samedi 30 octobre 2010


Another day at Pont de la Taule. Today was terrace day. There was a lot of faffing about to get main beams level, then quite a bit of shovelling muck, but once we (Chris and I) got into the carpentry it sped along. All done in a day - phew! Knackered!

Encore à Pont de la Taule. Aujourd'hui la terrasse. Il y avais beaucoup de trevail de faire les poutres horizontales, et quelques terrain a battir, mais lorsque la charpenterie a commencé toutes a passé vite. Toute a fait.

vendredi 29 octobre 2010

South wind

A strong hot (24 degrees) south wind has been blowing all day. Producing amazing cloud formations.I swear I have been able to see the colours of the leaves on the trees changing before my eyes from minute to minute.

Le vent fort et chaud de Sud soufle toute la journée. Il a fait les nauges encroyable. On peut apercevoir les coleurs des feuilles changeant chaque minute!
Sometimes the natural beauty of where I live is overwhelming.

La paysage ici est souvent trop belle pour ma tête!

jeudi 28 octobre 2010

Bringing home the bacon

A beautiful day. Visited Justin and Emily this afternoon and spent my time playing with chestnuts with the twins. I picked up some pork for this year's ham (which I'm doing off the bone for the first time) and plenty of belly which I'm brining for bacon.

Une belle journée. J'ai visité Justin et Emily l'après-midi et j'ai pris du temp jouant avec quelques chatâignes avec les jumelles. Aussi j'ai ramass&eacute un jambon et de la poitrine pour cette hiver.

Pic de Cour Vic

Susie has been visiting for the past few days and we've been having the most fantastic time. There was a good fall of snow on Monday followed by some gorgeous sunny weather, so we walked up to Pic de Cour Vic from the Col de Pause in the fresh snow.

Susie me visitait les derniers jours et nous avons eu les belles temps. Il a neigé le lundi soir et le soliel a brillé mardi donc nous avons fait un promenade au Pic de Cour Vic du Col de Pause dans la neige.
Cold in the wind but deliriously hot in the sun so we had a snooze at the new (but closed) refuge d'Areau.

Il fait froid dans le vent mais il fait très chaud au soliel donc nous avons fait la sieste a la neuve (mais fermé) cabane d'Areau.

mardi 19 octobre 2010

Beautiful day

A hard frost last night but a glorious day today (23 in the sun). Managed to get some fuel this morning (big fuel shortages here due to the ever present strikes in France) then the VET came this afternoon to take annual blood tests from the sheep - two escaped, but 6 out of 8 was sufficient.

Il a gelé dur la nuit dernière mais aujourd'hui du beau temps (23 au soliel). Le matin j'ai réussi d'obtenir de l'essence (il y n'a pas au cause de la grève) puis la véterinaire est arrivé afin prendre un coup de sang des brebis (profilaxie annuelle). Deux ont échappé, mais 6 sur 8 ont été assez.

dimanche 17 octobre 2010

Snow on the hills

Snow last night down to about 1500m. Hail and rain showers this morning whilst I was working in the barn building the new stalls. I used the small ash trees I felled in field 8 plus an old door and the adoption pen which I've incorporated in case I need it again next year.

Il neigeais jusqu'au 1500m hier nuit. il y aurais les averses de la graille et de la pluie le matin lorsque je travaillais dans la grange. Les enclos sont prêt. j'ai utilisé quelques frênes deu pré 8, une vieille porte, et le carcon de l'agnelage de l'année derniere.
Things are a bit brighter this afternoon and after starting the apple harvest, I'm getting ready to taste the first of the mutton - yum!

Un peu du soliel cet après-midi et j'ai commencé la récolte des pommes. Ce soir je ferai le premier gout d'agneau - miam!

samedi 16 octobre 2010

Saving space

I'm always struggling for space in my tiny kitchen (particularly at this time of year with jars of jam, pickle and jelly and bottles of various drinks). So this morning when I realised there was the side of a wall cupboard not being used I quickly knocked up a drinks rack.

Afterwards I moved the sheep down to field 9 so that I could make a start on reorganising the barn - I want to make a couple of stalls one with a gate, so that it is easier to catch the sheep whenever they need treatment, de-worming, feet trimming, etc. Their annual blood tests are due imminently.

A medium sized walk in the evening collecting mushrooms. There's a nip in the air and there even the chance of the odd snow flurry on Sunday night/Monday morning!

Je toujours manquais l'espace dans ma petite cuisine. Ce matin j'ai aperçu qu'il y a un versant d'un placard pélé, donc j'ai fait une étagère pour les bouteilles.

