Sunday 27 January 2019

My bowl of cornflakes.....

I was hungry, so I got myself out of bed to have a bowl of cornflakes and to have a chat with you at the same time. It is the middle of the night.

Do I, or do I not, get involved again with the little choir I conducted before Christmas, as I find myself getting tangled up with the making of music with them once more. And why is it that I have this drive to organize the choir folk so that they can get the best out of themselves, which they definitely did on the last concert just before Christmas. I was so proud of them. They shone, which sent a lot of light and happiness into the maison de retraite residents.

Anyway, the little group has got together again. I spent a bunch of hours yesterday searching for the relevant music on the web, then downloading it and re-writing what needs correcting. It is mostly French Pyrenees folk music, some of which sends shivers down my spine. I find it very seductive. I think it must be a past life connection I have to this area because I have a love of the Basque music.

But aren't I supposed to be getting myself sorted out with the art of podcasting, which seems to be taking an age. Such a lot to think about.

And then there is the general housewife stuff........ looking after the two of us takes up quite a chunk of head space, as does listening to the woes of my partner as he grapples with the complicated world of the virtual office. Bless him, he works hard for us.

The farm, that also needs some attention. The winter has not been cold enough to make the wild plants go to sleep, instead they doze, waking up frequently to put on another growth spurt. The brambles in particular are starting to romp away. If not cut down they will soon own the farm.
And then there is the chicken hut, which has started to have a worrying lean to its original upward stance. There are mounds around its feet, which might be either rat or mole tunnels. It is possible that the feet of the chicken hut are sliding into this newly made space in the earth.

Then there is me, and the need to give some time to my crafts, music, and everything else I do to keep in balance. I am out of balance at the moment, which is why I am awake at three o'clock in the morning writing to you. Oh dear!

Not to worry, life is good, and everything is as it should be. The owl that zig-zagged from side to side in front of the car I was a passenger in the other day said this was so. It was dusk. I had been to a choir meeting and was being taken home by a kind friend. The owl came then. It flew at shoulder height alongside the car, then flew from side to side in front of the car. For some distance it did this. The other passengers didn't take much notice, but I did, for whenever an owl comes into my space in an unexpected way, then I know that things are on the change for me, and that everything will be alright. They are one of the signposts that the Universe sends me to let me know that all is well.

But.....I have wandered off the I continue with the choir, or do I gently release myself from their project and focus on what I already need to do? Not sure. So perhaps to put the choir project  out of my mind for a day or two and see where my thoughts travel.

Meanwhile, I am back to Project Podcast. I am getting along with it, but slowly. I have had a few goes at speaking to front of camera, and am training myself not to use a silly voice, a voice which sometimes comes forth to overcome shyness. Looking at myself on screen, I am surprised that I do not look as I think I look. I have watched many podcasts within my genre, but prefer the presenters who do not posh themselves up with coiffured hairdo and painted faces. Therefore I shall be as nature intended, but dressed of course! And here again, I see that I look plumply round in body shape, larger than I thought I was, but I wouldn't be able to give someone the hug they badly needed if  I was stick thin. One must have a cushiony bosom to be able to hug someone properly, and that I have in abundance.

Crikey, it is now four o'clock in the morning, so I really ought to go to bed. I always write better during the hours of night. No distractions I suppose.

The cornflakes are now being recycled in my tummy, and I am starting to get a little chilled so off I must go to get warmed up again in bed.

Oh, must just say that one of the cows got out of their pen and decapitated the rest of the green vegetables which were growing in the raised beds in the courtyard, the same vegetables which were munched on when the sheep did a raid a while ago. The vegetables are now stumps of stalk so non retrievable. Not to worry. I shall continue on with the 'growing our own' project, which, to be quite honest, is definitely not happening at the moment, but is not absolutely dead despite the raids on the raised beds by cows, sheep, magpies, blackbirds, rats, mice, and everything else which is hungry.

And......we have two lambs born.

 ....bye for now, and thanks for keeping me company.


Thursday 10 January 2019

The road to podcasting

The last few days have seen me panicking about this podcasting project which I have embarked upon. Why do I do this. Why do I get all in a tizz and fill my head with thoughts about not being able to achieve what I originally set out to achieve in terms of my personal self.  So many times when a project had appeared in my life, and was started, and brought to almost completion, and then stopped because of either me running away from it or life getting in the way.

Lack of self confidence, that is what it is. Comes from my early background. From parents who could never say 'well done', but instead chose to critisize my every endeavour. Not to worry, it was as it was, and I have learnt the reasons why they were as they were.They did their best, as all of us who are parents try to do for our children, but none of us are perfect, and we must remember that when we find ourselves passing judgement on others.

So back to podcasting.........and my tizziness.......where do I start...... I don't know.......what subjects do I use for the content of the podcast, I have a lot of subject material but which do I use, ........and then there is the learning of the camera, which is an expensive one I bought several years ago when the one I was using ended up in the mud of the sheep's paddock. The new camera has lots of knobs and things, none of which have ever been learnt by me because, well, I ncver did because the camera took good photos left on its factory settings. But now I need to take videos, because podcasting requires that I sit in front of the camera talking into it.

