My chooky babies have hatched!

I’d been talking to a mum from Josh’s youth group about our chicken plans and she was excitedly telling me about her new adventures in the same (she got hers last year). She was very excited as she thought that one of the hens was sitting on some babies and said that she was happy for me to have them if it all worked out. I didn’t get too excited as I wasn’t sure if they would really happen but I knew they were Silkies which Louis and I really wanted some of in our flock so really hoped it would work out. I was so excited to get word this week that they have hatched!! We are having 2 and she is keeping 1 (hoping mine turn out to be hens as they are pretty hard to sex apparently!), colours are yet unknown as the dad is a grey Frissee and the possible mums (unsure who’s eggs they are) are dalmation (I think these are known as splash in English), grey, russet or white – although none of them are going to be white (boo hoo) as they are bright yellow. We are going to go for a visit when they are a bit bigger and mum isn’t as protective and we are going to leave them with her until they are about 8 weeks so they get all the good chooky parenting that they need. Here are the darling little fluff balls yesterday at 2 days old:

Can’t wait to meet them and now the pressure is on to get the coop built! Watch this space.

Dinner out!

Our oldest boy has a lovely girlfriend in Australia and her and her mum are currently over here for a visit! We have had a lovely few days with them so far and they are staying at a gite (holiday cottage) just up the road from us. It has 3 separate gites with a lovely communal lounge which as they are the only inhabitants at the moment we got sole use of for dinner! Lots of games and toys for Rémy (he particularly loved the rocking horse) and Lucinda played on the baby grand before dinner – just lovely! Lots of ideas for our renovations.

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Carnivale!

Our village celebrated ‘Carnivale’ – or Mardi Gras as we know it in English a couple of weeks ago. Louis managed to not bring the note home so it was a bit of a rush to get costumes organised but I managed for Louis and Rémy. Louis decided to go as Luke Skywalker (a costume we could manage with limited time!) so of course we needed a little Jedi costume for the small person. I decided to do the 2nd costume about half an hour before we needed to leave – why do I do this to myself!!? Josh was lovely and donated one of his t-shirts as the cape (actually he didn’t know until he saw him but I wasn’t in too much trouble as he was so cute!) and I re-purposed the unused ghost costume (see the Halloween post for why!) as the shirt underneath plus a mini pool noodle light sabre to match Louis’:

 

We met at the school and had afternoon tea and a chat. Rémy the mini Jedi charmed everyone! Here he is being watched over by his big brother Louis Luke Skywalker (not sure how I managed to cut his head off!):

The force is strong in you little one

As happened where we lived in the Aude (presuming it is how it works everywhere here) we did a procession around the village

Our village celebrated ‘Carnivale’ – or Mardi Gras as we know it in English a couple of weeks ago. Louis managed to not bring the note home so it was a bit of a rush to get costumes organised but I managed for Louis and Rémy. We met at the school and had afternoon tea and a chat. Rémy the mini Jedi charmed everyone! Here he is being watched over by his big brother Louis Luke Skywalker (not sure how I managed to cut his head off!):

The force is strong in you little one

As happened where we lived in the Aude (presuming it is how it works everywhere in France?) we did a procession around the village,

before burning ‘Mr Carnivale’ on the petanque area. I’m not exactly sure what this was before it burned as I didn’t see it – I think he was in a castle as there was a princesses and knights theme as a nod to the big medieval festival we are having in the summer (reminder to self to start organising costumes for the whole family for that!):

Rémy wasn’t sure what was going on but had a good time anyway waving his light saber around:

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And stealing other peoples big hammers:

A lovely afternoon was followed by a great evening with a meal, prizes for best costumes and dancing later organised by the school as a fund-raiser. We were very good for once and came home around 11 but I imagine it would have gone on until the early hours like most parties here!

Garlic!

50 gorgeous pink Lautrec garlic cloves ready to go in the ground!

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I was absolutely thrilled to discover I could plant garlic in the spring. Apparently yields are slightly less than for autumn planted garlic but who cares – I get to grow garlic! This variety have a lovely flavour and nice big plump bulbs, they are quite expensive in the shop too so well worth growing, fingers crossed they do grow for me. I can’t wait to see how they go, I’ll definitely update!

