A Day Of Grab Some and Build Shcrap

We had an end of the school year fiesta last night. A late night mixed with a visiting sore throat led to a very lazy Saturday. I love and hate lazy days. It’s nice to step away and watch movies or do sedentary things, but the truth marches on. People still get hungry. People still dirty dishes. People still dirty laundry. Any break away from this builds your future. Your future laundry, your future meals and your future dish doing duties. I prefer to keep on top of this stuff as much as possible. So if I’m sick, I try to be as little sick as possible.

I did manage to sneak in the ever viral game of grab a pile of Lego and Build Shit. Each piece must be accounted for. Even if Daddy’s Knex car snuck into the mix … you must account and credit each piece. It’s a lovely game that does two things:

1) cleans up a horribly messy Lego box. Ridding it of substandard non-lego, toys and fluff. I see you eyeing that ball-n-socket plastic fun. Non-lego, I know. As is the flag. And the rubber Ikea piece, yep. The purple stencil Kinder Egg part. Look, okay, stop. We’re on it.

2) challenges each player to create things with their handful without simply selling out to a robot-gun-machine … yeah, we’ve been there and done that. Come up with something new, dude.


Lucy braided her hair and then unbraided it. A straight-haired girl with new found curls elicits squeals that narrate how others will welcome her new-found curly hair with novelty and surprise ( say “sur-preeze” ).

It’s also DateNightTM. Lucy has picked out my outfit, but I’m still recovering from the outfit last night. We shall see. I shant let date night pass without looking nice, even if it’s in my nice jammies.

Z watches T-Tubbies because I’m an inadequate parent and I need her sit still for a moment while I play Grab Some and Build Shcrap. I know. TV is bad, m’Kay. But she had fun and shockingly, so did our crazy barn cat. When GrayCute chased Naughty Noo-Noo on the screen I thought, ” well, this can’t be all bad.”

Each Day Feels Like Two Days

DSC_9317Zélie, she sits.

DSC_9333 Lucy talks with Grandma.

DSC_9320 Otto and Minty giggle and run.

DSC_9295Brent lifts our neighbor in the tractopelle.

DSC_9281That green shutter that blew off in the Gascon wind has been brought down.

DSC_9307Brent moves a bag of feed for the chooks.

At the end of the day, Brent and I reflect or fall asleep. Sometimes a bit of both. We’ll think, “oh yeah, we got that done. cool.” Then we realize that happened today. But it felt like yesterday. The days are packed. The days are long.  The sun is shining so all is right.

You Must Appreciate The Chillaxin’ Cow

Brent is away and I don’t worry, no I don’t, but when Brent is away, it’s nice that the cows are all snugged up.  They’ve been in full munch mode since he moved them for the second time today.  They love lucerne with fun-loving grass mix.  They stand still and munch and munch and munch then sit.  They are sitting now.  Such a process this munching works that the cows seem repeatably photoshopped.


Tree cow  tree cow rest rest.  Tree cow tree cow rest rest.  And so on and so forth.

Oh Candyland. My Candyland.


I’ve always hated the game Candyland. Now that I’m over forty, have young children, provide quality food for the community, laugh and giggle at all my husband’s jokes, I feel I can say this out loud. I’ve played this candy family game with two-year-old Lucy with excruciating pain and much squinting. The game begins with your choice. “Hey, Lucy! What color do you want to be????” then unfolds into a submissive fromagerie raclette of luck-filled card draw. Your fate dictated by the cards. You influence nothing. The first rule of Candyland, is there is no strategy in Candyland. As we have six mouths to feed ( plus dog and cats and chooks and bovines and pasture ), I find myself in the kitchen quite a bit. I enjoy this time. As I cook, the kids come in with whiteboard markers and ideas. I slapped a wallpaper white board on the fridge for reasons I don’t even remember. This has been used in ways I had not imagined. I wish I had rolled out a bigger slice of that roll. At dinner time, we do our fair share of tic-tac-doh! And “draw this shape I will describe for you.” I’m a poker man myself, but I do enjoy a pen and paper game. We also do a lot of Hangman. Minty, the third child, has created “Packman” which is a heck of a lot similar to “Hangman,” but for her ever changing rules and the ever continuous dialog: She: “let’s play Packman” Me:”Hangman?” She:”oh yeah! Hangman. I always remember.” She’s the third child, they do that the third childs. So sweet, yet so cheeky. You know who you are ThirdChildtm. I’m on to you.

Thankfully, I’m not alone. I grabbed a sedentary moment where I should be updating accounts, managing customer lists, writing a lovely letter to my mother, but instead I’m hanging on to the last breathing hours of google reader, I clicked on a McSweeney’s list that reminded me of my ick on Candyland. And he, Eric Stoveken, summed it up well.

Because, if Mommy is tired enough, you can win in just two turns.

It’s Still Raining. Chickens Hate The Rain.


