dimanche 25 février 2007

Video test

After talking to kim at Ariege.com I've learnt a way to insert video clips into the blog which should liven things up a bit! Here is an old video clip of me ski touring with Paul Hadfield when the Pyrenees had snow! We're high on Pico Aneto in bad weather

samedi 24 février 2007

Felling heavily leaning trees

Found this technique for felling heavily leaning trees in an Australian book and tried it today on a biggish tree (17" diameter) leaning at 45 degrees. Works a treat. The first time I've bored into a tree with the tip of the chainsaw bar. The tree falls quickly when you make the final cut, but under control with no splitting/barber chairing. Just one more big tree to fell to finish tidying up around the barn - maybe tomorrow, depends on weather.

mardi 20 février 2007


After some clearing of the barn here are some nice details I've found:

Carved in the stone "fondee en Mai 1861"

Ventilation hole with ledge...or did it serve another purpose?

Granite stooling for the oak door frame.

And here are two of the chestnuts...the one on the left has some rot in the middle which was probably there prior to felling but the one on the right is sound. Both are exactly 100 years old.

lundi 19 février 2007

Alaskan mill

This morning dawned clear and sunny with fresh snow on the mountains. A quick trip to St Girons and in the expats chat room aka 'Monsieur Bricolage' I bumped into an english couple who have just moved to the neighbouring village of Soulan - Mark is from Hereford (near where I grew up). Like most brits they've come here to escape the british...but its still good to ocassionally have someone to talk english too and bitch about home!

In the afternoon I cleared up around the barn. There are three enormous chestnut trees which were felled in 1999. They're mostly off the ground and although there's some decay I think they're big enough to still have a lot of good timber left in them for the barn conversion. It's certainly more sustainable to use timber lying next to the barn than buying some in - not to mention the fact that getting bought timber to the barn would be problematic. I reckon this project alone would pay for an Alaskan mill and a s/h chainsaw with a 28" bar, a ripping chain and plenty of guts! Additionally with this bit of kit I could make more use of the hardwood trees which fall in the storms here, rather than just burning them for firewood.

samedi 17 février 2007


The storm raged on until the morning, but it was a good test for the new chimney (it didn't blow over!). Though not exactly pretty, particularly as I currently still have the old chimney too, it is necessary for the new thatched roof.

Spent the rest of the day tidying up field 4, clearing the last few trees and general chainsaw work. Tomorrow rain is forecast but if it doesn't arrive I'll start installing fence posts.

Philippe and Sophie (my most ardent blog followers) have arrived from Paris and are staying with John and Sandrine, no doubt there'll be some more work on their project and maybe some more tree felling and firewood?

vendredi 16 février 2007

Vision for the barn

Another beautiful day today which allowed me to finish clearing the bottom terrace of field 4. In the afternoon a wind storm hit - a hot dry southerly wind but very strong - so I got to work preparing the submissions for the barn conversion and the re-thatching of Quelebu.

mercredi 14 février 2007

A home for the pigs?

Could this be the new home for the pigs plus somewhere to keep straw, hay and machinery, even a place to make sausages and hams? Watch this space!

dimanche 11 février 2007

Paul, Tracey and Luke...

...have headed for home after visiting for the weekend. Alas the house they came to see probably isn't for them.

vendredi 9 février 2007


A little snow this morning at quelebu, then the sun came out and now its gone. The new chimney is finished and working (so far)...photos tomorrow. Paul, Tracey and their little son Luke arrive late tonight to look at a holiday home they might buy tomorrow.

dimanche 4 février 2007

Valley Ossese

The weather was much warmer today but we went in search of ice nonetheless. The mother of all ice falls awaits in the valley Ossese but today it was not to be.

samedi 3 février 2007

Cagataille (ice)

Pitch 1
As there's not enough snow for skiing Yaron and I went ice climbing in the Cirque de Cagateille. We found plenty of ice and climbed for 4 pitches. The first up an icy runnel (III), the second in a gulley ending in an ice cave (II/III) the third up a steep ice fall (IV) and the fourth was supposed to top out the ice fall through some chandeliers (IV/V?) but the ice was too fagile and time was running out so it ended up being a long traverse over some mixed ground to some trees we could abseil from.

The start of pitch 3

Pitch 3

Mr Page are you jealous?