this one (the other wheelbarrow now full of straw and poo and wetness and aroma) and empty that while I fill this one up for you...."

The wheelbarrow was fully loaded. It was heavy. I could hardly lift the handles to get it moving. Lester had already half filled the other wheelbarrow. I had to get moving.

Things I have learnt: 

- that steering a loaded wheelbarrow round tight corners must be done with care, and not to tip it sideways even slightly to help steer it round the corner because the weight of the load will increase the tipping sideways movement and that lady arms really have to struggle to stop the wheelbarrow from dumping its load, so best to wiggle the wheelbarrow to and fro to negotiate any tight corners.

- that when presented with a plank of wood which has been balanced on a couple of bricks down which the wheelbarrow has to be pushed, that it is best to go at speed down this plank, narrow and wobbly that it might be, and not to fear that one might fall off and do a harm to one's self because this will make one take care and slow down which might prove disastrous as the slowing down will make the plank wobble even more which will then encourage one to fall off the plank anyway, plus of course the wheelbarrow which has been placed in one's care for the duration of the trip out to the veg plot. Be mindful then of the responsibility to this fully loaded barrow, and go swiftly down the plank.

- that it is wise to give an extra push to the wheelbarrow as the bottom of the plank is reached to avoid the moment when the wheel of the wheelbarrow connects with the dip where the plank meets the ground.

If being in a 'careful in case I fall off the plank' mindset then one is likely to have a very unhappy experience as the wheelbarrow suddenly comes to a jerking halt similar to that of having the breaks applied to the wheels of a moving car. This will cause a very unhappy experience as the back of the wheelbarrow collides with one's tummy, and one's arms go into overdrive as they try to stop the entire wheelbarrow from falling sideways.

Therefore, as mentioned previously, it is better to go at speed down the plank so that a momentum can be gained to get one's self and the wheelbarrow across the possibly disastrous dip.

- that one might think that one is fitter than one actually is. this being highlighted when the loaded wheelbarrow finally arrives at the site where the load is to be deposited, and there being no energy left in one's lady arms to lift the handles of the wheelbarrow sufficiently high enough so that the load can be tipped out.

- that pushing a wheelbarrow over uneven ground can be quite uncomfortable on the feet. That it is therefore best to where the stoutest shoes / boots that one owns, and not slipper type shoes / crocs which will only end up making one's feet very sore.

- that the first time one takes the trip out to the veg plot is a novelty because one is so pleased to have made the trip, but beware that by the second, third, fourth, trip, that the novelty can wear thin.

Best to then put your mind on other things while one continues to work. 
Best not to get diverted and stop a while to look at the pigs in their paddock nearby. 
Best not to notice that one of the young female pigs has the hots for the male pig in the pen beside her. 
Best not to see that she has pushed her rump firmly against the fence in between them so he can get to her. 
Best not to realise that she has pushed the fence away from the board which is supposed to stop her from doing just that. 
Best not to go do a rescue on that fence. 
Better even more is not to pick up the wet three pronged gardening implement which is handily placed nearby and prod the frustrated female pig away. Ouch! Yes, Ouch! 
Better to have switched off the electric fencing before one used the implement. 

Not to worry, the thud across one's chest only lasts a moment, but one's head will let one know that one is receiving of an electric shock only after the event has passed, so then one has the curious sensation of thinking 'I'm having an electric shock oh crikey' when one is not actually having an electric shock because the moment of having the electric shock has passed. That one's world might feel that it has stopped, but the good news is that everything will be back to normal shortly.

- that one might have a soppy moment after such an event. That one might just let the wheelbarrow drop and possibly fall on to its side as the magnificent thought dawns upon one that one has just been receiving of one's first real live electric shock. That it is very nice to be 'rescued' by one's partner and told to go inside the house and do something else, like cook dinner. Which I did.

- that it is alright to find one's self yelling at the top of one's voice "I don't want to be a farm girl!" Not to worry, this particular mood will also pass after a cup of tea, a slice of cake, and a change into dry clothes. (It had been raining all the while I had been to and fro with the wheelbarrow)

Bonny's pen is done, now we have the larger pen of Lissie to do, and then on to the sheep barn which is an even bigger might take a while...... '


Saturday 21 July 2018

Thoughts being posted in,........

Several times I have tried to write a blog but end up deleting it because all I do is lapse into moans, which will not do. One must be resilient and keep on persevering whatever one is doing in life. One must not give up, change direction if you must, but never give up the immediate project.

