Thursday, 30 November 2017

Going back to Blighty.

I  don't really want to go back to England but I have things there that need to be sorted and I am at least looking forward to doing a bit of shopping. Some things here in France are very expensive, yet horse feed isn't one of them. I'm still only paying the same amount to feed seven horses as three!!!

I love this little tree in the orchard garden, it's the only eating apple tree we have, the rest are all cider apples, I may have to buy a couple more apple trees, especially a cooking apple.

 This is how the orchard paddock looks at the moment, a bit bare! We took the laurel shrubs out to the far right of this picture, but it's not clear where they were from this angle. I'm glad they're gone, I don't like their toxicity and they don't have much to offer to make up for it, in my opinion!  Yesterday we planted some dogwoods and a couple of plumb trees. I have hedging whips to plant when I get back. We also uncovered some huge rocks and discovered that they extend a very long way under the top soil. I'm wondering if this is the reason that many of the trees are failing, because there is so little good topsoil. If that's the case, then a year or two of mulching and manure will make a huge difference.
 While we we labouring in the garden, my dear bf T was building a chicken house.
The cats thought it was their new climbing frame :D
Can you guess what I'll be doing on the ferry? This is an example of a perfect gusset decrease, as I described in an earlier post.
And this is a prime example of SSK (slip, slip, knit) gone wrong, again. Maybe for the next sock I'll remember how to do it properly!!!
So, for now it's off we go to pack, back soon.x

Thursday, 23 November 2017


We had an incredible storm last night. The wind was ferocious and while Moomin and I struggled to pull the tarp over our hay bales, we almost took off as the tarp filled with air like a parachute. I'd like to say it was fun, but I was very grumpy and swore a fair bit! I finally lashed the tarp to pallets under the bales and used a sort of crochet stitch through the eyelets with hay twine. It worked and Moomin and I came in for a cold beer. It's so funny to think of her as an adult now, but when she pops open a couple of beers for us, it brings it home :D

While the wind built itself into a frenzy, I sat and cracked on with the next sock. This one is flying by but even so I'm needing to refer to Youtube for a couple of tips. My pattern is quite simple, but seems to assume I know how to pick up stitches properly. I looked at this tutorial for shaping the heel and then learnt the proper method for picking up stitches in the tutorial for shaping the gusset. Well, It was an inspiration and if you could see how I originally picked up stitches you would either laugh a lot or feel very sorry for me :D 

I'm knitting properly now and loving it so much. It's incredible that a series of tiny loops made in wool can create such a lovely garment. If the stitches are created in the right direction as in shaping the gusset, you get a lovely patten along the sock, if not, as in my earliest attempt, you get a messy decrease that looks bloody awful! I have a couple of new projects lined up for when I finish the socks and I think that's spurring me on to finish. I even have more sock wool waiting to be transformed!!!

The weather today is very subdued, most definitely the calm after the storm! All ponies are accounted for and the two greys, Merlin and Bo, look a good bit cleaner as I sneakily rubbed a bit of shampoo in their manes and tails before the rain started!

Thank you all for your kind comments. I'm still feeling a bit rough, but that's probably because of all the tarp wrangling. I'm typing from my bed in the company of the two dogs and Bambam. For the sake of animal care, I'll stay here a bit longer because they clearly need me to ;)

Monday, 20 November 2017

Not much today.

I don't know how much work I'll get done today, but I'm sat in bed waiting for painkillers to work or my neck to un-freeze and I'm actually starting to seize up more than ever!
I have so much planned for today, but it may have to wait. I wanted to plant a couple more trees and fix the rest of the electric fencing for the ponies. I often try to plan a quiet day and the animals put a stop to it, but today, I think they will have to make do. Thankfully my lovely children have done the morning feeds and water, so I'm going to slap a heat pad on my shoulder and snuggle down with the animals.

Dexter is so in love with Finn, can you see he's almost holding on to him <3  Finn doesn't mind at all, it keeps him warm :D

Sunday, 19 November 2017


This snow picture is for Leeanna and was taken in the Uk a few years back. In those days I actually walked from home to the ponies field as all of the roads were too dangerous to drive on. This is the lane up to their field.

I'm in a quilty kind of mood and would love some inspiration. Can anyone recommend any good quilting blogs? I want to make a simple no fuss comforter for my bed. I've made small quilts in the past, but this time I want something luscious. Of course, all my sewing things are back in England, so I'll just be browsing until I can pick them up, but that's fine as I've little time to finish the things I'm already working on!!!

Yesterday the horses broke out again! Today will be spent putting up new fences. There are three lots of fences each with their own solar powedered energisers and most of the time this works, but yesterday I forgot to turn one on and the big boys went for a take out from a neighbours field! I hope they ate plenty of grass before we caught them as there's precious little forage in our own fields until next spring!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

You tube.

I've started a You tube channel to talk about my life here in France and
share some images of our home and animals. I'd be interested in your comments but please be kind to me, it's the first time I've tried it and I hope I'll improve with practice, I think I sound a bit self conscious!!!

Also, I think I need to keep the videos shorter!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Christmas is coming!

Here in France we've been protected from the usual race supermarkets in England have to get their Christmas decorations out first. One Garden center near our old village was advertising it's grotto in October one year. I'm not a Grinch but I do find that it starts too soon.

Saying that, it's almost passed me by here as there are so few adverts for the coming festivities.

