Ye Olde Yuppie Cup

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Our hard water has done in another drip coffee pot. The Rowenta. She didn’t even get a name. But, girl, did she brew a nice cup. I’ve moved back to stove top coffee. After much trial-and-error, I’ve found the perfect cup for me. Even better is its price! My trusty white label Carrefour Discount totally failed. This coffee house black gold comes from a mass produced brand called Legal. The penultimate shelf on your way to the bottom, in the “expresso” section, you’ll find Le Cafe Bistrot Expresso by Legal. It’s pre-ground. Brew that up on the stove, froth your lait with a whisk in a pan and you will find yourself sitting in a Seattle cafe somewhere bitching about the weather.

To really stick the boot in, I like to dust off the Cafe Vivace cups of our Yuppie Years tm and serve suboptimal espresso after lunch.

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Tosca could care less about the coffee problem solved and instead cools in the shade. We’ve had at least fours hours of warm after five months of cold. She acts like it’s a drought.

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Our Front Porch View

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I wasn’t asked about our front porch view.  We don’t have a front porch, but we do have a front door.  And above is what you would see a few weeks ago right before the hay was cut.  The colza is in bloom and things seem all Spring like.  Though this year is more Winter-like than Spring.  I suspect trouble ahead as the grain farmers are finding it difficult to plant the sunflower and corn seed with all this wet.

DSC_1347Last year, we did our hay, but were still working out how to bring the hay off the paddock in time for new growth.  The alfalfa grew so quickly last year, Brent had to get out there super fast with the tractor to move the hay to allow the new growth to take hold. There were still vines on the farm.

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Above you see our world without vineyards.  Brent seeded the ex-vineyards with a hearty grass ( meadow fescue ) and alfalfa mix. Also included was some crimson clover, which is gorgeous and inspires that part of your brain to hum.

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When it rains, it pours.  Especially when Brent is nudging the cows.

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And this is “Colorado” and me.  Even in the remote Gascon prairies, if there is a camera pointed at you, you must take the ten pounds off with a little Hollywood bendy elbow and knee action.  Still working off the baby weight here.  This is me doing a fourth plunge down a hundred pound weight gain.  I’ve lost a hundred pounds four times and I could go on and on about it, but I don’t.  More importantly, you can see me, talking to Brent – as I do – via the Talkie Walkie with a baby on my hip.  This is my uniform.  Though lately, I’m wearing wool because it’s VERY COLD!!!!

 
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Here is the same paddock, Colorado, with the girls waiting patiently for Brent to roll out the hay already!  They are rustic cows and have no problems with snow.  After Brent rolls out the hay and lets the girls through, they often head for the grass under the snow.

 

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Another shot of Colorado the day the vineyards died.  Bye – Bye MIss Gasconian Vine.

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After the vineyards were gonzo, We worked on building the soil up with fertility and seed and large helicopters carrying guns. That large brown in the foreground grew very, very well and was just grazed and well received. The girls are not picky, but they are a bit spoiled.

 

 

 

French Army Knife

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I love the little treasures we  find on this old Gascon farm.  One minute it’s an old wagon circa WWII a fellow far-neighbor carts away without consent.  Another time it’s a siphon of some Armagnac- 1975 –  the neighbors or friends know habits here ( again without consent )… the Armagnac is gone now so go away.  We are through that “without consent” phase and now when we find things, we can enjoy what it was.  We can enjoy what it is.  If you are an old Gascon farmer, you speak French with percussive Spanish sounds.  This French is fading fast.  You will never hear old Gascon French ever again.  If only I could get out there with my recorder and capture this lovely language.

You Gascon Farmers carry a knife much like the one above.  You cut your bread or Brie with the blade and you open your wine with the screw.  Though, much of the wine in these parts come directly from the barrel, no cork and therefore no tire-bouchon required.  But you must always be prepared.  Especially if you’re a French soldier.  I can’t imagine the Gondrin army being very huge.

This beauty is a bit rusty and in need of a clean.  I thought I’d signal with my birthday truffle to seal the deal.  The knife seems to work well, we’ll ask the locals to see what this Gondrin knife stuff was all about.

The Grand Winter

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Well, it is cold here in the hot, sunny part of the Gers. The wind is blowing. The cold is colding. The rain is collecting. At the post office today, they said it was the “grand winter.” The sun shines but as toot as it is sweet, it ducks behind some serious storm clouds. And brrrrrrs or blows cold to us poor Gascon farmers that quickly chop more wood for the evening meal.

