Long Story Long


Brent weaned the calves today. I helped out as a human fence and occasional triage gate ( Though double ‘O’ got through two times, damn bull ). If you’ve not heard in the news alongside Rihanna’s crazy love for Chris Brune and those whacky Boo-Boo’s, the Gers has got their share of rain. Which to you and me, means mud. Mud in the pens. So if you want to run some lovely cows through your pens and you have a lot of mud, it’s not all that safe ( did I mention our cows have big horns ). One gumboot stuck in the mud can be dangerous. So we waited for a dry spell before the girls came in.



Brent did a few “fixens” on the pens. He laid out some fresh straw in one pen. He cleared up as much of the mud as he could with some help from G ( thanks G!!! ), and he secured a weak wall. With all this rain, one of our giant cement blocky bits is wobbly. The soil has washed away underneath causing the pen wall to wobble. Brent parked the pelle against the wall should anything test this weakness. No one came close, but we run as a “belt and suspenders man.”
I’m new at this and I am a mother of four, so I expected a lot of grumping. The last time we did a weaning my husband gave me a rope with a bull on the end and said, “pull!” So this round was SO much easier.

We don’t advocate Attachment Parenting, but with a few new mums, you never know. The girls, they were on it. Because, you know, it’s about damn time those babies got off the teat. Look man, you need to get with the program. You need to be your own bovine. Live, damn it, don’t be cuddling up to me in times of stress. I raised you to be strong. You go, junior, you go! And that seems to be the collective sound of the herd.

We gently walked the herd through the alley. Each effort pushed cow after cow. The calves, confused, didn’t know what the heck was going on until we were left with the calves. Great strategy Brent! Cows get the alley. Calves are confused. Everyone went along with our exercise without much of a “moo.”

After the cows had left the pen, the calves and Gremlin ( the bull ) remained. Gremlin, it seems, was feeling fantastic about this song-and-dance. When all was said and done, he was left with an entire pen and a large bale of hay. No crazy girls hassling him. No crazy calves nibbling him. A little bachelor pad. He’s done his job and now he stood calmly munching hay while the rest worried about calves and other sundries.

Brent and I sorted out the balls from the ovaries in preparation for some FINE STEER MEAT ( inquire within! ). Thus far the only “moo” we’ve heard is from our fence-pusher-over who is not all that supportive of being separated from the herd.

Here is a sample of her work:


Oh yes and the kids.  This is the very first time while living in “Kentucky” France that I thought “gee, take-out would be nice.”  So instead, I did pancakes.  OH and they loved it.  I celebrated our weaning with a glass of wine and some steak.  Brent, the dude who gets close with these bovines, relaxed with a giant glass of water and a hot shower.

Can’t Wait


Our villa habitant, is leaving. He sets sail to the great winds and vegimite that is Australia. While packing up, he takes pity on us poor, farmer folk and brings great gifts loaded with one hour thirty of unstoppable pleasure. That’s right “the other dance movie starring John Travolta.”.

I’ve seen Staying Alive. I’ve seen Saturday Night Fever. But to complete my Travolta Trifecta TM, I need to view and smile at Perfect.

Now if only I can secure one of them reely-to-reely numbers they do in the Eighties. I need to see this flick for I fall needy and weird. Jamie Lee Curtis, people. This could be grave.

Steak Has That Something


I LOVE steak. LOVE it. I can eat a lot of steak. Especially steaky steak that tastes like steak. But I’m not the only one.

Our “purebreds,” they spend their day like this:


and this:

and this:


A brief moment of sizzle, piqued their interests. They sniff. Then they realize that steak is on offer. Then they activate. They move. They get up. They seem … active. It’s on. Bug is relentless. With his old, craggy “meow,” he begs for some of the good stuff. Tosca becomes your best friend.


I cannot say these words for other fleshy bits. There’s something about beef that gets the animals animated. I can only mirror their excitement.

Time For Teletubbies

farm shots January

This field was just grazed and with today’s sun and yesterday’s rain ( and the day before and the day before that and before that and so on and so forth ) grass it is a growin’. What was once a bit of brown and green with some brown being the herd and other brown being some mud and a little merde here and there, we are seeing brilliant green fields. Hopefully our wet autumn and winter will bring paddock after paddock of great food for the girls. Z has fallen in love with the Teletubbies, so when I see green fields [ whisper ] I see Tubbies. Yes, I said that out loud.

farm shots January

The villa lake is full and ready for the wild ducks.

farm shots January

There are some patches of water gathering in the fields, but we are doing very well. Others have lakes on their wheat crops. But if you could hear the life in this earth. The worms, the growing grass, the water being absorbed. It’s very loud. But not as loud as munching Salers.

farm shots January

Tosca could really care less about all these discussions as there aren’t many calories involved.

farm shots January

GrayCute secures the car. This is his territory and he will kick your a$#rse should you ( yeah you MilkShake ) come near.

farm shots January

and the moon looked a little something like this through the willow. I’m still working on my moon shot. Whoops, did I just moon you?

