Saturday, 23 February 2008

No blog last night as I had a night out with friends to celebrate my first anniversary. The next village has a good restaurant where you can get a four-course meal with wine for 16€. That is one of the most noticeable differences I’ve found between here and the UK. There is really good, home-prepared food available at very reasonable prices everywhere. Nearly always there is the set menu with two or three choices for the main course and desert.

Where we went there is always duck, one of the joys of being in this part of France, although I chose steak for a change last night. You settle for the night with no one hassling you, and enjoy the company of friends.

Yesterday while passing the inside/outside thermometer I stopped for a double take. The sensor is against a south-facing wall but even so, this is February. In the shade it was a relatively cool 20°C

This morning I visited the new Gamm Vert in Monflanquin. The publicity material for the opening included a jeton – a small plastic disc – that you place in a box and it tells you if you have won the main prize. Needless to say I didn’t but I like everyone else came away with a free packet of seeds. It was a bit of an expensive day there too as I had just received a 10% off loyalty voucher so made the most of it by buying 24kg of cat food plus the ingredients to make up the next batch of chicken feed, 10 posts to finish the supports for the kiwi fruit and raspberries and 6 meta posts in readiness for the first of the alpaca shelters I will have to build in the new paddocks.

In the afternoon I got on with pruning the remaining branches on the Reine Claude and the ordinary plum trees. They have both been drastically reduced in height; they could do with further trimming and shaping but I am going to leave that till next year after I’ve seen what re-growth occurs.

Before and after photographs for the Reine Claude.

Once the sun went down I decided on a short walk around part of the farm. The wheat is growing well and I thought this made a nice picture with the sunlight still glowing on the top of the rise above the farm.

From there I went along the new paddocks; here it was obvious that a second grass seed had germinated over the last couple of weeks. It would be nice if the rain forecast for next week were gentle and steady as the grass could do with a bit more water. What I don’t want is one of the really heavy deluges we can get that might wash the new growth from the soil.

As usually happens when I go for an evening walk I am accompanied, the cats seem to enjoy the stroll as much as me. This is on the way back up the drive; Hazel’s got sidetracked by something that might have moved in the hedgerow, so she’s dropped back. Patches is keeping an eye on Cid and waiting for him to pass so she knows that she’s not going to be attacked by him and Snowy is leading the way and daring Cid to try and take over as top cat.


Georgina said...

Hi, what is it with French cats or cats in France that they like to come for a walk. Patapouf and Dudley never miss a walk when I'm out with the dog. Love the picture of the cats on the lane. Which ones snowy? I knew someone who called her cats Blackie and Ginge, when I asked her which was which she actually told me. Not the sharpest tool in the box.
Good luck with your blog Debs

dND said...

Hi there and thanks for your comment. As you guessed she's the white one and Patches is the short haired tortoiseshell! I have to hold my hand up to the unimaginative naming - I put it down to having 3 children.

Said children named the other two, Cid from a final fantasy (I think) character and Hazel because they liked the name.

The cats would follow a bit in the UK but it is excessive here, maybe due to the lack of other people and traffic. I usually have one or two round my feet if I'm working outside so things like digging take ages but I wouldn't change that for the world

Veronica said...

Hi Deborah! I came across your blog recently and am following your progress with great interest! I too have a an ex-farm which I am definitely not going to redevelop - simply maintain meadows for hay and woods for logs. I live just outside Monflanquin: in fact we may have been at Gamme Vert at the same time yesterday (and I didn't win anything either). I'm also a cat woman (5 so far + a dog).
Can you tell me where you bought your ash trees? I'd like to plant some more - best firewood around and they grow quickly.
Keep up the good work!

Living the Dream said...

We have just looked up Monflanquin on the map and it seems you are only a couple of hours from us. The photo of your lane looks exactly like ours (and many others around here I know). We were out for a walk the other day and a family were out with 2 dogs, 2 goats and a sheep!!! You have to laugh don't you. Our inherited cat goes about with us as well, though she is rather unwell at the moment.
Luv Hazel

dND said...

Hi Veronica,

I got the trees from just east of Castillonnes. I'll put my e-mail on the web page tonight so you can get in touch and I'll do my best to describe where. I may have bought him out of ash for this year but he may have got some more in though.

speak to you soon

dND said...

Hi Hazel,

Two dogs I can envisage, but two goats and a sheep!!! Mind you, have you watched that French TV programme 30 million d'amies? One person there used to take her camel to the local restaurant - makes me feel quite normal in comparison.

dND said...


e-mail is on the profile page