Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Monday’s Ploughing

As promised a view of the ploughing I did on Monday. The area just over half way up on the left is the extension to the wood I’m planting. The ploughing started reasonably well even though the land is clayey and still waterlogged.

As I had a row of trees planted at the top I was only ploughing down the slope, (towards the front of the shot) which was fine until the left-right slope got a little bit steeper. Then, because you plough with one set of wheels in the grove cut during the previous pass, the tractor was gradually leaning over more and more. I finally chickened out, I’ve no idea how far the tractor can tip before it does fall over but it felt uncomfortable and I didn’t want to tip over either.

I then tried ploughing at right angles so I was going up the steeper slope but the wet ground meant that it wasn’t possible to get any grip. In the end I ploughed in the original direction but instead of running the tyres in the channel I moved onto the unploughed surface by a foot or so and ploughed strips that are roughly where the trees are meant to go. That’s why the rows to the right have the appearance of raised beds, as that’s effectively what they are.

I've also ploughed a small area further down the field, middle right in the photograph, and that's where I'm planning on growing a bit of maize this year. I've sown a few kernels in the house from the bought in maize I have and a few from the maize I gathered to see if either are viable otherwise I will have to look at getting a small quantity of seed maize.

Today was a relatively lazy day – I think I find it easier to work when the moon is waxing rather than waning as it is at the moment. Most of the day was spent getting rid of various pots and pans of grease. I try not to put grease into the septic tank system so I pour into containers. When they get full I then bin it. Not the best thing for landfill but at the present I don’t know what else to do with it – it’s usually past being useful for cooking.

Final picture for today shows what happens if you forget to close the gate to the patio. At least one of the chickens though there might be something tasty in the pots.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Morning Has Broken

The sunrise this morning was truly wonderful and despite the rhyme there was no rain, although we might get some overnight.

Looking to the west where the moon was setting there was a lovely pink glow on the house on the hill. Unfortunately I only realise when I downloaded the photographs this evening that it’s not possible to make out in the photograph the work I did yesterday. It seemed light enough to the naked eye but the camera thought differently and if I try changing the lightness in the photograph, the colour balance goes so I’ll photograph it again tomorrow in daylight.

Today was taken up by bill paying, ordering the next 166 trees ready for planting and buying this.

I spoke to my neighbour last week who has a mini digger and once he’s finished pruning his plum trees he’s going to come over and dig a couple of drainage ditches for me that will hopefully protect the pump house from the run-off of any deluges. This pipe is to go in where the bridge into the alpaca fields is to go. Mind you I’m reeling a bit at the price, 147€ for 6m by 30 cm. Still it’s less than the vet’s bill I paid and a lot less than the cost of the trees. I keep telling myself that these one-off spends will diminish but I’m beginning to think I’m kidding myself. There will always be something else, that’s the nature of life, isn’t it.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Time Flies

I'm finding it very hard to believe but it's only two years ago today that I was leaving the UK for France. Completion on my house happened at 12:30pm and I was on the 11pm ferry to a new life. Little did I know it would be 6 more weeks before I was allowed to buy my farm but the time has passed so fast.

I think the cats have forgiven me for their one and only stay in a cattery, they were there for 10 days, the time it was supposed to take for my house money to reach the notaire but that was without the bureaucracy taking over. I could have been on my way back but thankfully everything was finally resolved.

Here's to the next two years and the ones after that too.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

In The Eye Of The Beholder

Some might have looked at this piece of wood in the 1€ chuck-out bin at the local bricomarche and just seen something used as a shelf with boot-marks and spilt paint on it. Along with a few other bits that I’d bought earlier from the off-cuts bin and some bits I had lying around plus an old kitchen unit front courtesy of S & P, I looked at it and saw the back and base of this.

So tomorrow my chickens will have new nest boxes. At the moment they just nest on the floor. The nest boxes that are there are too high for most of the birds and have been taken over by those that can reach them as extra perches and as such they are fouled (no pun intended). My silver-laced Wyandottes are far too heavy to get up high so I’m hopeful they will take to the new boxes and I will have clean eggs.

With these two boxes being portable it should be easy to clean them and treat them against insects.

Today has been foggy all day and there was a little frost around this morning too. I love the way the frost brings things like spiders webs into view, they are just so pretty.