Prochain j'ai bougé les brebris à au pré 9 et commencé d réorganiser la grange - je veux faire deux enclos, afin il sera plus facile d'attraper les brebis lorsque elle a besoin de traitment. La profilaxie annuelle est attendant.

Un promène ce soir afin ramasser les champignons. Il y a un coup de froid et peut être quelques flocons la dimanche soir/le lundi matin.

mercredi 13 octobre 2010


First job is to saw each carcase in half

Today I picked up the two sheep from the abattoir. About 26kgs for each carcase. I ended up butchering them both. Was pleased that the end result was pretty neat and that it only took me about 45 mins for each half.

Aujourd'hui j'ai ramené la viande de l'abattoir. 26kgs chaque carcasse. J'ai fais toutes la découpage. C'est propre en fin et ca prend seulement 45 mins par demi-carcasse.
One half jointed up
Bagged and ready for the freezer

In the evening I installed my new stove. I have to wait for the fire cement to go off before lighting it.

Le soir j'ai installé le poêle. J'ai du attendre le ciment à secher.

mardi 12 octobre 2010


On Sunday I took two sheep to the abattoir (Leia and Ziggy) very's a horrible place - I think I'd rather do it myself here, they looked so out of place in some concrete floored industrial building. I collect the meat tomorrow. Appetite dampens the sorrow.

It's a lovely time of year here. The leaves are turning and there are mushrooms everywhere. Each day the selection changes and a short walk gives you all you need.
I also made this year's pickle a few days ago. I'm not very scientific about my pickle, all the odds and ends of veg plus sugar, vinegar and a loads of spices go in the pot. This year's (on the right) is lighter in colour than last year's (on the left), probably because there are more carrots in it. It's a bit more piquante too (chillis).

La dimanche j'ai amené deux brebis à l'abattoir, est un place terrible - je pensais que je prèfer à les tuer sur place prochain fois, elle semblent déplacé la. Je vais ramasser la viande mercredi. Mon appétit diminue le chagrin.

C'est la plus beaux temp. Les feuilles tournent et il ya les champignons partout. Chaque jour une mélange different et un court promène me livrer assez.

Il y a quelques jours, j'ai fait ma "pickle". Toutes les legumes, sucre, vinaigre et les espices vont au pot. Le pickle 2009 est plus fonce que le pickle 2010 (il y a plus des carottes dedans cette année). Il sera plus piquante aussi avec des cayennes.

jeudi 7 octobre 2010


John gave me some quinces from his garden so I decided to make some Membrillo - the Spanish name for quince paste, quince cheese, or quince jelly. This particular recipe is quite sweet (some recipes have a bit more acidity). The membrillo is firm and cuts into slices for storing indefinitely in the fridge. The Spanish enjoy it with some Manchego cheese and a glass of sherry.

John m'a donné des coings de ton jardin, alors j'ai décidé de faire la Membrillo - le mot Espagnol de fromage de coing, ou pâte de coing. Cette recette est doux (quelques autres sont plus acides). La membrillo est solide et on peut couper les tranches à garder au frigo. Les Espagnoles aiment à manger avec le manchego (fromage) et une verre de sherry.

mercredi 6 octobre 2010

Another wander

With fantastic weather again today I decided another walk in the mountains was called for. I headed up from Col de Pause towards the Port d'Aula then struck left for Tuc de Bignau (2395m) a favourite ski touring peak.
Tuc de Berbégue
Vultures hanging out
Fires beyond Lane Formente

From here I followed the frontier ridge over Tuc de Berbégue (2477m), Cap de Hoque Prégonne (2481m), Pic de Montagnole (2454m) then after a sharp descent to the Portanech d'Aurenere (2331m) I re-visisted Pic de Montaud (2496m).

The crest from the Cuns d'Aula to Valier behind the
refuge forestiere
d'Areau which is being refurbished

I returned via the Portanech d'Aurenere and the Col de Courbe.

Avec le beau temps encore, j'ai décidé de faire une autre randonée aux montagnes. Du Col du Pause je suis monté vers le Port d'Aula mais tourné à guache afin atteindre Tuc de Bignau (mon sommet de ski rando).

Dela j'ai suivi la crête en traverse de Tuc de Berbégue (2477m), Cap de Hoque Prégonne (2481m), Pic de Montagnole (2454m) et après une déscente court et raide à Portanech d'Aurenere (2331m) j'ai visité encore le Pic de Montaud (2496m).

