It’s Important That You Know About This

My kids adore this youtube beauty. In English, I believe it translates to “chicky peeps.” An entire song auto-tuned with lyrics about animal noises primarily the chick. You’ll find yourself bouncing like you’re listening to a Little Richard song. It’s horrible, but cute, but horrible again then you hate yourself for smiling. But, I love the words for animal noises in other languages and this song runs through a whole lotta them. I remember vividly when I first took in this music. The internet was down. Brent was up early and flipped on some wee hour T.V. I heard a gummy bear singing from the other room something about le poussin piou. So don’t feel bad. Enjoy.

Aromatic Bubble Wrap

IMG_2919

The common blackberry settles in near trees and fence lines. When no one is looking, they grow and grow. They grow tall. They grow thick.

Some try hard to look like a tree, but I am not fooled. When the baby sleeps, I sneak out and chop those weedy pests into a soil enriching mulch. We’re working on the “Yukon” paddock at the moment.

IMG_2922
clearing after a meeting of the blade


IMG_2924
view of our farm from Yukon

IMG_2925
looks like there were cows fenced in Yukon. Held in by using the lovely Oak trees

The blackberries seem endless reminding me of my favorite computer tidbit “perpetual bubble wrap.” This bubble wrap is just as addictive as Asteroids but with a lovely smell while you clear the board.

As I hold my lawnmower blade on my hip, I think of the classic, pre-Rings, low budget film by Peter Jackson, Dead Alive. I say to myself, “I kick arse for the Lord!” and off I go.

please don’t watch this if you have issues with cheap zombie movies involving gallons upon gallons of fake blood.

… and for your enjoyment should you not feel like chopping zombies … uh … blackberries with a lawnmower on your hip:
perpetual bubble wrap

Nutella Weather Station Says: Unspreadable

20130223-141217.jpg

That’s not a flurry of moths, it’s snow. Nothing is sticking and I suppose by Midwest American standards, I should quitmabitchen. Brent has been doing his water hose draining routine ( whoa, that was not a potty reference ) to beat the night frost. So far, the water has drained and with a tweak here and there, the herd gets their fresh water. They don’t drink much in the morning. Lately, they’ve been sleeping in, warming in the early morning sun. Brent, after setting up the temporary fences and rolling out the hay, calls them through and waits while they slowly waddle to their next strip of fresh green grass. I suppose they are not far from birth. Girl, I feel your weight.

Hello World!

greenlight

We’re back.  The internet has returned.  Though it didn’t drown, it’s disappearance was water related.  A neighboring farm diverted flooding in their large chicken shed by digging a trench.  A cable was cut.  Our internet died.  I saw some men fiddling with cables on my way home and told Brent.  He went over for a chat and suddenly I heard my phone chirp.  Then the green light of interwebular power breathed again.

Meanwhile, sun is shining and the grass is growing.
DSC_8234

( photo  B. Curtis )

Cows are munching.
DSC_8148

Beef is coming!

I’m Convinced The Internet Drowned In The Gers

20130217-131640.jpg

a race track in Vic

The interwebs are still a no-show for us. The men in hats came around and it no worky somewhere underground. Boo! We’re not exactly sure what the fix is, but it won’t be rapid. I think that through Brent’s pasture improvement methods, water has finally found the means to be absorbed by the earth. An old cable that has not met these moist conditions cannot cope and has drowned. Just a guess.

20130217-131801.jpg
a farmer’s field that has flooded and spilled onto the road

Today is sunny. Tomorrow is sunny again. And then sunny and sunny. It’s glorious to squint and be warmed by the sun.

20130217-132000.jpg

We sit back and watch the grass grow hoping my shattered iPhone doesn’t take another tumble or we will truly be off the grid, unplugged from the matrix.

20130217-132100.jpg
kids after their picnic, climbing on the wood pile

Perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

20130217-133558.jpg
watch the grass grow

Our Whacky Sit-Com Neighbor Has Found His Wings

20130215-211944.jpg

… And he ( and hims ) shall take flight. Off to Australia. Back home, though this time, he brings a Swede. The malamute follows as well. A new adventure. Let’s just say this out loud to remind him: Dude, where’s the book? I’ve been waiting and waiting for CrappyBook Number 1. “Knitting In France” or “Farmer Spotting, How To Update Facebook and Increase Your Likes.” or his children’s book beginnings, “Cows Moo, Children Bother, Munson Poo, Ha Ha Ha” and “Willy Nilly Jennifer Tilly.” Or perhaps his self help series, “Help, Some Lady Just Handed Me Her Baby and Doesn’t Know The Cellphone Number of the Phone Her Husband is Carrying That Needs To Be Called Because The Cows Are Out and Other Ways To Empower The Power Within. ”

Off they go and we will miss them. This farm, like any farm, is not our
venture absolutely. It is a life unto itself and as such, it takes in life and grows stronger. It takes the life and love that goes in and produces food for the people, the wild ducks, the worms, the cows, the cats, the mice, the fungus that links the grass, the clover and so on and so forth. These boys have done their bit. The farm marches on. Farewell friends.

