dimanche 30 août 2009


Busy last few days.

Preparing plans for Philippe and Sophie.
Usual sheepy business.
Plasterboarding at Pont de la Taule.
Laying oak flooring on the balcony at Justin and Emily's.
Hunting for deer (none) and mushrooms (loads).

J'ai été occuper les derniers jours.

J'ai fait des plans pour la maison de Philippe et Sophie.
Soigner les brebris, comme d'habitude.
J'ai mis les placoplaitre à Pont de la Taule.
J'ai mis les planchers de chêne à chez Justin et Emily.
Chasser des chevreuil (rien) et champignons (beaucoup).

dimanche 23 août 2009

Pic de Montabone

A big day in the mountains with Ian, Kaz and Patrick. We set off early into the Cirque de Cagateille following the classic circuit to the Etang Hillette and Etang Alet. Just before the Etang Alet Ian and I left the others to make the ascension of Pic de Montabone, keeping west of the Roches des Plagnoles. There are no paths and the going was tough over the rugged granite wilderness, but easier I think than the normal route via the Etang de Montabone.

Une grande journée aux montagnes avec Ian, Kaz et Patrick. Nous sommes parti tôt dans la Cirque de Cagateille suivant la boucle "classique" à Etang Hillette et Etang Alet. Un peu avant l'Etang Alet, Ian et moi avons laissé les autres de faire l'ascension de Pic de Montabone, restant à la Ouest des Roches des Plagnoles. Il n'y a pas les sentiers et le terrain granitique n'est pas facile de traverser, mais je pense que il soit plus facile que la voie normale vers l'Etang de Montabone.

Typical granite slabs on the ascent of Montabone

Several parties where making the traverse from Pic de Lasaugede to Pic de Montabone.

Plusiers equipes ont fait la traverse de Pic de Lasaugede à le Pic de Montabone.

Climbers on the ridge

Montabone (left) and Lasaugede (right)

Having made the summit we descended back to the Etang to rendezvous with Kaz and Patrick and then descend back the car. 1970m (6400ft) or so of ascent but it felt much tougher with the heat and difficult terrain.

Après le sommet nous sommes revenu à l'Etang afin rendezvous avec Kaz et Patrick et puis nous sommes descendu ensemble à la voiture. 1970m de dénivelée mais ça sens plus avec la chaleur est terrain malcommode.

jeudi 20 août 2009

Latest progress at Pont de la Taule

The sitting room takes shape.
La salle de sejour avance un peu.

samedi 15 août 2009

Hottest day at Quélébu...so far

Today in the sun the thermometer read 47 degrees...I think that's the hottest I've seen here though temperatures are set to continue so who knows if we'll make 50 degrees. Amazing sunset after a threatening storm which never materialised.
Stalking deer between 6 and 9 this morning but saw nothing. So far all the deer (4) I've tracked since the start of the stalking season (comprising weekends in August) have turned out to be females - I only have permission to shoot a male.

Then field one got a good shortback and sides, before the heat became too much and I retreated for a siesta. Mini got her horn trimmed in the afternoon (it was growing towards her head) which she didn't like. Still no chicks.

This courgette may not be the biggest in the world, but I thought I better pick it before it deflected the earths crust! Its over well 50cm long and weighs 12 lbs (5.5kgs).

jeudi 13 août 2009


Afternoon clouds spill over from spain

Still no chicks! Some more russian roulette of the most doubtful looking eggs produced only bag eggs and eggs. Took the broody hens off the nest but they were so distraut I didn't have the heart to take the eggs away. I culled those that looked doubtful and reassembled the remaining eggs (18) in two seperate nests, on which the two broody hens are now sitting. Hopefully the hen which has now been broody for nearly 4 weeks will be able to give it up, leaving the other hen on her eggs for another week.

Perhaps the hot weather has cooked the eggs, or maybe the first hen let the eggs go cold at some point? Of course Captain the cockerell's potency could be doubtful or as this is the hens first time sitting, maybe they haven't quite got the hang of it?

Yesterday I was helping at Justins and today some work at Pont de la Taule followed by an afternoon walk collecting mushrooms.

mardi 11 août 2009

Still no chicks

Its been 24 days and still no chicks (they should be born at 21 days). There have been a few bad eggs which have exploded in the coup, so fearing that "captain" the cockerell was sterile I decided to take the eggs and candle them to see if any had chicks inside. Couldn't see anything in any of them so tried the russian roulette approach!

The first egg I cracked was just an egg.
The second was bad and exploded.
The third had a chick inside nearly ready to be born!

Hurriedly I washed the eggs and put them back under the hens.

The rest of the day was taken up with scything, tool sharpening and a trip to St Girons to see the DDE with Philippe. A definite return to hot weather after a few days of cloud and showers.

samedi 8 août 2009

Potato harvest

90 kgs! Enough for the year I hope.
90 kgs! J'espère qu'il y aura assez pour douze mois.
A bumper haul of mushrooms this afternoon too - but no sign yet of chicks.
L'après-midi une grande recolte des champignons - les poussins n'arrivent pas encore.

vendredi 7 août 2009

Pic de Montaud and Lane Formente

A day in the mountains with Dommy and Iona. Up early and a climb upto the Port de Salau on the frontier with Spain before heading for Pic de Montaud. Iona had a few nerves/slight vertigo but she managed to overcome it.

Une journée aux montagnes avec Dommy et Iona. Nous nous sommes reveillé tôt et avons fais l'ascension au Port de Salau et le frontière Espagnol pendant deux heures. De là nous avons suivi le crête vers Pic de Montaud. Iona a souffert un peu de vertige mais elle l'est surmonté.
From the summit a lovely grassy ridge with occasional rocky outcrops sweeps down to Lane Formente from where we descended steeply through the cloud to Cabane de Pouill and our route of ascent. 1800m of ascent in the day.

Du sommet une belle arête herbeuse descendrais à Lane Formente. La descente raide à la Cabane de Pouill etait dans les nuages. 1800m de denivilée.

Near the Pas de St Girons the ridge from the sub-peak after Pic Montaud in the background

The start of the descent

mercredi 5 août 2009


Strung up in the kitchens.

Potato harvest today, first signs are for a bumper crop...more later.

La recolte des pommes du terre plus tard aujourd'hui.


Dommy sings "the sound of music"
Bridget doesn't

Dommy, Bridget, Martha, Oscar and Pearl are staying here for weeks holiday, camping at the barn.

Dommy, Bridget, Martha, Oscar et Pearl sont ici en vacance pendant une semaine, faire du camping À la grange.

Yesterday we went for a walk and mushroom hunting and in the evening Bridget cooked some mussels whilst Dommy barbequed some sea food.

Hier nous avons fais un promenade et trouvé les champignons. Le soir Bridget a préparé les moules marinier et Dommy les poissons sur une barbeque.