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Showing posts from May, 2014

This week

A moment from the week at  La Singlarie
Sandy and her three day old piglets

10 little miracles

Sandy was suppose to of given birth a month ago after a visit to champion the boar. After she came home with a smile on her face and without coming into season  plus the eating she began to gain weight, sure signs of pregnancy. As we counted the 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days no piglets came, she looked rounder but no sign.

 Each day after farmer J would say "when Sandy" and she would look back, her teats began to fill another definite sign but still no babies after a month of waiting she produced milk, this we thought was not going to turn out happy, thinking they would be still born with her body going through the motions, a waiting game.

Then this morning, at normal feeding time I was gobsmacked to find ten little piglets, just born feeding already. Running back to get my camera farmer J thought something awful had happened.

Each time I have visited today they have been feeding with no apparent runts they are a good size and hopefully Sandy has got enough room in her birth…

This week

We have had a mixed bag of weather this week with rain cloud and sun, when the sun was out it really warmed up.

Monday we left La Singlarie early driving to Toulouse to move out and clean Miss F's apartment along with her boyfriend. She's now back here for the summer with her worldly belongings dumped in her brothers room. After cleaning we met up with Master C and his girlfriend to go for a farewell meal as they depart for the summer, Master C has now left to work in Scotland for three months, Coralie his girlfriend goes to New Zealand (they were suppose to be both going but as we are British living in France he couldn't get a working holiday visa) and Florian leaves the end of June teaching scuba diving at Corsica. Miss F is home to sort out her getting into the real world - a job. (with a bit of weeding and gite cleaning in between)

Pig moving again proved a little slow. It took two days to move this group of five, they were so laid back. The last one I pushed up the h…

Snap shot

A moment from the week at La Singlarie
Walking with pigs

Rabbit proof fence

In the hope of not loosing anymore greenery in the veggie patch today was spent today taking down an old fence which was put up around eight years ago. As it had a few holes in it this could be where  the rabbits are getting through. On the other side of the fence a chicken run was constructed were table chickens grew to a really good weight until we got a batch that had been, what we think were contagious with Mareks disease. Subsequently we stopped using it for chickens putting a litter of pigs in the area to get them use to electric fencing (which they did). It has been left empty for around 18months now with Gorgon and the girls have made break trough's through it last year gaining access into the veggie patch but now there's a lot of weeds.

On the other side of the veggie patch is another old holey fence which has now got the recycled one that was taken down put in front of it, new posts and a trench dug to lower the wire in, earthed up and stones put on top in the hope …

This week

Monday at the spinning and weaving group I learnt how to ply wool using the Navajo technique, using a single thread making it into 3 ply, useful when you only have one bobbin or want lovely mixed coloured wool from blended wool batts (wool that has not been spun)

Sandy it turns out is not pregnant. As she has been fed pregnant sow rations she is now just a tad over weight, back on normal pig size feeds she is being closely watched for when and if she comes into season.

The first of the seasons broad beans have been eaten. Next year I think I will double the allotted broad bean patch as they seem so easy to grow here ( I probably shouldn't say that as some pest will probably enjoy munching them soon)

Sadly our old mallard duck didn't come back to the barn at evening time, I like to think he flew down to the Aveyron river to find a lady friend or he made it up to the top of the hill had to have a rest after a long climb and fell asleep. There has been no sign of feathers aroun…

Snap shot

A moment from the week at La Singlarie

Help clearing the chicken barn from a young French man

Battle in the veggie patch- round 1 rabbits 2 me 0

Living in the country we share with the local wildlife at times can be a little bit of a pain, It's lovely to know and see deer, wild boar and the odd fox are around and the balance of a bit of a field being rooted up (the boar) or a chicken being killed (the fox) we can live with but when changes of everyone living in harmony arrive it does sometimes feel like a battle. Having many buzzards around these parts kept down the rabbit and mouse population, until the crows arrived and the buzzards left. The rabbits bred (like rabbits) and now they can be seen everywhere around the farm. The odd buzzard has returned but doesn't seem to be eating many rabbits.

They are cute with their twitchy nose and the way they clean their ears makes them enduring, we still (miss F and I) say ah, look at they little bunny but not anymore after today's findings. I now know how Mr Mc Gregor felt when Peter and Benjamin visited his vegetable garden for they have visited mine ( and probably will …

This week

Miss F came back from Toulouse to celebrate her birthday.We met her French boyfriend (being English this can be quiet daunting for both parties) for the first time. We can't of been to frightening and not too bonkers as his returning for a few days tomorrow after enjoying his time chopping wood with farmer J and master C, who also returned before leaving to work the summer in Scotland.

 The chicks have been enjoying the outside pecking at the grass and if an insect lingers long enough. The grass was so long it had to have a strim first as the chicks would of been lost, it's a bad enough corralling them in of an evening so hunting in the long grass was not an option. After one accidental death we now have 29 putting weight on ready for the table.

The eldest pigs were brought down from their enclosure up the top, one went for pork at the beginning of the week with the other three next in line. They have had a good life here, a lot longer than an industrial pig as it takes 18 m…

Snap shot

A moment from the week at La Singlarie


Le Jardin des Paradis

When I grow up and have a proper garden with no dogs digging or moles making hills I want a garden with many features like this the garden of paradise at Cordes-sur-ciel in the Tarn about 30 minutes drive from us.

It was the second holiday in May today, in commemoration of the second world war ending, a dry warmish, partly cloudy with bits of sun now and again day. This morning was spent working packing sausages, the normal animal care and then farmer J milling cereal and I cutting the weeds and grass that's growing at an alarming rate under the pigs electric fencing.

We took the afternoon off heading out to Cordes to visit the Jardin des Paradis, we visited a few years ago towards the end of the season when it was quiet. Today, being the school holidays and VE day it was busier but still nice to walk around and get ideas of what I would like in a garden or maybe a veggie patch, something like this maybe?

But what I really, really would like is something like this (please).Of cou…

Veggie patch

The veggie patch is in desperate need of a grass cut, and of course more weeding. It has still been a little chilly at night but the tomatoes are looking a little sad in their pots so come Friday they may move to the their allocated space along with the runner beans.
 Shallots, onions and potatoes are coming up along with the Jerusalem artichokes that were hiding under ground, and I thought I had dug them all up as well.
 I intend to have more flowers this year to keep the bees, butterflies and insects happy. Borage and calendula have self seeded which will need transplanting to the edges of borders so as not to take over the vegetables space that I am trying to grow.
 Broad beans are coming along, patiently waiting for them to get a little bit bigger.
If you look closely the green lines are spinach and chard coming up, still waiting for parsnips, carrots and beetroots. So far no escaping rampaging pigs, nibbling of seedlings, black fly on the broad beans or signs of rabbits in the …