samedi 25 mai 2019

Sheep shearing

This year we decided to join with our new neighbour at La Coste (Christian) and get both our flocks sheared at the same time. We took the sheep up to La Coste in the morning and penned them. The shearer arrived in the afternoon and after shearing Christian's 30 or so sheep, it was our turn. Our sheep were getting stressed by now and started to misbehave. Despite their small size our sheep showed there strength and even the shearer had a job trying to hold them. the wool is lovely but because of the struggle the sheep looked like they had been attacked by a lawnmower! We and they were glad to get home. A couple of days later I neatened them up with the hand shears. Our surplus rams will be off to the abattoir soon, unless there are any local offers to have them as lawnmowers.

In the woods, I came across the nest (hole in a tree) of a middle spotted woodpecker. In the UK we have the lesser and great spotted, so this is a new species for me. Have tried several times to get photos of the parents feeding the young through the hole but they are so observant as soon as I am within 20m of the nest they spot me from the treetops and sound alarm calls, refusing to come close to the nest.

Also spotted a small emerald moth and a frog (couldn't identify it).

A few days of rain and no architectural work has allowed me to get on with some work in the house. The first steps towards fitting solar hot water panels - reorganising the utility room with new shelves, a spot of decoration and installing the solar pump and controller.

I've also got back onto the loom and after a 6 month absence have started threading the heddles.

vendredi 17 mai 2019

Serre d'Araing (Pic de l'Har)

A few days joining Pauls field at Le Sarrach with the new field via an area of woodland belonging to Minsou. The sheep always escape into the woods to munch a few leaves and as neither of the other fields is really large enough to satisfy the sheep for more than a couple of days the larger enclosure makes a lot of sense. On Monday sheep shearing!

Shelley is sitting on some eggs, she started with 5, but has broken 2 over the last 10 days, so now she has only 3 left.

glorious weather for the past few days but as it was set to change on Friday (which it has) we squeezed in a walk on Thursday. Pic de l'Har 2445m (last climbed by me 13 years ago) was the objective, but as is often the case these days we overslept so didn't start walking until 11.00. It's a steep start through the woods but we made good progress and made the Mines de Bentaillou in a couple of hours.

The edf were there working in some of the tunnels, I guess something to do with the hydro electricity plant at Eylie. After the mines we were in the snow which just warranted putting on our crampons. Slower progress up to the Col at Serre d'Araing 2245m.

The Pic de l'Har is just another 200m higher, but Susie was pooped after 4250ft of ascent and we had to get back for her french lesson. A bearded vulture circling over the peak decided to pay us a visit.

We thought of descending via the Refuge de Sans but eventually returned the same way.

mardi 14 mai 2019

Cirque d'Anglade

It's a while since I visited the Cirque d'Anglade, it s a great spot and barely 20 minutes walk from the parking at the Mines des Anglade. Just a shame there is no easy way out of the Cirque.

A Wheatear

lundi 6 mai 2019


The wall between Jasper and Ruby's old bedrooms has been taken down to create a bigger single room with windows on both sides and much more space for their visiting boyfriends/girlfriends.

mercredi 1 mai 2019

Trois Seigneurs par Goutets

A late start with Sophie, Sheri and Michiel from La Foulie, heading up to the estive at Goutets. From there we were hoping to head up to Trois Seigneurs via Col de Pourtanelle and Cap de Gragnots.

view up valley from above Carol

lunch at Goutets

 Goutets with its preserved stone Orris's (round stone shepherds huts with stone roofs)


Cap de Gragnots

Sheri and Susie having a laugh

Sophie from the Col de Pourtanelle

"Prada darling"

Plenty of snow after Cap de Gragnots, but we lacked time and equipment to press onto the summit of Trois Seigneurs which was in the clouds anyway, so stopped half way between the two peaks;

Fields of wild daffodils below the Col

Just before the return to Goutets I spotted a pair of bearded vultures (Gypaete Barbu) high in the cliffs and managed to get a few telephoto shots

Descent through the beech forests

After a week of hard labour the new parcels linking the two fields is finally clear.