Another Story To Deflect Taxi Driver Conversations


“I bought this bunny basket on sale for two Euros.” These are the words you use to shield yourself from further conversation with semi-private public transport. Other top hits include:
” I bought this ten dollar shirt on sale for five dollars.”

And the classic

” My cat [ beat ] eats dog food. ”

But I really did buy that bunny basket for two bucks as I take hold of France on sale. Look, I have four kids all in need of Easter Bunny happenings. It’s a good fit that I find a squishy bunny basket for my bubby bub.
So please, no comments. Let us enjoy the moment that is bunny-basket-on-sale and leave it at that.

A Morning of Rainbows and Magic Fencing Plans Come True


It’s a rainy wonderland here. With the rain we have wind. With the wind we have clearings of glorious sun. With the glorious sun we are followed by a rain cloud which quickly leads to rainbows.


And what do you do when the ground is so soggy? You fence.

We’ve been waiting and waiting for our opportunity to fence. Two years of drought leaves no window to push posts in the ground. At last we seize the moment. With a little help from our friends, Brent and the boys pushed in over two hundred posts to keep our perfectly behaved herd in check.

Brent checks out ” soccer pitch ” to see if it’s waterlogged. To me, on this broken iPhone, it looks like he’s taking a leak. It’s one of those ” elephants in the room. ” Oh bloggers, they blog. Farmers farm. People get on with their life, but what we all know that is never talked about is that men, real men, they like to pee on their land. Otto, Brent, most of male France, we see you. And we continue on with a frown-nod implied. You go. Though Brent is actually looking at pasture and not having a wee, the scene set me up with this tangent and though I will hit ” publish, ” I should actually not say this out loud. Oh hi, my name is Jean. These are the thoughts that run through my head as I prepare a whole lotta meatballs for the troops.

And wasn’t that rainbow pretty? Wouldn’t you like to be out there making your farm better with rainbows? Yeah, me too.

We Gonna Ride The Boogie


We run a beef farm. Sometimes I say “small,” but in reality it’s not all that small. Sometimes I say “grass-fed,” in reality we are grass-fed, but shouldn’t all cows be eatin’ the good grass? It’s hard work not so much in sweat, though Brent will tell you otherwise, but starting up a quality, tasty beef farm is hard in that we need to experiment and try different methods to get tasty beef direct to you for a not-so-luxury price. Great beef should be great beef without any song-and-buzzword dance. This is what we do. And sometimes when it’s cold and dark and one cow is messing with your fences you feel an inner sigh. Why are we doing this? We could be working for the man making bankers rich, but instead we farm. I question simple food we purchase curious why I can’t spend a little more effort to produce it on the farm. You watch a documentary like “The Dustbowl” and think, why do I buy anything?!  Other than the Interwebs and Electricity.  Everything else, we can make happen.
Then you step outside and watch Brent move the cows to a fresh piece of grass, which he does one or two or four times a day.  This he does, rain or shine in sickness or in health.  Here he sets up the fence.


And the cows, they wait.  This is when to review the classic knock-knock

Me: Knock-knock

You : Who’s there?

Me: Impatient Cow.

You : Imapatient Co-    ME: MOOO!

Though our cows, they are patient.  They wait patiently for Brent to call them through.


And GrayCute supervises.  He likes to keep the girls in line.


Then they enter their new snack.


And begin to munch immediately because that rye-grass is pretty tasty.


“Muscles” keeps the rodents in check.


Then all is well because the only noise audible on the farm at this moment is the manic munching of a herd of Salers.  They munch quicker than any cow.  Their munch-per-second has been monitored by serious people with munch-monitors and you can hear it as soon as they hit their new patch.  They’re not starving, it’s just how they roll.

Just listen.  This is the sound of tasty beef in the making.

We feel great about this beef.  It’s tasty.  It’s well raised.  It’s healthy for you.  So we gonna ride this boogie.

Then and Now

Photo on 2011-10-04 at 13.13 #2

My little bubby bub at under-one age. So cute and non-tantrumy.

Photo on 2013-01-11 at 20.06 #4

Now with full curls ( that’s “freezeh” in French ) and the biggest pain in the a*#! since our first born, Lucy. Oh, but, we love her so.

… and Otto and Brent and me yelling at PhotoBooth to “TAKE THE DANG PICTURE ALREADY!!!”

Photo on 2011-11-17 at 21.09