And then there is social media. For all of my seventy plus years I have avoided this modern technology, and do not even own a mobile phone. Since I am a trainee podcaster. I need to break through my dislike of social media. Thank goodness for YouTube. Others have paved my way with info associated with all that I need to know. All I have to do is stop panicking.

And so why am I feeling the urge to podcast. In truth, I don't know, it is just what my next project needs to be. Something to do with the Universe and me. Meanwhile the 'Jardin de Salade' project remains on hold as Lester continues working on his computer with the UK, USA, and Canada, all via a virtual environment. There is hardly any spare time in which to tend to the needs of the farm at the moment, although the animals remain well cared for. Not to worry, it is as it is, and all will turn out alright in the end.

The plants in the raised beds which were decapitated when the sheep raided the courtyard a couple of weeks of ago are not going to recover now we have had a series of sharp frosts. I did buy some onions to give me a feeling that we were keeping on going with growing our own food but I am sorry to say that we have hardly any of our produce at the moment. One thing, though, is that although there has been a 'stop' in regards to feeding ourselves, it is only temporary. This is a relief because we could have decided not to pick up the 'growing your own' pathway because of the amount of work it takes. So the vegetable plots remain untended, apart from Lester continuing his daily deliverance upon them of manure donated to us by the cows, and the sheep who are occasionally allowed to roam over them so they can eat the rampant weeds.

I shall sign off now, as other things need doing, like casting on another pair of socks on my knitting needles, emptying two large pots of sheep which have been cooking on the Rayburn, and other sundry tasks relevant to my life as a homesteader wife and erstwhile podcaster.......

Bye for now,

Friday 4 January 2019

A frost, and a sit.....

The frosts have arrived, so the wood burner stove is now lit all day...

and I am often to be found parked in the chair beside it, often drifting off into a doze, trying not to look at the washing up and other house jobs needing to be done which are in my line of sight as I cuddle up in the chair. I like the place tidy, but most times it is not. 
And a word about the chair, ... it is an elderly chair, with springs in the seat which are not all in sync with each other so some are still quite springy and others have lost their puff. In total, then, the landscape of the seat is up and down so one has to be careful where one parks one's butt if one is to have a reasonably pleasurable sitting experience.
And then there are the arms, which have become quite wobbly but feel as if they might fall off if given too much of a bump. The legs are feeling vaguely wobbly as well. 
To add to all of this, the chair is low in height, so one tends to plop down in it with some force. 
It is therefore quite likely that the chair and I will suffer a mutual catastrophe at some point in the future, but not for today......let us hope for quiet and peaceful naps without damage to either myself of the chair as we merge with each other.  

Need to refuel the fire and myself.....logs for the fire, and a buttered  slice of DIY teabread with a mug of coffee for myself, and perhaps a short park up in the chair to keep the fire company, just in case it feels lonely!

Bye for now,


Wednesday 2 January 2019

2019 has crept up on us!

It is a quiet life here in rural SW France, with the days flowing by  only given structure to by the governing order of routine as laid down by the requirements of Lester's work schedule.

So I knew that Christmas was coming up because I was involved with a Christmas choir singing French and English Christmas carols to retired folk in the maisons de retraite in Marciac, Plaisance, and Castelnau Riviere Basse. All went well. I jigged and jumped and made a grand effort at keeping everything moving, my role as the conductor of the choir allowing me to do so. I learnt that I can play my tambourine with great verve and that it can make a grand noise if encouraged to do so, which is a bit like me really.

The concerts were positioned around the solstice of mid winter, (December 21st). At noon of that day you would have found me standing in a field with several other people, doing solstice related things. I would quickly say that this did not involve anything which required certain types of dress, ( robes, nakedness, etc......) nor did it involve all sixteen of us to dance around waving fronds of greenery. All we did was stood at certain points of the compass as laid out on the ground beneath our feet, and stood in a prayer led meditation. All was calm, all was peaceful. And then all back to the house to partake of lunch, which was full of good food, and good company.

Once this day had passed, so, too, did the feelings of it being the festive season, and Christmas seemed to float past us, as did New Years Eve.

In my head I am fiddling with the idea of starting a podcast. I am finding that blogging does not fully express all that I want to say, and so limits my creativity. The blog was started in 2009, which was just after we arrived here in France, and was specifically intended to record our journey of renovating our ruin of a house and land. There was lots to write about. But as 2019 arrives I am finding that I need to open up other avenues, hence the podcast idea.

So two possibilities are in the air. One is the starting of our Salad Garden (the Market Garden Project), which is on hold at the moment because Lester is working full time on his computer and does not have the time to get the project going, but I do what I can on the farm to keep the project alive. Mostly this is with working on our system of raised beds, which was going well until the sheep wandered into the courtyard and ate the tops off most of the vegetables growing there, except the onions....apparently they don't like them.

While the farm is on slow down, I have the time to investigate being a podcaster.

Shall I, or shall I not.......the answer to that remains unknown at the moment......whatever is to  happen during 2019 sits in the mystery of time, and it does not matter in what direction we go in as long as Lester and I stay in sync with each other and keep going forward. And this I also wish for you, that no matter what comes along during the New Year, that you see it as moving forward, even if you are not quite sure of where that 'moving forward' is moving you forward to!

Sending blessings to you, that you remain uplifted and full of hope,

Bye for now