Imagine my surprise then when I walk into a favourite shop to be hit with a huge wooden grotto! I had to take pictures and was almost overcome at the cuteness of it all.
It's not actually that long until Christmas and if I want to make presents for people I need to get a wriggle on! 
We've been so caught up with working on the house that the changing seasons are almost passing us by!

I was reading a lovely blog this morning, unfortunately comments are switched off, but the writer was talking about her morning routine, cleaning and feeding the animals, baking bread and cooking a lovely stew. I felt comforted and worn out at the same time, lol! Some mornings I'm just glad to get up and feed the animals before lunch time! Winter is always a struggle for me and sometimes I wake up and can barely move, but here there is no stress and I can take my time, drink some tea and ease slowly into the day.
Yesterday I was up early to collect my children from the Ferry, they'd been to England to visit family. Today I need to recover from all the driving, so I'll stay close to home, make some bread and finish Manchee's coat in between feeding the ponies and walking the dogs. A simple day for me <3

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A lot of weather and stairs!

What a week it's been! Remeber last Sunday when I talked of a lovely day pottering around and maybe a picnic by the lake? Well, all thoughts of being outside were halted by a very black sky and icy winds. I settled in the conservatory with Dexter and tackled the dwindling walnut mountain, while listening to a bit of Spandau Ballet (I have to be alone to listen to that as no one else much likes it, but I'm such an 80's girl). Suddenly there was heavy rain pounding on the roof which turned to large hailstones. Dexter hid under my seat while Finn and Fae dashed in to shelter.
An almighty clap of thunder had all three cats running outside to hide in the barn. When it had calmed down, dear BF came rushing out to say that he could hear galloping from the loft where he was working and we discovered that the ponies had broken down the fence in their panic. There was a lot of drama and my three monsters took off across the fields where we found them an hour later on the road down to the lake! Thankfully the roads on Sundays are even quieter than during the week!

We were soaked through and exhausted by the time the fences were restored and all ponies fed. I was worried it would set off a fibro flare, but luckily a hot shower and a long sit by the fire seemed to do the trick. I was very sore the next day though.
We've been lighting the fire every night now as we still don't have enough oil for central heating. It's been flipping cold, I can tell you.  Poor Manchee feels the cold when it's just a bit chilly, so this week has been really hard for him. Here he's under two blankets and still needed a hot water bottle!
The solution is simple. I'm making him a little dog coat for inside the house. He has an outdoor coat, but of course I can't find it!
It took a couple of hours to warp up the loom as I'm still getting used to it. It does make my back ache, but as this is going to be a square weave, it's easier to do it on the table. Longer items are attached to a door handle and that causes a whole different set of problems!
I love these colours, green, brown and orange although the green looks more grey in this picture. The wool is just standard acrylic as it needs to be easily washable and I'll probably line it with a fluffy wool when it's extra cold.
So lots of inside jobs to do this week. The stairs to the loft started out like this.
Then they were crafted from floor boards and somehow we attached them to the loft (by magic, I think)
Once the props were secure, BF created the curving steps. Somewhere on my phone I have the finished picture, I'll share it tomorrow. But believe me, these are the cutest little stairs I've ever had and I love them to bits <3
In my mind I'm already decorating this little corner of the house but I have to wait for the walls to be plastered first.

I have a favour to ask, please can you share any pictures of winter weather on your blogs, especially snow for Leeanna of 'Can we have a new Witch'  as she's missing the snow now that she's living in Texas. Maybe leave a message here or on her blog. Thank you friends.x

I'm writing this post from the warmth of my bed. The rain is hurling leaves across the garden and I'm not terribly inclined to get up. However, if I don't feed the ponies soon, they'll probably stage another breakout!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sedimentary my dear Watson!

We walked along the lakeshore a couple of times this week. From the footpath we could see the beach below where the level of the water has dropped. I really wanted to get down there and walk along the shoreline as it's normally all underwater. I wish we'd been here when the lake was fully drained. My neighbour has pictures of it and the village that is underneath is remarkable.
 The rocks here are mostly sedimentary and the lake was once a slate quarry. Our house was built from the slate in the lake. How awesome is that?
I love the white lines of quartz, the stones are lovely up close.
Here you can see the beach clearly on the other shore, but on our side it was tough climbing over the rocks.
 We managed to make it under the tree here, but what you can't see is how steep it is and how the rocks drop off into deep water at this point! We had to admit defeat! Today we may explore the far shore and see if we can get to the beaches there.

Back to the house and this is what the loft is looking like now. My BF has put down new joists to raise the floor above the tangle of pipes.
Here we've laid down some floorboards to see how they'll look and it's so great to imagine this beautiful space when it's finished. It's so silent in the loft and will be perfect when the windows are in.

The roof will be lagged and boarded with the same boards as the flooring. It will be sooo cosy when it's done :D

The Mairi paid us a visit while I was busy (throwing junk out of the door) tidying up the cave! The place really couldn't have looked worse, but he was very gracious and agreed to come back and see the house when it was finished. He was so friendly and said that we could do pretty much anything we like inside the house and only need permission for the Velux windows in the roof. We can also build the field shelters for the ponies which will make them a lot happier. I do worry about them when it's wet or windy.

 I've also managed to fit in a little sculpting time. My fibro has been a big naggy lately, so I've made myself sit down and get back to needle felting. These little mice are from a tutorial on You-tube and are helping me to flex my stabbing muscles, haha, I have some designs of my own to work out and as it's Sunday, I may get to try them.
Have a good Sunday everyone.x