Life in France

A not every day story of normal people trying to live their dream in France starting at the beginning and ending?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Caught in the act!

This deer is in MY garden, eating the peaches from MY peach tree, the first real peaches the tree has produced since we planted it two years ago. What a continued to happily munch even after i took the photo and shouted at it! It only ran off when i waved my arms around and jumped up and down like some demented whirling dervish!
On the goat front things are looking good with the baby growing well and now eating the plums that have fallen to the ground and she even spits out the stones!
The snake seems to have gone and as i can't smell any rotting flesh i assume that it has not died in the ceiling or the walls, i have however seen at close quarters a smaller grass snake in the water recycling ponds!! By close i mean as i turned on a tap it passed about 5cm under my hand swimming in the water. That is just a little bit toooooo close. I know they aren't dangerous but, well you know it is a snake............ A fox has taken to wandering around the front of the house at around six in the evening and we have the most beautiful pair of golden orioles visiting the garden to eat the pears and fresh figs from just outside the back door. Weather has finally decided to be summery...temp in the shade today was a comfortable 29°C while on the terace in the sun it managed 51°C......... time for a cooling drink i think............ We may have to buy some sheep soon as we can't manage toi keep the grazing short enough with the horses as they don't stay long enough and the local farmer doesn't want to put his cows on it as it too difficult for him.... managed to get 6 rounds of hay into barn and at 200kg each they should last the goats all winter. We have bartered two of them for two of straw so that should solve winter bedding problems at least for the goats. I fully expect that in spring next year we will have additions to the goat family..... Life as a "smalholder" is not easy and i still have to get out and cut the wood for winter and start the time....arrghhhh
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

SSSnake continued

To all those of an enquiring nature i extend my apologies for not updating the snake story before now..things like work have sort of got in the way.;i am trying to earn enough to pay for the new kitchen that luscious has set her mind to have..... Anyway, the snake in the ceiling thingy.......... RJ suggested a product that may help that they have across in the gud ole US of A and we do have something similiar over here in France however it presents a bit of a quandary... This stuff is supposed to repel the snakes, if i spray it into the ceiling by the wall ( the only place i can get into the ceiling without drilling holes etc) will it force the snake out OR will it stay in because it Can't get out because this stuff won't let it pass? The cat doesn't seem that bothered as it is just above her that the noise was coming from!! After much banging on the ceiling with hands and upturned brooms it did eventually depart from the kitchen ceiling......across the lounge ceiling.......across the dining room ceiling.....and then the noise stopped....i think it went into the wall of the house. These walls are about a metre thick and are natural stone held together with clay and in places cement and in times gone by were used by mice and rats to get from A to B thereby creating nice original rat runs!!! We know this because we came across old rat nests IN the walls when we had to take out old beams and make holes in the walls for new doors/windows etc !! I have not heard it again although we do have a small furry squirrel like animal in the roof space that the cats almost caught the other morning but that is a different story!

The other morning luscious was stood outside about 10metres from the front door watching the goats when her voice changed and i just knew why!! About 3 foot away from her a large brown snake very slowly uncoiled itself and went down into the stone wall!!! I hope it was the one from the house and that it is now happy outside!!! I am furiously trying to fill every hole i can in the wall from ground level up to about 1 metre up in the hope that it won't come back! I can't however fill in the wall of the bread oven which is attached to the house so i hope it doesn't try there. I have used three bottles of repulsif serpent repellent around the house as well. I keep my fingers crossed that it is still not in the house...and if it is outside that this stuff does actually work....... In the meantime i reach for my wine trying not to subconsciously listen for that sound like rustling paper........... or to smell rotting animal....
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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Snake in the ceiling

I have a HUGE problem....Luscious heard a strange noise in the ceiling above the kitchen and at the time i wasn't in..out with the band having a good time. I returned but couldn't hear it, she described it as sounding sort of like running water or paper rustling. Yesterday morning i heard it as well and there is only one thing that rustles like that... a snake!!!!!! we have had lizards,bats & mice in the ceiling so i know what they sound like but this is nothing like that!! How the hell it got there i have no idea, i know that the exterior walls are natural stone and have holes in so i assume it came in through one of them. I also know that when we were demolishing parts of the house we found rat runs through the walls so it must have used them to get into the ceiling...... I don't want it there!! it doesn't heed my thumping on the ceiling, just goes quite for a while then starts moving again! I have to find a way to get rid of it. The cats as you can see are not really interested in helping.... i may have to take up the floor above the kitchen and try to catch it unless someone has a better idea? gone for a drink..............
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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Announcing the arrival of baby POPPY

