samedi 31 août 2019

Tuc de Bignau

At last a little rain

After a 6 week absence due to the heatwave, work and sheep, we finally got back into the mountains with Sheri and Michiel. Up to the Port d'Aula then along the ridge to Tuc de Bignau then a wander along the flank below Tuc de Berbegue.

Back at the ranch...a lot of fencing work to keep the sheep in (replacing 4 strands of electric wire with pig-netting) and after a community effort to fetch start clearing some of the hectare of rubbish at Honsos, we up-cycled some roof sheets for the bergerie, which is progressing. A little more cladding, guttering, feeders and gates still to do.

samedi 24 août 2019


For the last week or so I ve been working on building a new bergerie. Although we've managed to reduce our flock from 29 to 20 sheep, the old sheep shelter still isn't big enough and there isn't enough room for hay  feeders, shearing, to catch and treat the sheep when needed, or to keep them inside during bad weather.  So after demolishing the old shelter, digging out a new platform and casting foundation pads, the new frame has gone up. Mostly the wood is recycled from the old dry toilet building.

The roof off the old shelter provides the internal walls at low level. Next jobs are external timber cladding, roof, gates and feeders.

samedi 17 août 2019


It's been an incredibly dry year and coupled with the extreme heatwave we've been experiencing for most of the summer, we have a bit of a grass crisis. It grew much less than normal in the late spring and then got burnt to a crisp in the summer and now we have very little indeed and the sheep don't like it! 

In the search for greener food they have been escaping 2 or 3 times a day and it's been driving us insane. It's not so bad if they wander into the woods but more often than not they want to trespass into neighbours gardens. For a few weeks we took them on twice daily walks, but its a huge drain on our time especially if they decide they want to graze for 3-4 hours or go "off piste" into the brambles. We've sold 6 sheep and 3 are going to the abattoir, but more may yet have to go to reduce the burden on the dead fields.

Changes to our fencing, more land clearance and a new bergerie are in the pipeline, but most of all we need lots of rain so that the grass can grow back.

lundi 12 août 2019

Chickens mites and lice

Poor Mister Quincy and a couple of the hens have been suffering with mites/lice this summer (partly the reason why we replaced the hen house). We've been treating them and the house with diatamaceous earth, but Quincy hasn't been responding as well as we'd hoped and started losing feathers, so a few days ago I netted him (not an easy job) and we gave him a detailed check up. Beneath his feathers he was overrun with mites and lice so we've pulled out all stops to treat him.

We've been spraying him (and some of the less infested hens) with a mixture of garlic juice, water and essential oil every three days and giving him extra rations of iron rich foods (in particular scrambled eggs which he loves). We've also started putting garlic in their water - apparently a useful deterrent.

He seems to be responding well but the war with the parasites is not yet over!

mardi 6 août 2019

Carte de la commune d'Aleu

My map of the commune of Aleu and the surrounding area is now finally finished, printed and for sale.

The map covers an area stretching from the L'Arac river to the North, Sausolle to the West, Courmariau, Antras and Pentusse to the South and the Cols de Boulogne and Bidal to the East. Approximately 1m x 1m at a scale of 1/5000 it is provided folded in a plastic wallet.

In addition to the usual topography, roads, buildings and river, four walking tours, tourist information, all the old chemin comunal as well as many previously unmapped paths, tracks and pistes are also illustrated.

Available at the Mairie, the Post Office in Castet or direct from me for 16€.

Ma carte de la commune d'Aleu et de ses environs est enfin terminée, imprimée et disponible à la vente.

La carte couvre une zone allant de L'Arac au nord, à Sausolle à l'ouest, à Courmariau, à Antras et à Pentusse au sud et aux cols de Boulogne et de Bidal à l'est. Environ 1m x 1m sur une échelle de 1/5000, il est fourni plié dans un portefeuille en plastique. Outre la topographie, les routes, les bâtiments et la rivière habituelle, quatre promenades, des informations touristiques, l’ancien chemin communal ainsi que de nombreux sentiers, pistes et chemins non encore cartographiés sont également illustrés.

En vente à la mairie, à la poste de Castet ou directement chez moi à 16 €.