Friday, 14 December 2007

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

It's been one of those days when nothing much gets accomplished. I had an early (for me) morning appointment with the vet to pick up some paperwork and book a visit from him and then it was back to the house to wait for two callers. Both were due in the afternoon but I've learnt that given times and actual times very rarely coincide here.

Sure enough the telephone engineer arrived early, I was grateful he had arrived at all! Needless to say my 'phone line hasn't failed since arranging the visit but he agreed that the line was faulty and is arranging for the line along the road up to my house to be replaced. It should happen next week.

The second appointment was a parcel delivery from DHL. I got an e-mail from them saying that they couldn't find the farm and would I call and give directions. It turns out that they don't use GPS. I'm staggered by that but I suppose it stops them being directed down forest tracks etc. He turned up at about 4:30 so I am now the proud possessor of a set of protective clothing to wear when I use my 2! chainsaws.

The weather this morning was freezing fog that kept promising to go but then rolled back up my little valley. I cut the last piece of the roofing for the alpaca shelter but the roofing that was already on had rucked up in the wind the other day and was frozen in place. When the sun finally came out there wasn't enough time to flatten the roof and fix the last piece in place. Looking at the weather forecast for the next couple of days I may have to wait a while before I can fix it.

I then tried to burn the multitude of leaves that had been covering the front lawn. Well I've been trying to burn them for 3 or 4 days now but they are just too wet to burn. Until about 4:30 this afternoon that is. I was just about to give up as there was only about half an hour before the sun dipped behind the hill here and the temperature would start to drop. I try to go in when the sun goes so as not to get chilled. Still I got some of the leaves burnt, and piled as much as I could onto the bonfire in the hope that what didn't burn would at least be a lot drier tomorrow.

It was a bit frosty this morning.....

but the alpacas don't seem to mind. They have somewhere out of the frost but prefer to stay out in the open. But seeing them with the frost on their fleece makes me feel cold.

In the house my Pork and Bean casserole spent the day in the slow cooker being poached in white wine. It was delicious and I've another 3 portions for the freezer.

I've also been attempting to make some cider.

I got a reasonable crop of apples from the old tree at the back of the house and having spent an afternoon a few weeks back mincing them, I placed them in a 40 litre container and went looking for some yeast to kick off the fermentation. Well 6 weeks later and I hadn't found any yeast (or air locks for that matter) in the shops here. Unpacking a box the other day I came across some wine yeast I'd had in the UK so set about pressing the apple mush to get the juice. I've squeezed around 30 litres of juice and am trying to get that fermenting again. It has definitely fermented a bit on it's own in the large container but I've now run out of small containers so had to stop. The rest will have to wait until I can schedule a trip into Villeneuve next week.

I'm a bit worried that the yeast starter I've added doesn't appear to have got working yet though. I'm glad I've tried with the cider making as the apples I stored have almost all gone rotten. It might have been the year - everyone here is saying how fruit isn't storing as they expect it to - but it might just be that they don't store so processed or cider will be the only way.

Highlight of the day was finding not one but two eggs in the nestbox. It looks like a second chicken has decided to start laying, so eggs are back on the menu.


Jamie said...

I just wondered, did you have any building skills and suchlike before you decided to take the plunge and move over to france? Or has it all been trial and error?

My hens started laying again four days ago, its lovely to go into their house and find fresh eggs again, a real treat for breakfast!!

Are you going to put any photos of the house on the blog? Would love to see what it looks like! Im just nosey lol

Hope you have a productive day today!


dND said...

NO particular skills so it is a bit trial and error but its something that I've found I enjoy. The main problem is just physical strength. I'm 5ft tall and find that simple things like removing the battery pack from a tool requires both hands as they are designed for a man's hand to fit round. Que pantomime of me holding drill between knees and trying to remove battery without dropping the drill :-D

There's a picture of the house on the first entry - I've also PM'd you