Weeehhhh hayyyyyy we have a new baby and she is just soooooo cute! She was born around 9am saturday morning and this picture was taken as she rested from the exertions of joining the world. Mum appears to have had no problems with the kidding and all we had to do was clean up the afterbirth etc etc. She was still wet from the birth and mum had taken a rest from cleaning her up a bit. She is now 4 days old and is starting to bounce around like a spring lamb, or spring/summer goatling i suppose is more correct! Bella the mum is a really maternal thing and is always looking out for her and making sure that she is alright. Billy the male is not soo happy at the moment as when the food is put into the containers he tries to headbut the little one out of the way! Mum soon puts a stop to that though!! She is very small at the moment in fact the male cat Merlin that we saved in our fields is just bigger than the kid!! he finds her very interesting and is now to be found spending most of his time either around the goats or ontop of the goat shed!! Missy Willow the older cat suns herself ontop of the goat shed and feigns disinterest whilst casting the odd glance in the direction of the goats!

Our very first Kid...ain't she cute?
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Saturday, May 26, 2007

New Arrivals

At last we have finally got the goats and very cute they are as well. The goat hotel is not completely finished but the walls are all up and it has a roof to keep out the rain so they will at least remain dry and out of the wind. Evidently goats just hate getting wet! You can see just how high the grass is in their paddock area so i doubt they will go hungry although we have been advised to give them a little feed supplement and fresh hay. They have a mineral lick in their quarters and i hope will be very happy here. Still no idea when she will be due to kid but we are reading everything we can about birthing. Seems though that she will just get on with it and we will go to see her one morning and find the's hoping........
They are still very wary of us as they have not been used to much contact just living in an enclosure with 6 other goats. Occassional food and new hay being brought in. Luscious is perservering and after a week she has them approaching her and taking food which she has placed about a foot away from her so we hope that in a couple of weeks we will be at least able to get them to feed from our hands. This will be an important step as it will make things like vets visits and hoof clipping a lot easier. So from goat heaven it is goodbye for now as i have to go out on a "gig" with the band and it has just started raining after a week of temperatures up in the 30's...bloody typical...........
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Goat Hotel

This is the start of the goats new hotel. We have managed to utilise some timber that we had left when we put the new roof onto the house so that was useful and it will be clad with offcuts of bark planking from the local sawmill so that won't cost too much either which is just as well really. The weather has been absolutely crap over the last ten days with almost constant rain or drizzle and when the sun has managed to put in its ever so brief appearance one or both of us has been working so we have been unable to finish the hotel! It would appear after a telephone call earlier this week that the finishing of the hotel is now extremely urgent, the man we are getting the two goats from seems to be telling us that he is almost 99% sure that the female is pregnant and not that far away from giving birth and he would rather that she was here for this event. This would mean that we could possibly be in a sort of profit mode as we have paid for two goats and could possibly end up with FIVE!!! I will keep you informed on what happens and of course pictures will be a must. We could be parents very soon........ scary huh?
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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Goats & Tripe

At last the goat fencing is almost finished. So far we have put up 220m of grill type fencing which involved digging some 58 holes and putting in 58 new fence postson a 1 in 3 hillside! We have where possible re-used the original fenceposts to try to keep down the costs which have quickly mounted to highs not originally thought about when we were offered two "cheap" goats! I have now made the gate into the field and we just need to run an electric wire around the top of the fence to try and discourage the goats from jumping over the top of the fence! All that now remains is to build them a shelter of somekind as evidently goats don't really like to get wet, i know how they feel after finishing off the fence in the rain! They should arrive sometime next week so i need to get a move on otherwise they will be here before their new home is ready. "cheap" goats have now cost around 500euros which is around 350 pounds sterling and that doesn't include actually paying for the goats!!!!!! The upside is though that we will at last have something to keep the weeds down and something that will eventually become food? maybe?
On the pleasure front the bandas season has started again and to celebrate the end of one of our first "gigs" we had a communal meal of a local delicacy... Tripe & potatoes..errrrr yuk yuk yuk! It may look nice but for me the smell is just about enough to make me sick... of course most people cleaned their plates and went back for second helpings..even though it was flashed over with Rhum i just couldn't eat it....i am pleased to say that i was not alone in my feelings, two other band members are of the same mind as myself and instead we tucked into local jambon...yummy...i am really sorry but i just cannot eat tripe..i tried i really did but just putting some on a fork was enough to start me gagging......thankfully i was rescued by the chef who placed the jambon in front of me and whisked away the tripe. Needless to say i needed a drink after this experience..local red wine..slurp, gulp thats better.........
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