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Showing posts from 2015

Cows, cows, cows

Today and the past few days have centred around our herd of cows. So far there has been five calves born, the last to Emile, pictured above who was our first cow born on the farm. She's been a good mother, calm and friendly. Up to now her calves have thrived but her latest isn't doing too well. Born naturally he didn't respond like most calves, he couldn't stand up and therefore couldn't/ wouldn't feed. Farmer J stayed trying to get him upright for ages. Emily was very patient maybe knowing that he was trying to help. As he wouldn't feed we decided to leave things to nature, thinking in the morning we would have a dead calf.

The morning came and he was still alive so a trip to the vets for a check up. After a drip for fluids and a bit of medication including an injection to stop bleeding inside, he was brought back with powders to add to water with valuable nutrients and colostrum which he missed out on and a few syringes for injections. He is now able to …

No 4

Thankfully Christmas day was quiet with all the animals behaving themselves which meant apart from feeding them in the morning and evening they amused themselves while we amused ourselves. Today started a little different, a first time pregnant cow had gone into labour. Normally they are able to give birth without any intervention but this one was looking tired. Once the others were shut down feeding farmer J had a look although in the normal position he could not pull it out. A call to the vets whom came very promptly (although it's not a holiday here they were very quiet unlike usual).

 A jack like tool was used to pull the calf out, it was fine, head a little swollen and fluid in its airways and lungs after a wash in the ears by me (it brings them around, much like us if we had a cold wash). The cow wouldn't of been able to give birth on her own as it was a big calf, the 2nd male so far. Mum needed a few stitches, once the calf was put in front of her she responded straigh…

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie

Selecting and collecting the Christmas tree.


Adopted us December 2008 left us 18th December 2015

Seven years ago our gentle giant met us over the woods when we were hunting for our Christmas tree. He followed us home and stayed, He came to us very ill , his life saved today he left us ill again.

We had to make that awful decision many pet owners have to make. Today he couldn't walk and his eyes said it all. He had had enough and we think more was going on than his auto immune system giving up on him (as if that wasn't enough) .

At around 12 years old we think his days were spent for the past seven years enjoying his time barking at trees that squirrels had left a long time ago, chasing deer he was never going to catch, nudging for a stroke and being a loyal best friend. This afternoon we buried him next to his mate Milo under the oak trees at the top of our highest field with one of the most magnificent views over where he use to roam.  Go run Tyser x


Since last Monday we have had an unwell Tyser. We don't really know his age but its estimated around about 11 or 12 so things are bound to start to go a bit awry. We know his joints are giving him pain but he really went down not moving much when walking he couldn't keep up. He was very wobbly Monday morning with symptoms that looked like he had the  canine tick disease from an infected tick bite. A emergency dash to the vets his red blood cells had been affected and broken down. Although the parasite could not be seen in his blood he was treated with injection and antibiotics.

Thinking this would get him back on track it was a bit of a shock for him to go down even further. Thursday he was back again with anaemic and weak. A blood test revealed his red blood cells were so below the normal count it was beginning to look a bit bleak. He was suffering from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, a disease that affects his immune system which reacts by attacking itself. He was admitted an…

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie

So cute and a little female so no eating !

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie

That time of year again, the cattle are just discovering the extended hanger and hay ready for the winter routine of morning and evening feeding.

Coming home

The weather has turned a wee bit chilly here, with water frozen of a morning and the grass almost eaten down it was time to bring the cattle back from their summer grazing at La Contie to home. Led into the trailer with  a bucket of food it was a bit of a tight squeeze as Mona, the eldest and top of the pecking order would not budge over to make room for the last female. Once in and  doors secure they had the scenic route along the back roads.

Eager to get out they were no trouble entering the field to go and meet their mates, who heard farmer J and came running up to see what was going on. Not the brightest of the bunch hello's were said between the fence before the cattle that had stayed here moved into the small field to be reunited. Lots of mini tussles, running and horn locking they have now settled down as the herd hierarchy will over a couple of days be resolved, hopefully just in time for when they start coming in morning and evening for hay but the whole he/she is in my …

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie

 It's been six months since Sorrel arrived, she's slowly eating her way through the house.

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie

Sorrel flour bombing - again!