And I shall not complain about the weather because I cannot change what it is doing this year. From weeks of rain and winds and chill for the first few months to immediately high temperature which has encouraged high humidity and storms. My body does not like heat and humidity, and wants to go into hibernation until it gets cooler, so things do not get done because there is no energy to do them with, which then makes my head go all of a grumble because of the list of things it wants me to do. So then body and mind start arguing with each other, and I end up being fed up with both of them.  

Not to worry, keep going, that is what one must do, and not allow the mouth to take a downward tilt signalling the grumblings of a depression on the horizon. One must keep the mouth up tilted, encouraging a positive state of mind. I must admit, however, that keeping the mouth in the upward slope is an effort, especially when I see the state of the farm. All of it is gradually becoming overgrown. Brambles are rampant, and they are the worst, and have even started growing into the house wherever they can find a hole big enough to shove a bit of themselves through. 

But I have cut a way through to the river, the path having become overgrown with nettles and new growing bramble shoots, all of which were easy to scythe down. I had to use Lester's bush scythe though because I had broken my own scythe....... too much hacking away at weeds and brambles broke the blade, but it has been stoical in its efforts to cut down anything which I put in its way. I think it was the collision with a big lump of wood which finally fractured the metal. It was hidden in a clump of nettles. I was in a really good rhythm, swish, ......swish..... swish......down the nettles were falling, and onwards we were going through the nettle patch........very satisfying.......then all became at a stop as the log was scythed into, the blade sinking in quite deep into the half rotten wood. Oh dear, I was stopped mid flow, and the blade became a dead one. A new blade is ordered. It is much needed. I miss scything because it loosens up my back and arm muscles, and there is lots of vegetation to cut down on the farm. 

The other day, as I was out and about, a thought arrived in my head to 'Go get some courgette and butternut squash seeds'. 
'Where would I plant them?' I ask the thought......
'In the Veg Plot One, in the patch which has not grown any weeds yet because of the manure Lester put there a few weeks ago.'
'Oh that patch, ' I said, signalling the car to go left so I could go to the necessary shop to buy the seeds, which I thought was a good idea because I love acquiring seeds. 
And then my own thoughts fired themselves at me....... 'Wait a minute, don't want to do that.... ....I though you weren't going to grow anything in the Veg Plots this year.....'
So signalling to go right, I drove the car past the shop, intending to continue on home. But no, that was not to be, because the original 'posted into my head' thought took hold of me, and I found myself in the shop, buying the seeds, by will having been overwhelmed by the thought. 

This happens sometimes. I am used to it. I am carrying on in my usual manner, and then a thought will get posted into my head. I would not have been thinking of the subject that the thought is connected with, is as if an email has arrived, but not in the inbox of my computer, but in the inbox in my head. And they are strong thoughts which are not to be ignored, and they are always right. To leave the UK and come to live in France arrived in my head like that. 

Sometimes the thought requires a lot of effort to follow through with, and has me either dismissing it or even arguing with it, so then the thought goes to sleep. I might think it is finished with, but it never will either come alive again or another ongoing thought will be posted in relevant to the original thought. This is what happened with coming to France to live. I have free will of course, but I have asked for guidance in life, and these 'postings in' are that guidance, even if they seem irrelevant or minor, rather than answers to major questions.

It is like having a strong guidance system set up out in the Universe somewhere, which sends 'thought signals' through to me at certain points in my life's pathway, helping me keep going forward. Well that's alright for the big things in life, but  buying seeds....I think I was being reminded that I am not on my own, that I am being helped every step of the way.....but seeds?

And here's the thing about a 'posted in' thought....... there often does not seem to be any reason to follow through with it..... like buying those seeds....

Anyway, I bought the seeds, and today I have planted them in a tiny patch of weed free soil in Veg Plot One, and I felt that it was a sign not to give up, to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed, but only temporarily. 

I have just read the start of the blog, and was going to delete the last section about 'having a thought emailed into my head', when quite clearly a voice said, 'Don't you dare', so I didn't. 

Bye for now,



Tuesday 3 July 2018

Cooking nicely.......

This was not supposed to look like this. OK, the river water was held away from the house by this heap, but it is not going to do anything towards keeping us warm this winter. 
This heap? It is supposed to be our wood pile, delivered a few months ago, and which should have been stacked properly, and it would have been if it had not been for the inclement weather which went on and on and on for several months.

