dimanche 21 mai 2017

Sheep rescue

Off to collect the sheep this morning and alas as is often the case, when we arrived the poor things were in pretty awful condition and being kept in pretty awful condition. One of the 7 had apparently been killed by a fox since we agreed to come and see them last weekend - though I suspect it had died of blue tongue. One of the ewes had loads of snot issuing from her nose and I'm pretty sure she had the disease. The sheep are all tagged but other than that I don't think they've been well cared for or vaccinated. Their shelter had no bedding and their paddock no grass left. When we went to see them, the 3 ewes escaped leaving us with just two males and a lamb. We took them and are returning tomorrow to try and collect the others - but not the ill ewe who was as thin as a rake poor thing. We'd love to try and rescue her don't want to risk infecting our or other sheep - the disease is spread by mosquito's biting an infected animal then spreading the virus it to it's next victim. 

Once here I think the sheep thought they'd died and gone to heaven. They seemed wild and scared at their old home, but here they are at once calm and content. De-worming, vaccination, hoof trimming and shearing in the coming weeks and hopefully we can give them a better life.

vendredi 19 mai 2017

Sheep Shelter

We're collecting some of our new ouessant sheep on Sunday, so we've spent the last couple of days hurriedly building a shelter for them from mostly salvaged and left over materials. More photos of the sheep as soon as they arrive.

Susie and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary today.

lundi 15 mai 2017

Pic Cabanatous

A hastily organised walk organised by Cherie who's off to Alaska next week. Pascale (Kim "Areige.com" Chevalier's daughter) joined us too. Beautiful weather and walk from Coumbiere upto the col at 1944m that usually leads onto Pic de Rouge de Bassies, but turning left, crossing Pic de Cabanatous then descending to Etang d'Alate before returning to Coumbiere via the Col de Saliex.

On the col 1944m


On the Pic

Still plenty of snow

The frozen Etang

Etang d'Alate

Ice, ice, baby

Mr Froggy

mercredi 10 mai 2017

Tuc d'Eychelle

More pointing, log splitting, looking for new sheep and a new sign for the gite...time for a trip to the mountains!

We set off from Col de la Core and were expecting deep soft snow so took snowshoes, but in fact the snow was firm even in the late afternoon, crampons would have been more useful. We made easy progress and reached the Etang d'Eychelle, still partially frozen, in a couple of hours. 

We had lunch at the cabane d'Eychelle and watched ski tourer descend from Tuc de la Messe, 2 hours of portage seems barely worth the effort for 20 minutes of ski descent.

We headed up towards the peak but a little before the Col de la crouzette the snow was getting very firm, so we avoided the shadow and headed left to the Col d'Aubies. The last few metres were free of snow but scrappy and unstable, whilst on the snow a sizeable rock narrowly missed us.

From the Col we headed North eventually reaching the Tuc d'Eychelle. I re-erected the summit cross which had fallen over, then we descended directly to the Cabane d'Eychelle once more.

Susie with Valier appearing behind Tuc de Quer Ner


We lazed at the Etang d'Eychelle watching the frogs jumping in and out of the lake, a Red Kite overhead and later a paraglider, before heading home.

samedi 6 mai 2017

It's rude to point!

Two and a half days of pointing and the South and West sides of the barn are complete..probably the first time it's been pointed since it was built in May 1861, if ever. A tiny hole left in the middle of the South wall for some nesting blue tits, who tolerated me hanging about. Even flying to within a foot of me to make feeds. For the last two years they've nested in the West wall.

lundi 1 mai 2017

Amphitheatre field

Much neglected over the past few years, Susie and I have been re-clearing field 8 which forms a lovely natural amphitheatre. Lots of brambles and even more year old trees. The lower terrace was never very successful because of the copse of oak trees and the enormous beech which cut out all the light...both had to go and now finally it feels like it'll be a success.  Could this be where the sauna goes??

samedi 29 avril 2017


Ruby was here for a week, relaxing and regaining her energy after a short spell in hospital whilst her epilepsy drugs were changed. Lots of sun and a few strolls in the forest was just what the doctor ordered!

The day after she left the snow arrived. Fortunately just a few inches, but the cold weather has damaged the kiwis and killed many of out tender seedlings which had just been planted outside.

After the snow

Temperatures have now returned to normal and we've been busy replacing and adding to out plants.

samedi 22 avril 2017

Shellie and the chicks were let out of their special rearing coop (which I hastily built the day before the eggs hatched) for a stroll around the main chicken run (the other chickens and the rooster we're locked out). A dust bath for Shellie and taste of grass for the chicks!

The weather here has been exceptional for the past fortnight - mid twenties every day...but snow is forecast for Wednesday night/Thursday morning at Quélébu. The trees are now in leaf so lets hope it's not as catastrophic as the May snow of 2010.

dimanche 16 avril 2017

Chicks are hatching!!

Four chicks for our hen Shellie, who has been sitting for the past 3 weeks. She had a dozen or so eggs under her but we only expected 5-6 chicks as these the others she's manage to collect from the other hens over the 3 weeks. In the end, once she had 4 chicks she quickly abandoned the other eggs.

vendredi 14 avril 2017

Cap de Bouirex

A long overdue stroll into the mountains with John, Sophie and Pierre. Cap de Bouirex gave us a snow free walk and an excellent view of the amount of snow still in the mountains. A lot of red kites wheeling over the summit. 

Back at Quélebu log splitting and field fencing continues.

jeudi 13 avril 2017

We're fully booked for the 3 weeks of Easter, so other than change-overs we've been able to spend our time doing something other than building the gite. I had to launch straight into some Architecture commissions which were overdue, then tidy up some fallen trees before the annual job of repair, replace and re-fix the fencing to the fields - almost complete. We may have sheep soon!

Susie started giving contemporary dance classes in Saint Girons. Just a couple of people at her first class, but hopefully she'll double that today.

lundi 3 avril 2017

All done!!

Well almost! There's always a few small things to finish aren't there, but we have 2 bookings already through air b'n'b. Next week we'll build our own website and get some more listings.

mercredi 29 mars 2017

Terrace finished!

Bloody hot today but the terrace is finished - the list is getting smaller and we have electricity!!

mardi 28 mars 2017

Egyptian visitor

A long day in Toulouse yesterday getting the last furnishings for the gite and a panic when we couldn't find a door for the shower! Although the websites of Lapeyre and Castorama both showed that they had doors available the reality on turning up was that we would have to order and wait 4 weeks! At last an evening trip to bricodepot in Pamiers saved the day.

Today Susie has started furnishing the inside whilst I built the terrace and installed the shower door. 

A rare sighting indeed today as an Egyptian Vulture circled overhead! We also saw a Hoopoe last week which is quite early in the year.