J'ai rentré par le Portanech d'Aurenere et le Col de Courbe

mardi 5 octobre 2010

Carrot harvest

A beautiful hot day today - 30 degrees in the sun and hardly a cloud in the sky. I took advantage of the good weather and harvested the carrots before the moles/voles ate them all. About 40lbs (18kgs) in total. This year I've stored them dry in sand.
In the afternoon I moved the telephone line which used to enter the house in the middle of the front wall. Here it got hit by the snow sliding off the roof and was right across my view. Now it enters on the corner of the house with the electric supply. Moved the telephone socket inside the house while I was at it.

Une belle journée aujourd'hui - 30 au soliel et presque une nuage. j'ai profité du beau temps et recolté les carrotes avant le rat les mange! 18 kilos et cette année je vais garder au sable.

À l'après midi j'ai bougé la ligne téléphonique. Avant elle entrait la maison au milieu de la façade. La neige qui glissait sur la toit chaque hiver, charger la ligne et aussi la ligne traversait ma vue des montagnes. Maintenant elle entre dans le coin de la maison avec la fil de l'élécticité.

lundi 4 octobre 2010

Field 8

When I visited "Le Gabach" last week, I asked for permission to extend field 8 into a piece of his land. After a couple of days of chainsawing, brushcutting and fencing, the upper terrace has now been cleared for the full width of the lower terraces. Still a lot of work to do before the new part will be pasture but the field is now more usable and much lighter. I can also see Coumarba and Picarets for the first time from the field.

Quand j'ai visité Le Gabach semaine dernier, Je l'ai demandé le permis d'agrandir pré no. 8 dans sa parcelle. Après quelques jours de tronconnée, débrouseillée et clôturage, la terrace en haut est dégagé. Beaucoup de travail encore avant il sera prairie, mais le pré no.8 est déja plus utilisable. De plus on peut voir Coumarba et les Picarets pour la premiere fois.

dimanche 3 octobre 2010

Pic de Trémul, Cap de Pouech and Valieret

Route follows the skyline from right (pic de Trémul) to left, traversing
apron beneath Mont Valier to climb the peak to its left Valieret

Two days in the mountains. The first day I set off from Pla Lalau climbing up through the woods towards the Cascade de Muscadet. When the path leaves the stream to head left towards the Cabane d'Aouen I crossed the stream to find the path that climbs steeply through the pine forest of Le Nères.
The stiff climb out the forest to reach the open slopes beneath the
pyramid of Pic de Trémul 2350m (on the skyline left of centre)

At 1800m the forest peters out and so does the path. There remains another 550m of ascent to reach the Porte de Trémul and it's a slog. A little over halfway I passed the Cabane de Trémul which was open and very well equipped with mattresses, blankets, firewood and a gas stove.
Cabane de Tremuls (ONF) open and well equipped

The Porte is a miniature "Breche de Roland" on the left side of the peak. I started scrambling from the directly out of the notch but the huge granite blocks and flakes are very loose and unstable. So after 15m or so I decided it was safer to gain the peak after passing through the Porte.
The trackless slog up to the Port de Trémul (the notch on the skyline)

From the summit I kept on the crest of the ridge for some very enjoyable scrambling and occasionally climbing high above the Riberot valley.
First part of the ridge after Pic de Trémul

The last gendarme - Cap de Pouech is very exposed and the most difficult part of the ridge. The wind was getting up by this time and I was glad for the easy terrain beyond.
The last two gendarmes on the ridge with Mont Valier beyond
Last and most exposed gendarme - Cap de Pouech 2489m

I continued on the same line until reached the North face of Mont Valier, disturbing some Ptarmigans on the way. A long traverse under the North face on fairly unstable scree and snow, then following the edge of the last terminal moraine placed me at the scree slope descended from the col between Valieret and the last part of the Crete des Antiques. Several rocks fell down the North face as I crossed and though they were some distance from me I decided to return by a lower route.
Two well camouflaged Ptarmigan
The crazy gendarme below Mont Valieret

The scree slope gains easy access to the ridge which is followed a short distance to the summit of Valieret, amazing views along the vertiginous ridge in both directions, but the Glacier d'Arcouzan as always is partially hidden from view.
Milouga from Valieret 2654m
Crete des Antiques above Valieret

I returned to the Col de Pecouch then descended to the Refuge Estagnous where I'd arranged to rendezvous with Sandrine, Hannah and Eric. The hut was full (60-70 people) but as always Stephan served up an amazing meal.

In the morning we returned via Milouga, Cap des Lauses and then my route of ascent at Muscadet.
The refuge Estagnous, Etang Rond and Etang Long