Bonfire Night

We had our annual bonfire night celebrations on Friday with the weather unbelievably warm and dry we decided to hold celebrations in the new (re erected after the wind) poly tunnel before farm machinery will  be stored there. Tables and benches borrowed from the Marie made it much easier to put up rather than moving furniture around in the gites. With the spare gas cooker coming out of hiding a make shift kitchen was placed there too for reheating food.

With the most people to date a sit down meal of chestnut soup, bangers, mash and onion gravy and apple & peach crumble with custard was served. This could not of been done without my sous chef and chief peeler, Anita who rallied round fetching and carrying, washing up and serving along with her husband Richard who was chief stirrer of mulled wine and soup. Along with two other friends, Don and Jackie who fetched and carried and served. Thank you all!

The job of Guy making was down to me this year, his head made from one of Freya&#…

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie

When the wind blows the small poly tunnel gets wrecked.

The cover is on

The plastic for the relocated poly tunnel has been put on. With a bit of thinking needed as to how to secure it as there is no earth for it to be dug into instead farmer J came up with half cut diesel containers filled with concrete (which I helped make this time) were put in place for each metal pole to sit in with the plastic being placed underneath.

Being in two large sheets it was a bit of  challenge to cover the frame, last time we had six people this time just the two of us, thankfully it wasn't windy otherwise it would of been a nightmare. The floor has been swept and is waiting a power wash with finishing touches to be made.

It has and still is extremely windy here today already the small tunnel for the pigs food and straw has lost its covering blowing off in the wind. There was no point in trying to put it back, far too windy anyway so straw and food bins have been covered as its due to be raining in the early hours which hopefully will calm the wind down.

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie

Portiche is in need of a bit of TLC, the last one of our first cows we installed on the farm she has now gone into retirement with a daily handful of cereal with added minerals she's a happy girl.

Fete du chataigne - chestnut eating day

Today was the chestnut fair at Laguepie, the day of eating chestnuts. Amazing weather brought everyone out as it was very lively. Restaurants have set menus with chestnuts in each course,rows of  sellers sell chestnuts to take home or you can buy chestnuts roasted in big wire cages. Wire baskets are sold for home roasting along with chestnut products of flour, cakes, breads and conserves.

As well as chestnuts there was market stalls selling the regional specialities of saucisson, honey, cheese, wine and walnuts, we brought ours 5 kilo bag from the old guy in the photo which Freya was made to carry around after Farmer J chainsawed our small walnut tree down by accident (it did only have four nuts so wouldn't of lasted long) at least they were lighter than the bags of chestnuts and apples we scrumped yesterday afternoon on our dog walk.

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie

In Franklin's words "It's torture living here".
Now the cooler weather has arrived Fizz has been evicted from her feeding spot on the window ledge. The only place the dogs cant get her food is on the table (not sure where she will be eating soon once the table goes away too). Franklin is finding this new eating spot torturous, especially as Fizz is a grazer so a bowl of food uneaten is just not what dogs understand  around here.

Are pigs not suppose to eat everything?

Our pigs are driving us mad at the moment, well for about a fortnight now since they started to have a new batch of mixed cereals. They just wont eat it.

Is it only our pigs that are fussy? Out of all of them there are three who will eat it no problem but the rest just turn there snouts up. Gorgon and the girls have no problem with it or the sheep but the chickens and ducks don't think much of it either. So what is different about it? It can't be that inedible if some will eat it.

It must be the taste. This is new mixed grain cereal from this year, a mixture of wheat, oats,barley and peas, a lot more peas than last year so it can only be the taste of the peas that is putting them off.
When the cereal is changed the old lot is milled with the new lot half and half so there is a gradual change, the same done this time. We have a lot of this unpalatable cereal too much for Gorgon to get through in his lifetime alone so we can't just throw it away.

So for the past fortnight …

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A moment from the week at La Singlarie
After being told she's on a diet Fizz takes matters into her own hands and goes hunting- hope she doesn't think I'm preparing it foe her!

Up it goes

This week the metal poly tunnel frame has been moved ready to be put up, barrels collected to be filled with cement, plastic brought and metal poles cut to size to sit in the barrels to heightened the tunnel allowing the tractor to fit in.

Help was needed by out friend Thierry from down the road who's tractor held the first arc in place enabling the rest to put erected. lots of ladder climbing, (thankfully not by me) later and it was up with ties holding it in place before being wired and tied in place. It now awaits its plastic cover,I understand a little job for tomorrow.