samedi 21 avril 2018

Pyrenees Contemporary Dance Residential

Its been a very hectic few weeks preparing and running the dance residential. 4 teachers, 18-20 dancers from France, England, Finland, Germany, Norway and New Zealand and 6 days of workshops culminating this evening with an evening performance which we hope will be well attended.

Tomorrow a walk up Joubac, before they catch their flights in the evening from Toulouse.

A few days ago another surprise arrival - a lamb for Nanouk!

mercredi 11 avril 2018

Sheep pulling faces

Typical spring weather with sunshine and showers and the old hail and thunderstorm. The lambs are growing up quickly, though they don't like having their pictures taken!

The new field is now fenced and linked to the amphitheatre field through a cleared passage under the trees. Still have a bit of the amphitheatre field to finish fencing next week, then I can get the sheep in there to start nibbling the brambles that are starting to shoot. Put the camera trap in there last night and the new link between the fields has already been visited by our resident badgers and fox.

 new field

 the link

 the amphitheatre field

In the woods the flowers have started - violets, spurge, helibore, wood anenomes, cuckoo flowers, early purple and common orchids and bluebells.

lundi 2 avril 2018


The old pergola made from some tree branches (amazingly 5 years old already), gave up the ghost during the winter and started to disintegrate as the wood rotted. So time to make a new one. Easy to build but not so easy to re-thread though the kiwi and climbing rose that had wrapped themselves around the old structure! I made another picnic table too (the one I made last year was destined for the gite).

All in the nick of time, as winter seems to have ended after a long 5 months and temperatures are back in the high teens with a South wind too. 22 degress predicted for later in the week - bliss!

jeudi 29 mars 2018

Who's eaten all the chicken food?

Someone has been breaking into the chicken run and eating all the chicken food, we set a trap to find out if it was a martin, a badger or something else.


Finally after another 30 minutes of eating he leaves. An electric fence at snout level seems to be keeping him away.

mardi 27 mars 2018

Twins for Faith

Faith our last pregnant Ewe has given birth to twins (a black female and a white male). Heavy rain and cold has made the conditions difficult for their start in life and Faith is a bit bonkers - not taking them into the shelter in awful conditions, so we're having to step in and take them there ourselves and she follows.

Nanouk has also been difficult - she's jumping through the fence to try and get to greener grass we causes havok in the flock. Some extra strands of fence wire we hope will keep her under control.

jeudi 22 mars 2018

Cold snap for the lambs

24 hours after the lambs were born, 6-7 inches of snow and sub-zero temperatures, but the lambs were indifferent to it, staying close to their mums or nestling down in the bottom of the hay feeder.

One more lamb still to be born and a return to warmer temperatures has already begun.

Overall it's been a hard winter: long, frequent - though not generally heavy - snowfall and unusually cloudy. The lack of sun has meant that this year we have burnt a huge amount of firewood, twice as much and usual and three times what we burnt last winter (which was a short and mild winter). There's over 3m of snow on the ground at 2000m. We are still having regular snow flurries and I daresay winter is not over yet.

The last few weeks have been busy, I've been building a new bathroom for Sheri and Michiel, and Susie and I had a short trip away to Venice for my 50th birthday. We've also been planting potatoes, leeks, onions, cabbages, peas, mangetout and other assorted early vegetables and flowers.

Sheri and Michiel's new shower room

samedi 17 mars 2018

Lamb number 2

We watched lamb no.2 being born this morning to Louise (another female lamb not yet named). A few hours later and we have 4 inches of snow! Mum seems to be taking good care of baby and keeping her (mostly) in the shelter. Hopefully the 3 rams in the flock and the electric fence will keep any predators away.

lundi 5 mars 2018

Forthcoming event

Spring is coming!

First hepatica

 More field clearance before the growth starts

Aplen glow

mardi 27 février 2018

More badgers below the house.

Latest footage from badger cam.

Very cold and clear here today....minus 9 degrees at 9.00 this morning, despite the sun.

mercredi 14 février 2018

vendredi 9 février 2018

Latest neighbour on the camera trap

Mr Fox from Lee Sharp on Vimeo.


This morning dawned clear and sunny, but at about 8.30 I spotted something shiny in the sky, too big to be a star, closer inspection with binoculars revealed a balloon at about 20,000ft. Soon I spotted 7 others at various distances and altitudes. 

All pretty much the same design of ballon except for one which was darker, but too far away to see clearly - was it a race, a club or just many balloonists taking advantage of perfect conditions to cross the mountains?

After setting the camera trap (more later) I went for walk up Joubac returning by the Quer d'Aleu, arriving home before the next snow arrived.

jeudi 8 février 2018

Extra snow overnight

Lucky I got the wood out of the field last night! Fetched some hay reserves from the barn this morning before the snow gets too deep to reach the barn at Le Sarrach.

mercredi 7 février 2018

More snow

The seventh day of light snow today and if the weather forecast is to be believed not much let up for the next couple of weeks! It's been a very sunless and wet/snowy winter so far - we've burnt record amounts of firewood this year and today I had to fetch more from stockpile to refill the woodshed.

lundi 5 février 2018

Tuc de la Coume

A brief break in the latest snow event and we decided to make a dash for Tuc de la Coume. We were a bit late setting out and missed the clear spell. As I left the trees I spooked a Red Stag which ran off into the forest - too quick to get the camera out alas. The snow didn't deliver a fantastic ski descent but it's always good to get out.


camera trap

With so much nocturnal wildlife here we decided to invest in camera trap to see more of it - first stop badgers! Next we'll try for some wild boar.

lundi 29 janvier 2018

More snow at the end of last week and the weekend, a welcome end to the rain...and now sun at last. 

Another sick hen - Henna - who quick suffered paralysis. Marek's virus or botulism were the obvious culprits. After 48 hours of nursing she has begun to recover - so botulism is the likely cause (there would be no recovery from Marek's). Chickens can pick botulism bacteria up from eating maggots or surprisingly rotting cabbage leaves! It's different strain of the bacteria to that which affects humans and so there is no danger to our health.

Today we headed out as the sun was shining, for as quick snowshoe up Cap de Bouirex.

A buried snow man giving us the finger

Where eagles dare

Montcalm and Pics d'Estats above the clouds