This afternoon we went to pick up our young black sow from her week of romance with Champion the boar. If all has gone to plan 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days from now (or there abouts) we should hear the tiny patter of trotters.
She was eager to get home after spending her time next to four other sows with their 26 piglets, very different from the calm and tranquillity of your own patch and house.
Work has started on her new enclosure next to the other sows. Farmer J put in posts for her cabin we then collected hard core from our hard core pile (which at one time was huge after all the building work but is now starting to diminish in size). Next step is to lay concrete for the base a little job for the weekend .....
What a difference a day can make, the first day of Autumn has been glorious, far different than last week when it was damp and wet for most of it. Enough girolle mushrooms were found while walking in the woods along with a bag of blackberries. Hopefully if the warm weather stays ceps will soon appear. Apples and pears are ripening and a second crop of raspberries were picked today.
The week was spent with snippets of days when the rain had stopped cutting docks and seed heads of weeds in one of the hay fields before the seeds fall. It is a job that needed to be done otherwise the hay field next year will be a dock field and no animal eats a dock leaf round here.
Our young sow has gone off for a holiday with Champion, the boar Sandy visited a while back. She is such a gentle pig, hopefully he is being a charming male.
Sandy's piglets are filling out now starting to eat cereal. As they get more adventurous they (or Sandy being bored) have pulled away the plastic mesh keeping the p…
I went to the local supper market this afternoon. It is one of those French chain ones and although new and small it never really has anything inspiring in it. While loosing the will to live a small pack of three toblerones caught my eye (I am rather partial to toblerone). In the trolley they jumped as Zumba classes resume tonight I thought I could just work a little harder.
Once home and cupboards replenished apart from the veg being left on the side (and chocolate bars) I went off to feed the animals. On returning to the house this is what I found.
Milo may be short and blind but obviously has no worries about his waist line. Not a chocolate bar in sight. Even worse Franklin had finished off the last slice of honey cake I had made from this months Delicious. mag. He had already stolen 1/4 of it while it was cooling on the rack the other day. This cake was part of a thank you to a neighbour. I managed to cut it in half (untouched end) and saved a tiny un slobbered slither, I wouldn&…
After watching this weeks episode of The Great British Bake Off I was inspired to make a custard tart. As farmer J and I laughed at the contestants attempts of turning out their tarts we both said at the same time, having a Darby and Joan moment `cor, I use to love a custard tart'.
Not wishing to have the same horror of stuck individual tarts I made a big one, pre cooking the pastry hence no soggy bottom. It turned out pretty rustic after slopping custard over the sides before cooking due to tripping over sous chef, aka Milo (he did do a good job of clearing up spilt custard on floor).
The silver fox was a tad harsh in this episode I thought. Saying that the chances of a pie having a soggy pastry bottom (and top in some cases) is pretty high if the pastry and wet filling are cooked at the same time I think, thought the contestants might of worked that one out before hand. Who is to win? Howard's too nice, crying when Ali left, it's a competition! Frances is concentrati…
Four nights and days away staying at chateau Ricard apartments in Saint Geniez d'Olt, Nth East Aveyron refreshed our batteries. No disasters happened while we were away, not even sure we were missed by the animals, even a tidy house on our return. How lovely it was to get away from the usual routine, to be able to wear clothes other than old work ones. Not to have to check shoes for chicken poo or to check no pig slobber or mud up the legs and arms before going out.
To sit in bed with a cup of tea and read thinking of not having to rush up to let animals out or feed. To go out and not worry about getting back in time and being unable to just go and finish a job was bliss.
Although the weather wasn't brilliant we managed to get out and about taking in the scenery, walking round villages and eating and drinking out a lot. Very different from where we live Aubrac is open country filled with Aubrac cows and sheep. Up high with ski stations this I imagine is a hard place to live i…
The seven piglets are now a week old. Out and about running around, play fighting and looking cute they are time wasters watching their antics.Plastic tape has been put up between the sows enclosures to stop the piglets running into the black sows enclosure. Sandy is a good mum, a little clumsy with her brood. While I distracted her farmer J was able to catch the four males which have now been castrated.
The donkeys have been moved to autumn pasture next to the pigs, they have been trying to befriend our 2nd gite guests by standing at the fence braying loudly (and early). Chewing bark of the trees and trying their hardest to get into the chicken barn and let the chickens out it was time to move them on.
The veggie patch is in need of serious weeding (again). Not so many tomatoes this year with a lot damaged in the storm we had, hence the marks on them, once these have been cut out they still taste pretty good. The haricot blanc have been picked and stored just before the rain came. B…
No two days are the same here, we like a bit of variety, most of which comes in the form of jobs around the farm. Half of the chickens went off this morning, cereal was milled, a bit of veggie collecting and helping farmer J with erecting an electric fence for the cows and collecting oven ready chickens - all in a days work.
Just before animal feeding time friends had come to collect their chickens (oven ready ones) and towards the end of our coffees a car pulled up with four french men asking if they could film in front of our barn. While they were getting ready our friends left ready for us to feed the animals.
One of the guys explains that his father was born in the house (no longer there) next to the barn, a film was being made to commemorate the 1st World war. After a discussion farmer J was asked if he would take part by chatting to the son. I got my Zanussi* to snap a few shoots and somehow also got roped in too. Cue filming - he walks up to our gate where we are standing, in…
As summer turns into autumn mornings and evenings are turning a little cooler here, early morning mists cover the Valley below.
Blackberry bushes are laden with fruit , turning in colour and getting ready for picking already a few crumbles have been made. Now plenty of eggs are being laid the ice cream maker has been churning away. Mint, vanilla, sabayon flavours go down well, I am the only one who liked lavender.
Wednesday evening saw the last night market for the summer in the village. Trestle tables were placed along a side road with regional dishes available to buy along with bottles of wine and entertainment . The first and last market of the season is held here with the thinking it will not be as busy, the committee may have to rethink next year as it was buzzing.
Farmer J managed to ear tag the new female calf, just as well as she's getting pretty lively now.
Born Thursday evening as I was cooking a meal for our gite guests and farmer J was serving as well as being midwif…