Life in France

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

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bean nursery

The vegetable garden meanwhile continues to grow whilst i carry on with the building. This now means of course that as well as the building work, "real" work and general work we now have to do weeding work. The garden takes up at least an hour a day just watering it and then you have to keep the weeds down which just seem to love the conditions we are providing for them. On top of all of that because we are organic we have to remove the pests, bugs, maggots etc that all vegetables seem to attract and i now have a fun game going with a mole. It sems to like the newly broken earth and can burrow through it really easily, only problem with this of course is that when i go to check the garden i will see the odd plant here and there on its side for no apparent reason. On closer inspection the mole has been alongside or under it causing it to fall over. I replant it and stamp down the tunnel but the next day another plant has a distinct list!! Anyone any ideas on how to persuade a mole to re-locate? The cat bless her is doing her best having already caught one but obviously we have a whole nuclear family of them still tunnelling away!
She shows great patience sitting listening for ages until she suddenly pounces and digs like mad, she has as i say caught one but there are others. Amazingly so far in her endeavours she hasn't dug up any of the vegetables! The large construction in the picture is wood and string and is a climbing frame for the runner beans. I have high hopes for them...... So far we have only lost 4 lettuces out of all the vegetables we have planted.. so far so good... we have already had a small crop of strawberries and the small wild strawberries are just starting to produce fruit. The cherry trees this year are bending under the weight of fruit. As soon as they are ripe it will be cherry jam, cherry pie, cherry schnapps, cherry syrup and cherry gateaux + it is nearly time to start making the walnut leaf wine and in a couple of weeks we will be picking the green walnuts ready to pickle and also make some into vin noix. Life in the country can be very busy sometimes........ Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

From Walls to Steps

Well, now that the wall is safely built and still standing after a bit of soil being put behind it i suppose i had to start the steps from the terrace that will eventually lead up to another smaller terrace and sitting area. This area will give visitors a great view straight down the valley. But first i have to do the steps. As you can see the first step has already been dug out and i have prepared the boarding ready for the concrete to be mixed and poured into it. The idea is the same as for the wall in that when the steps are all completed they will be dressed with local stone or lauze with a smaller wall at the side which will again have flowers planted into it to give a bit of colour. Digging out the steps gives me the topsoil to back fill behind the wall already built so nothing goes to waste and the stones are used as hardcore base for the steps. How's that for efficient recycling of materials?
I am doing this as the weather is pretty decent and the plaster in the second bedroom is
drying out so i can't get in to finish the floor. Once the plaster is dry then it will be time to put the final finish on the reclaimed chestnut floor and make the doors, paint the walls and yeehaaa the bedroom is complete and ready for guests to come and use.
Right then, time to go and order the gravel etc that i need for the steps.......oh, we have to plant a load of vegetables that luschious has grown from seed as well so that is my day all sorted. How are your days going?
p.s. fished dead snake out of waterbowl for horses......yuk! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 14, 2006

To This......

Now, i know that it doesn't look much but this is part of the wall. It goes from two rows to three as the bank is slightly steeper further along so the wall had to be a bit taller. As walls go it isn't very fancy BUT it is my wall, my first wall and after sitting on it, standing on it and pushing against it it is still standing. That in my book means it is a success! ( it is also level!!!) All i have to do now is face it with the stone we recovered when we dug out the cave under the house. We have already back filled it with soil and compost and after leaving it for a week to settle and topping it up will begin to plant out some flowers.
It has been a busy week at "real" work, have finished cleaning off old wallpaper and washed down walls and ceilings and varnished the woodwork. Next week i learn how to put up wallpaper that should be fun shouldn't it?
The horses are back and have certainly expanded around the middle in the last two weeks with all the lush grass and dandelions that they have been eating. Stage one of the great horse project is being put into action at the start of June so that should prove interesting. It is a feasability study to see if what i want to do is 1. affordable 2. worth doing from enviromental points 3. will it earn any money or at least cover costs. I am hoping that all the answers are YES. I really want to do this.... perhaps i can fiddle the results?
On a slight down note, i saw the first couleuvre last week, that means the sun is bringing them out of hibernation. Hope they stay away from the garden area although i have a feeling we have a resident near the waterhole that the horses use which is only a few feet from the end of the garden!!! (couleuvre= snake!) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 07, 2006

W.I.P. from this to....

Wall in progress! This is the start of a very small retaining wall at the edge of the terrace as we need to stop the rock from cracking with the frost and rain and sliding down onto the terrace.
As you can see the house is actually built straight onto the rock so it is a good reason to stop the rock from moving.
Rock moves, house moves ...ooops pile of rubble..start all over again! once the blocks are in place i will backfill with some soil and then plant some small rock type plants/alpines etc to give a bit of colour and then face the wall with natural stone so that it blends in a bit better.
Well, that is the plan but as with every thing here it is subject to last minute changes. No idea how it will go as never done this before.
Isn't on the job training/learning great?
Plasterman back so this last week have been back at some "real" work. I am now being a painter/decorator, stripping off wallpaper in a small apartment and cleaning ceilings ready to repaint and re-paper. They say variety is the spice of life is very spicy at the moment sort of chili powder, black pepper and cinnamon... Posted by Picasa