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Minty braved the brrr and did a round on her bike in glasses. The glasses may have helped deflect any chill blown her way.

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Z was cold. Though, nothing – cold nor rain nor snow – will prevent miss z from biking around like a dork in the cold. She has a bar to set and maintain. She’s cute, she plays outside in the cold. She is a fource to be reckoned with.

Our Back Porch View

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I was asked, well not me exactly, but those who follow along with  Celilia’s Farmy, to show viewers at home what we see from our back porch.  The Gascon farmhouses don’t porch much.  But they do have a rear window.  I’ve looked out  through this window many times.  When we bought the farm, this rear window had its shutters closed and the window was not included with purchase.  We were missing quite a few windows which made our late September move exhilarating as we ran around in wool, fleece, scarves and jackets ( did I mention I was eight months pregnant? ) trying to mind all the gaps before winter set in. The view above is what “Nebraska” and “Yukon” look like right now.  I took this photo with my food lens because Miss C said, “take a photo.”  I do what she says.  She’s a New Zealander.   Despite making the best Cadbury chocolate bar in the world ( it’s the milk ), you need to keep an eye on them.  They’re cheeky.  There were some very moo-y cow noisings out there when I opened the window, thankfully not ours.  Our fatties are munching away in the front.  They’re full at the moment; we have a lot of grass.

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Above is the soon-to-be-repaired roof we look over to check out our backyard. We are grass farmers, no rooftop or tractor is spared.

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Brent put a lot of work in getting these two paddocks ready for cows.  Below he was mowing the old corn field ( we call it “Nebraska” ) a year after its very last harvest.  He let it grow over the months. He was doing a choppy mow of the grass and weeds that grew to put some fertility back into the soil.  He did all sorts of other passes on this paddock, but that is a post for grasspunk.  The brown in the background is Yukon.  Another monocrop field that was très fatigué.

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Another look through our rear window porch and you see that Yukon is getting greener.  After some serious perimeter chopping involving blackberry hackers and chainsaws, we finally pushed in posts with help from a friend for the girls to see what all this Yukon is about.

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Nebraska got greener and my veggie garden awaited garlic and shallots.  And with this bundle of lovely two-year-old joy, garlic and shallots is about where I stopped.  Next year, dam* it, this veggie bidness is on!

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At last, for the first time EVER, cows meet grass meet soil.  Cow poo has never been so welcome.  This cornfield has completely turned around.  There are still spots of monocropping casualties, but the rest is looking lush and ready for a third graze.  Munching cows makes our back porch view a happy place.

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Last year, while waiting for the Lucerne ( alfalfa ) to grow, a few sunflowers snuck in.  Minty took care of those.

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This is our back porch view to the left.

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And this is the back porch view to our right.

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It’s quiet here in the Gers.  A beautiful place to write about what you see from your back porch.

This Is Now

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And now the first cut of hay is done.  Though it wasn’t without a bit of elfin weather magic to make it happen.  Brent managed to cut, fluff and bale with a close eye on the weather.  We are running out of cute idioms.  “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.”  “April showers bring May flowers.”  “May buckets and we say …”  “Make hay while the sun shines, but be quick because I see a dark rain cloud on the horizon.” All this rain reminds me of Spring ( Summer, Autumn and Winter ) in Seattle.  But, this is the way it goes when you farm land.  You get very involved with weather.  It’s not a matter of “gee, do I wear a sweater and light the fire.”  It’s a matter of where do the cows graze.  Brent has some great food to graze that was seeded last Spring, but it’s too wet to run them through.  We did a change of plans and moved the girls and babies and Gremlin the bull to permanent pasture that can take the wear-and-tear of hoof to munch action in this rainy, rainy season. Did I mention that it is Mid-May? I’m wearing wool!

Meanwhile, we entertained guests ( Hi Nana!! ).
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Delivered beef to customers.  Bob appetite!

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And began work on “California” the ex-vineyard-turn-cowfood paddock.  Brent and new man about the farm brought in an OOOOooooooold seeder from the edge of the newest paddock to be fenced.  It still works!!!!  The little spinning dealios were happily spreading acorn smoodge and ant’s nest meal as they brought it up to the courtyard to rest in peace like an old seeder in a courtyard.
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This is our hallway right before little bucket-O-love goes down for a long evening snooze. A picture painted by a friend hangs. An Ikea light fitting luninates. An old Gascon wire with light bulb dangles.

It’s still light out as we approach ten in the evening. This is now the time to wish for warm weather and enjoy the quiet.

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