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, 

Sunday 16 September 2018

...and another snake episode.......

So on a frantic skip and a hop to the loo the other day, with trousers already at half mast in readiness for the joyful moment of collapse on to the toilet seat, my OH was put into a state of high panic which sent him spinning away in the opposite direction,  complete with arms flailing wildly about his person, in haste to get away from the  snake which, just at the very moment he was going to position himself on the loo, had come out from behind that same loo and was heading  straight towards him on a collision course. To see such a thing at such a delicate moment of loo requirement would send anyone into a state of panic, as I am sure you will agree, and so Lester was receiving of  quite a big panic and was not particularly impressed by  the mirth which cascaded from me when he told me what had happened.

Well, that snake was captured and deceased, the same as was the snake that was lolling about by the doors in the Half Barn workroom but that was only a small one and could be held underneath a bottling jar until my OH could decease that too. But the snake which fell on my head as I walked through the front doors a few weeks ago still lives on, and did not give me a fright because I happened to be half asleep when this episode occurred.

As for the snake in the bathroom episode, we do not know how it got so far in to the house. Snakes around doors, we can understand that, although I did not know that they could climb up walls to sunbathe on ledges over doors, but I do now, so I always look upwards when going through the front door...... just in case. But the bathroom is at the back of the house so goodness knows how it managed to get there. Often times ever since, especially during loo trips at night, thoughts about snakes popping up from somewhere or other will come into the mind, the worst one being one wiggling its way from out of the toilet bowl when I am sitting doing my loo job. This is a time when common sense is hidden behind the fug of sleep.

And we seem to be having a lot of sightings of mice at the moment, who seem to be are quite brazen about being seen, even refusing to budge if we are nearby. Actually, I must correct that..... the mice are being seen by my OH when he is walking between the Tall Barn and the Middle Barn  and normally during the evening milking, when he is carrying the milk pail back to the kitchen, the door of which is at the end of Middle Barn. It is a dark space, make darker by the going to sleep of the day, so I tend to avoid this space at this time of day preferring to use the front door, but if I do feel bold enough to take this short cut to the house I will make much noise with my voice to let any creatures that might be lingering about know that I am coming and would they scamper away somewhere else and not give me a fright. I have made the suggestion to my OH that he also do this, but he doesn't, so that is why he is seeing the mice, and also got a fright the other night when a 'very huge rat'' (his words) crossed his path.

I think the recent appearance of these 'tame' mice, is because my OH has spent the recent weeks getting the old bedding straw  cleared out from the cow pens in the Tall Barn so the cows can start coming in at night. The mice would have had their homes in that bedding, and would have also been used to seeing Lester when he sat on the milking stool milking the cows.

The Tall Barn......all clean and tidy, waiting for the new bedding to be put down, and having a peacefulness which is magical. 

It will take lots of wheelbarrows of straw to fill this space, just as it has taken loads of wheelbarrow trips to dump the old bedding out on to Veg Plots 1, 2, & 3, but the work of doing so has improved the soil in the soil in these areas over the years, which has made this work worthwhile. 

Must be  off to cook some food for my hardworking husband, 
so bye for now.