The chickens hang out undercover when the wet drippy bits fall down. They poop their too. Then they get bored and scratch around in search of yummy chicken vittles. Here we are in June. The solstice imminent and there’s a strange Seattle feeling in the air. Though, I’m not complaining. The cows are amazing. Brent’s management has been keeping our grass vs mud in order. There has been very little damage. There has been very much grass growth.

Kevin has agrandit his peep of babes. He has a new coop that was constructed by our friendly neighbors which is totally amazing and he has settled in quite nicely. My basil and persil and coriander can now stop quivering. My tomatoes can finally grow and supply the family with great salsa for future Meh-hee-cana yum to come.

The three black hens were moved in with thirty others and three chicks. The white lady is still running around the farm as she prefers to roost in the trees. Someday or never we’ll get her merged. Our rogue white chicken lays her one egg a day, carry’s on with her life, doesn’t miss her daily “visit” from Kevin … I think we’ll call her Stella. Kevin is also processing his dream come true. We ( okay, I ) often giggle at the anthropomorphic letter Kevin wrote to his cousin about the amazing day he had.

“Dear Phil, you will never believe what happened. There I was, snuggled in for the night when I was gently grabbed, carried upside-down across the courtyard, fluffed and manicured only to be checked in to a henderland paradise hotel from heaven. Thirty available chicks, Phil. All clucky and well adjusted. They’re French. They worship me, Phil, worship. Longer letter later. Too busy. K.I.T.

Yours, -Kev”

Cadeau Mignon


We had lunch with some friends this afternoon. I love lunching with friends, but don’t picture us lounging and laughing, sipping wine without a care in the world. Our lovely, baby girl makes you keep it real. Despite her two-year-old-ness, she did okay. She didn’t break anything in the lovely Chateau. She didn’t act completely rude. She ran around in a tolerable way. She didn’t crap in her pants. Success.

Our friends served a lovely lunch which we thoroughly enjoyed. I love the French pace of lunch. I tried so hard to replicate it in America with huge resistance. A two hour lunch is slacking. Wine with lunch gets you stares and eyebrows. No time for dessert ( and just forget cheese ). Coffee is acceptable. Serve it in a paper cup to-go with a sippy cup lid and keep moving. Keep on moving. Why are you sitting there? Where’s your laptop? Why aren’t you working? Blah!

After lunch, Brent did a pasture walk with our farmer friend and looked at the cows. As they went through the barn, our friend offered some bikes for the kids. One was this mini racer bike. SO CUTE! I’ve never seen a racer so cute and tiny. I know French people can trend short, but I think this little guy is actually built for a child. Le Tour approaches … Our best bet with this bike is Z. She has the best power to weight ratio.

Bonne Fête des Pères

farmer brent
I’m not one for Hallmark holidays, but giving a shout-out to the Pères out there are words worth writing.  I can’t imagine it being easy to be a father.  When you run a beef farm, fatherness becomes even fatherier.  So many creatures seeking your attention.  That doesn’t include the wife.

So much responsibility.




So much work






So many things to carry




So many things to cuddle




So many jammies


So much rain


So many girls




One special boy


So much fun



Happy Father’s Day to all you men with such an important job to do. Keep on keeping on, Daddy-o.

Hay! Hey! Hay!

DSC_9168Hey neighbor! Thanks for helping us out!


DSC_9163Hey!  Look!  Laundry that gets all dry in less than two days!


DSC_9171Hay! Raked by Brent and Lulu.


DSC_9187Hey! Our yuppie outdoor chair captures a moment out of the door!


IMG_3596Hay! is a tricky process to dress for.  Lulu will tell you how to fit your out when raking the hay.


IMG_3593Hey!  Tosca is fed up with summer and patiently awaits autumn.  Crazy Retriever.


IMG_3583Hay is fun!  Hay means sun!  Hey my girls are cute!


The Sun Is On


And the hay season begins. There is a lot of tractorage about the commune. Brent has been cutting, fluffing and now raking before a light rain that is coming soon.

Minty opened all the windows. Z is … crap … where is she! Gotta run !!

End Of The Year Basket Meeting and All I Remember Is The Cork of Love

IMG_3566 Otto’s basketball season is coming to an end. We sat through two hours of me listening to the season recap and the season future and the Otto chaque minute when-is-this-done ping to fall upon French Punch, peanuts and gossip. The Mayor will tell you, ” attention, le punch.” But with the “poonch,” a great evening of patient locals chatting to me about things I need to know unfolded. The basketball information was absorbed so we could all move on to laughter and food. After my third plate of vittles ( that was after munching on apero nibbles ), I sipped some 2006 Bordeaux and was curious about the “love corks.” After a few “I don’t know”s, one gal said it was a recycling campaign that somehow collected bottle tops and donated to the handicapped. And all I could see was love corks. I asked my neighboring diner if he had any love corks to donate. He grabbed his belly and said “I ate my love corks” or “my belly is a love cork” or “you crazy American, why don’t you speak better French.” After a few plates of cheese and dessert, coffee and a sip of Armagnac, I left with great motivation to improve my French and a new fascination with love plugs. Oh and the basketball team did very well this year.