If The Internet Suddenly Went Away For A Few Days, Would It Make A Sound?

20130213-135217.jpg

This has never happened in the few years we’ve been here, but the Internet has left the building. It’s gone, gone like sunshine before the month of may. I noticed its absence, but haven’t missed it much because I’m forty with four, young children, a herd a cattle, a farm to help run and lots of set-up or pick-up work to get done. The Internet has always been by my side while I do and not do my work. When it’s no longer there, I’m not upset or grumpy or wanky-righteous ( UGWR, Myers-Briggs rating ). I’m alone. I’m all by myself here in France with my family. Our farm. Our crazy renters in the villa. And our cows. And my cowboy. The cats. Tosca. The chickens. Okay, so not so alone, but the work I do continues, like always, and you don’t know about it. Though you could should you pop over for a chat and some beef. Mr. Green is on, a glass of wine poured, book open, actually what’s this “Internet” you speak of? Now if we can guess the next few days of weather, we can work out our work plan. The Internet is great and all, but when it’s gone, wake up, look around and say “hey-yeah” to the real people directly around you. Despite what the interwebs say, this – these people around you – is called your ” community.” You might learn something. Or you might learn nothing. Or you might learn that you may or may not want to be living directly near your neighbors should the interwebs partir.

Our cellphone coverage is poor, so I’m standing in the middle of this field. It’s gorgeous and yes, it’s making sounds.

20130213-135429.jpg

The worms are munching, the water is being absorbed, the crazy renters are gardening, the chainsaw in the distance is zibbing, the giant flock of birds are zigging, the camion is zagging ( must be the wine with lunch ), the geese are squawking and that gunshot? Yeah, I don’t know what that was. Things are right in our part of France. Though my fingers are now too cold to register taps on my broken iPhone. Good day to you all in cyberland!

Saturday Night, Mr. Green A-Go-Go

20130209-155237.jpg

When you farm or live on a farm or live remotely, you need to make excuses to dress nice. Why? Because it’s fun. No big whoop. No fuss. Let’s take a minute to chill and reflect on the events in the week. What’s our next move? How can we do that better? What’s that sillyness playing on Pick of The Pops? Mr. Green gets hot on Saturday. Other days as well, but unlike Fremont ( our warm room ), Mr. Green shines bright like a diamond when the feeling’s right.

Cheers to you. Stand tall. Look perty.

The Girls Get Fresh Hay

IMG_2795

 

It’s the least I can do what with my little two-year-old-ball-and-chain.  The little heifers need their fresh hay and I unlock and re-lock the barrieres.  Go me!  Not a difficult task, but I love being with the heifers making sure they are well loved and cared for.

IMG_2791

 

Brent does the second gate because generally I have a two-year-old on my hip.  But today, two-year-old napped.  ( yeah! ) so I kept the hungry bovines away while Brent took the hay net off.  Then I closed up after the tractor.  I suspect Zélie would be all over this routine, but I’m a crazy mom who keeps my girl safe at all costs.  We have a neighbor who is eighty or so now, but when he was young, four, he would sleep in the fields with the cows to keep warm and make sure they didn’t escape.  I can’t imagine asking Minty ( five ) doing something similar, but then maybe I’m a product of an ‘X’ generation.

 

IMG_2826

 

And this is hay.  Gorgeous, lovely smelling hay ( scratch-n-sniff ) that we’d done ourself.  This roll is for the boys who narrowly escaped castration today.  But don’t worry, we’ll be back.  They are loving this hay.  They eat and eat quickly and efficiently.  Sometimes it takes three tries to get things done in France.  First, it was too rainy.  Second, it was too muddy.  Third?  we will have all that is needed to bring tasty steer to you.  Then they will be back out to the fields of Laspeyreres eating grass and Lucerne.

IMG_2831

IMG_2808

La Petit Pere Noel

20130207-143235.jpg

With all the rain, we are happy grass farmers. With all the rain we are a bit muddy in the courtyard. With all the rain Zee and I work on indoor projects. So when it’s not all that rainy, we go out and collect dog bones. Or avoid muddy puddles. Or go directly to muddy puddles, but quickly get carried away by mommy who does the laundry and doesn’t have a tumble dryer so little, warm clothes take ages to dry and would prefer to get at least two days out of those jeans please.

20130207-144118.jpg

Zee loves to wear everything but her own clothes. She loves romping around in Minty’s puffy coat. She pulled this act during Lucy’s fencing tournament while the rest of the French crowd referred to her as “le petit Pere Noel.”. That’s “little Santa” to you and me.

20130207-144234.jpg

While it’s chilly, bright and sunny today, tomorrow brings rain and gray. I can’t wait to see what Spring will be like.