Anyway, let's not dwell on that, let's be glad that the weather has changed, let's be happy that we have lovely sunny weather, let's feel glad, yippydoodoooo.....

And the wood pile is now being sorted, but only bit by bit, and only by Lester because I have been banned from helping because he thinks that snakes, adders in particularly, might be living in the heap and he does not want me bitten. He, bold fellow, seems not to worry that he might be the one to get bitten, but he is now on a mission to get that wood pile sorted out. 
This means that the 'Making a Mini Milking Shed Project' is now put on hold, so for the moment I shall keep dusting the mini milka which is keeping company with my spinning wheel in our hallway.

Still a long way to go, but there is something about seeing a pile of neatly stacked wood which is pleasantly reassuring. 

And there is also something equally pleasant going on in the courtyard, because I have taken over half of the arbre to make a 'Me Zone'. This was the half which housed the hay and straw for several winters until we got fed up with the mess it made, so now the the bales stay out on the front drive. To stop this space being used for Lester's stuff I moved in toute suite. After all, he does have the other half, which houses his mini tractor and its implements, so it is only fair that I should have the other side. 

So.... first of all I put my sunbed in the space, then I hung some washing line from beam to beam and back again. OK, so this does mean that I shall have washing festooned over my head when I am in there but not to worry, at least I have somewhere to hang the washing.
And then I found a home for a garden table, which did not have a proper use. It is now my work table, for putting things on ...... like seedlings, spinning equipment, cup of coffee, etc......, and then I made my first mini garden comprising of a few pots of this and that. 
It is a start. I have somewhere to sit, where I can fuss over and talk to the seeds as they sprout into seedlings, where I can connect with the growing of plants which are not weeds.

It feels like a cosy hut, and I love it. 

,,,,, and swinging around.....

..... to the raised beds.....


Celery, a few bush beans, and lettuce.

Lettuce, beetroot, a self sown tomato, chives, and thyme. 
The other three beds are not planted, but I shall potter on with doing so as time progresses.
Meanwhile Veg Plots 1, 2, and 3, remain fallow.
We shall not be having any harvests this year of produce we can store for winter use, but at least the raised beds are keeping my love of growing things satisfied for the time being. At least I have somewhere to potter around in the cool of the early morning, have somewhere to sit when I am spinning this year's wool from our sheep, and a place to laze should the mood come upon me to do so. Meanwhile we continue to cook nicely as the high temperatures are maintained day after day. 

..... and trying not to be concerned for the dentist who I am going to visit this afternoon, who has to deal with an English woman who will not mind sitting in his chair and letting him do what he has to do, but whose French is sometimes alright and sometimes isn't, and his English language which has the same off and on quality to it. 
It was the same in the local market I went to a few days ago. I could not seem to access my French vocabulary at all, which had several French people amused, in particular a French man who teased me on and on as I tried to explain to him what I wanted. In fact, so ticked off was I at my ineptness, that I took myself along to a local Brocante run by an English lady, and partook of a cup of a coffee and a good long conversation with her, and all in English.

Blame the heat for seemingly robbing me of being able to access my minimal French vocabulary. You would think that my French would have improved better than what during the ten years we have been here, but unfortunately lack of practice is the problem. Our life  is quiet here, and most contact is with English people...........

Four hours later: I'm back!
The dentist is not far away, about five minutes. I could have driven the car myself to get me there, but I didn't know how I would feel after the visit, so Lester drove me there, and said he would pick me up again, all I had to do was use his mobile phone to ring him at home to let him know I was ready.
I don't have a mobile phone, so after lengthy instructions from Lester about how to make a phone call, which I wrote down so I would not forget them, off we went. 
The dentist was a lovely man. Very charmingly French, and insisted on  speaking English to me, bless him. Anyway, one crown to be replaced in two weeks time, and a specialist extraction to be done in Tarbes as soon as possible. 
Time to phone home, but mobile would not work as given by Lester's instructions. Oh. So walked down the road into Plaisance, public call boxes around that I could remember, so put up a thought to the Universe for someone to come along who I knew. And they did! Another lovely Frenchman who bought two of our sheep a few years ago, and who sings in a French choir I was thinking of joining, that's who I met. 

Home now. 
Need to sign off,
so bye for now,


PS. Still cooking nicely. Storm coming.