dimanche 29 juin 2008
Works over the past few days:
Topping fields 2 and 4 and 5, scything the various paths from them down to the stream and a few parcelles close to the house (not mine);
Finishing the barn accommodation - made a couple of beds, some curtains, some duvet covers, finished the wiring, now just awaiting a solar panel and all is done;
Some architectural work for my neighbours;
Weeding the vegetable patches;
A short walk;
Tomorrow probably cutting a small field for hay which belongs to Dédé (one of my neighbours) - which means it will probably rain for the next week.
jeudi 26 juin 2008
Mines de Bentaillou (telephoto lens shot from the summit)
Rather than descend the same way I headed for the Port de Hourquette and descended towards the Mines de Bentaillou, but kept right passing the refuge de sans and crossing the bottom of the Couloir Tartereau (scene of my recent avalanche). It was a long outing (9hrs) and with over 2000m (6600ft) of vertical ascent and then descent and about 24km (15miles) my feet and knees are feeling it.
Waterfall at the bottom of the Couloir Tartereau
mercredi 25 juin 2008
Overcast most of today but forecast is for some clear skies tomorrow morning, so I'll probably make a long overdue trip to the mountains.
lundi 23 juin 2008
mardi 17 juin 2008
Yesterday a trip to Ikea Toulouse to get a few bits and pieces and a new sofa. The one I have at the moment is a second hand Ikea one given to me by Ian and Ruth when I first bought Quelebu, it's a bit tired now and was never very comfortable - but it'll go well in the barn 'appartment'.
I had a broody chicken today sitting on ten eggs - so I hurriedly built a broody box for her so she wouldn't be disturbed - but then she changed her mind! Women! Oh well I have a broody box for next time.
Weather is set to improve at last tomorrow, just as I leave for a few days in Marseille, typical. Will have to spread out the hay before I go and hope its dry when I get back.
jeudi 12 juin 2008
This morning it was dry but the sky was full of storm clouds. I carried on with the final fitting out of the barn and just before lunch turned the hay...again. Penny came over at lunch time to return some books I lent her, then after lunch, with the forecast for the next ten days being RAIN, I decided to bring in all the hay (aka wet grass) and throw it up into a haycock until we have some better weather when I'll need to respread it to dry. Of course as soon as I started the sun came out and it was hot as you like. I used the jimny and trailer to help transport the hay back to the barn where I built the haycock and six hours and more than 20 trailer loads later its all done - must be 2 1/2 tonnes of hay I reckon (more at the moment as its wet). About double what I got off the same field last year. About 2/3rds of it is in a proper haycock the other third is just piled up for now.
mercredi 11 juin 2008
mardi 10 juin 2008
The oak and matchboard to finish inside the barn arrived and I began moving it into the barn. The oak (surprise, surprise) was unbelievable heavy and although I managed to move the two short lengths (4.5m x 300 x 40) single handed into the barn, the longer lengths of 5.5m were too much. I shifted them to the barn with one end in an uncontrolled wheelbarrow and the other being pushed and carried by me, but had to wait for John to give me a hand to get it into the barn. The sun came out and ever hopeful I turned the hay.
Irish Barry who has a house in the village came to visit (he's here for a couple of months) then the heavens opened and the rain didn't stop until the evening. A brief lull in the rain's intensity allowed the three of us (John had arrived by now) to get the last bits of oak into the barn, but we spent most the afternoon chatting and drinking tea.
When the rain eventually stopped the sun came out but I didn't bother turning the hay, preferring to scythe the brambles and ferns rearing their heads in field no 1 and cutting the oak to length to fit on top of the walls.
lundi 9 juin 2008
Yesterday evening the sheep managed to get into the chicken run, overturn the chicken feeder and eat all the chicken food. It's obviously the equivalent of crack cocaine for sheep - as today they tried everything to get into the run again. - breaking a gate, braving the shocks from the electric fence and forcing their way between iron bars - in the end I had to move them to another field and crank up the electric fence charge until they'd cooled down. Unfortunately the chicken feed goes straight through them, so now they look like they have been dragged through a cesspit. They'll need to be dagged again when it has all dried.
By four the hay was cooking nicely and I began consolidating the windrows into about a dozen rows for final collecting. This year I have (two) old wooden hay rakes. I found these in Pont de la Taule and although nearly toothless I've mended them both. So much easier to use than the garden grass rake I used last year. The hay had dried amazingly quickly thanks to a gentle warm breeze and the fields SW aspect. It was ready to collect by six...until the rain started. Fortunately it was fairly light and short lived, so if it stays dry tonight and we have a few hours of warmth tomorrow I might get away with it.
dimanche 8 juin 2008
samedi 7 juin 2008
Field 1 with sheep and potato patch
Field 1 again, looking grassy
The same view in mid-March just after finishing reclaiming the field.
My first cherries beginning to ripen
Another veggie patch with cabbages, cauliflower, fennel, haricot beans , mangetout, onions, leeks and chard.
Field 3 grass keep desperate to be cut but awaiting dry weather
Chickens in field 2
mercredi 4 juin 2008
So I gently announced my presence and he made off down the field. For a large animal he was incredible agile - bounding much more like a deer than a pig.
Spent the rest of the day at Pont de la Taule progressing with the doorway which I knocked through with Ian's help yesterday.
lundi 2 juin 2008
Externally there is no sign of it as the whole house is rendered. After some careful dismantling, it turns out that most of the door frame is still in place, sandwiched between the stone and the render.
Alas the oak lintels are rotten, so tomorrow I need to prop the wall and replace them. Fortunately I have some off cuts of oak left over from the barn.