 

Garden part I

One of the things we loved as soon as we saw the house was the garden. I thought I better do some posts about it as it has started featuring heavily in my life again the last few days with some gorgeous spring like weather!

It was pretty bare when we viewed the house as it was the end of winter. By the time we got back to France in May it looked like a jungle and scared the life out of us! Here are some photos of what we had to work and deal with!

The figs outside the back door!

The greenhouse all set up and ready to go (not – but at least the bones are there!).

Looking back up at the house from the greenhouse door:

Stood on the terrace (next to the house in the first photo) looking back down the garden (yes we do have our own windmill!!):

Panning left:

And left again (our land ends where the tree line is):

Some massive ancient yukkas at the front:

Wow that makes me exhausted just looking at that!

Sunday autumn walk in the forest.

The weather is just perfect for walks at the moment – generally dry and reasonably warm (around 20 degrees a lot of days). Sundays are always a little fraught as it is hunting season and certain areas are full of the hunters in their fluro orange vests! The woods behind us seem fairly hunter free but even so we were careful to go out late afternoon. The sun was low and the colours and light were gorgeous!

This is looking back across the field behind us towards our house as we were heading off:

We spotted some mad crazy mushrooms (no way was I picking them!):

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The forest is just lovely, we are so lucky to have it just behind our house!

The little guy was just happy looking all around us and at his mummy when we stopped!:

The big boys were happy cutting hazel branches along the way to make arrows (their new favourite pastime!):

I was happy picking up kindling for the fire! I reckon I got about three or four fires worth into the pram!

Heading back home the sunset was amazing I’m just sorry I only had my phone with me as I don’t think it coped too well with any of the light that was in the forest and the sunset (which in real life was incredible!). I’ll remember to take my proper camera next time! If you could see it our place is on the far right of the picture but all you can see is the hedges!

I hope you all had lovely Sundays and are having great weeks! xx

Home made vine wreath.

I have been wanting to make a wreath for a very long time, a simple wooden one that can be decorated depending on the season. Our barn door was looking sadly barn like and the front of the house a little drab and not like a house (well it was a barn and has some characteristics that are more barn than house like!). Someone dropped Josh off after his youth group and commented ‘wow it really is a barn’ which spurred me to take a closer look and to do some quick fixes to make it look a bit more loved and house like from the front!

I had a search online of some tutorials for making your own wreath and lots of them used vine branches – what do you know I have a big one growing (and desperately needing some trimming) at each end of our property! We actually have 2 barns, one that we live in and is in the process of being renovated and the other which is just a barn so to avoid confusion I’ll call the house barn the house and the other barn the barn from here on in!

It was actually pretty easy and fun as well, I think I’ll be making more of them, although I was surprised at the number of vines I used so I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to get from our grape vines.

My first decoration scheme is obviously autumn, with a simple oak twig and acorns. I’m quite impressed with the effect and I think it looks like someone lives here now!

I’ve now added some lovely coloured leaves but it is pouring today so I’ll wait for some sun to get an update photo! Halloween decorations for it are all organised, the lovely couple in our village épicerie (general store) got me in some gorgeous little mini decorative pumpkins. I just need to work out how to attach them!

First Frost!

I was very excited last week to have the first proper frost of the year (not so excited the night before when there was a little frost which nearly wiped out the entire seasons basil crop!). I managed to get some pictures of the lovely view driving down our lane when I took Louis to school – you can see the village in the distance, we are about a kilometre out of town.

Coming back towards our house the sun was coming up at the side of our barn, the frost didn’t last long at all once the sun was up as our days are still fairly nice and warm. Spot the pesky mole hill!

And a couple in the garden:

In this one you can see the 2m x 2m concrete base and gate that are already there waiting for my hen house and run at the back of the garden! The house is about 10m behind me when I took this to give you some perspective.

The weather has warmed up a bit again – thankfully as we aren’t quite ready for the -1 degree nights yet, it was a bit nippy! Our wood heater is working well though so our kitchen / living is warm and cosy as is the boys room above.