Tonight, I watched the sunset. I know people who can take a photo of a sunset. I am not that person. I can never get the color right. The sound is missing. The nervous excitement never comes across as I watch the sunset, then the brown dots in their rectangle, then pasture as planned by Brent, then more flaming clouds, then brown dots, then a beautiful gold or is it red or is it now purple. The photo of each sunset needs more than a thousand words to convey its beauty. If you try, you can see a gorgeous sunset every day-to-night. That sun does that sunset thing all the time. Even through Seattle gray, you know it’s somewhere, west, setting. Each sunset is a unique and special snowflake. I miss them so often because I can’t be bothered or I’m bothered. Tonight, though, I caught it because the pizza was served and the kids were happy and stationary. So I slipped out. I’ll simply say without photographic proof, ” I saw the sun set tonight. It was pretty.”
I love French books for children. So many times I’ve read what seems to be a typical story involving balloons, elephants and magic that suddenly meet up with a friendly alligator. Things seem to progress smoothly approaching a Hollywood end, until someone inevitably ends up in the other someone’s tummy. Lights off. Time for bed. You dream about that, girls. Nighty night!
During our evening goûter, homework, play outside, yell, bath, no bed, yes bed routine, Otto read a bit of his home reading to me. I listened mostly. Thinking about cows and farm and yummy beef and being more farmer less mom, I nodded at the right moments. After, I asked him to translate. He said the title, “News of a cat assassin.” “Assassin?” I woke up, “Assassin? Did you read that correctly?” He did. I was intrigued. A cat kills mice and birds and the rest ( … really, I think I need to use this book to improve my very not so good French ). Then he, the cat, blogs about it. Crazy chat. I suppose I should follow up with a book report, but for now, I’ll work on a new musical Feline Bourne Trilogy with tunes inspired by Leo Sayer.
Brent went on a farm visit today. The cows have been so well behaved, but I’m always suspicious. We still have Gascon fencing about which can fail quickly when one of our girls gets a bit munchy tasting the greener grass. All the kids had a full day of school. I was home working steady. After a great lunch with the neighbors, I went back full steam to continue with Project Tidy. Then, the mopes set in. Too quiet. Too much to do. Overwhelmed. Are the cows in? Tosca, you need a bath. I want a puppy.
You see a boring photo with cows and dry grass and trees and vines. I see brown dots in a specific rectangle. They are still, which means they munch. The two little black dots in the above shot moved away from the dodgy internal fence and have joined the herd.
Two kids are sleeping. The other two are super tired. Come home soon, Brent! Your steak is waiting 🙂
Chicken butt! A joke that made me giggle the day away with my bestest friend ever as I teened in Southern California. In a world without texting, I was fifteen. I had to talk with my friends directly. An asynchronous chicken butt conversation will hold strong with current technology, though, should you want to surpass a < 140 “yuk,” you’ll find a richer, more contagious laugh in person.
Forty-one chooks, five eggs. Thirty-three laying chickens, two eggs. Thirty-three laying chickens, six eggs. WTF?!! [send].
Brent found a gutter that seemed perfect for grain feeding. Those hens can be tough. We started dispersing the grain so everyone had a chance to prendre un repas without getting pecked off. Tossing grain randomly about the run is awesome if you want to feed the chickens and seed your wheat field. Otherwise, I get more out of the grain when it rests on a hard surface like steel, wood, concrete or a random plastic gutter. They seem to love the gutter despite its wobbly presentation.
I patiently, without swearing, moved the temporary easy-to-use fencing to give them some new grass ‘n’ bugs. We’ll see soon how they do. Six eggs thus far. Come on girls! Give me a baker’s dozen! Our neighbor wants to make some mayonnaise!
I have a box labeled “Rainy Day” that I chuck sale item fun into. The idea is that when we get a rainy day, the kids get bored, ask me what to do and I say, “well, lovely children, why don’t you check the Rainy Day box.” Though it usually comes out as, “go away, I’m [cooking/cleaning/helping your father/sitting].” Those cheeky monkeys found the Rainy Day box right as I was secretly building it thus redefining the box as an “Everyday Something New and Fun” box. I stopped adding. They enjoyed it and it was gone.
Today, you see, in the Gers we have rain. It has been a proper rain with puddles and gray and a feeling that the fire needs to be on. Otto pounds down the stairs after some finite form of entertainment claiming that he is bored. “What can I do?!” he mopes.
I suggest ten items of clean and he gives me a huge eyeroll. “Well, darling child of mine, have you checked the Rainy Day box?” that should diffuse his frustration and perhaps he’ll find some distraction along the way. Knowing full well that the last item I saw in Rainy Day was a lid to a clever cardboard box from Ikea, I was spared a few moments from a whining eight-year-old boy. Then he returns with a grumpy pout and two white balloons. “TWO BALLONS!!” he flaps, “THAT’S ALL!!”
“Well, how many things can you do with two balloons?” The challenge was on. A crazy balloon race! Two balloons, a bit of rope, engineered to deflate straight, flopped with giggles. A state of the art Air Machine fluttered his blonde mop. A serious exhale followed by a balloon inhale added more data to understanding how his lungs work. Sounds were squeaked, creatures were made, sisters were whacked.
Tosca relieved her boredom by spontaneously resting on a piece of balloon race rope debris. She’s so crazy, that Tosca. No matter what conditions, each morsel taken care of. You go, old girl!
Yesterday’s confit bits, salad and a tom.
The duck was bought down the road from La Ferme de Roussa. Confit-ed by me with my time, thyme and bay. Salad from our neighbors grown in aged farm soil. The crispest crunch I’ve ever enjoyed. A tomato, red, shines and shimmers saddening all green ones. I ate a super marche tomato the other day and 1) I’m never going back and 2) I see why a tomato is actually a fruit.
I love that when I have no plan for lunch, I can pull out this sort of quality.
I nibbled some not so local Roquefort with some Saint Mont a localish wine. Rounding the corner to finish with some Chocomite ice cream. My newest exploratory ice cream flavor. I make a mean chocolate which I rarely get to taste. Add a dash of Vegemite and suddenly there is some left for me. It’s actually very nice, but I think I’ll dedash it a bit. It’s all about balance. It’s all about flavor. We eat local. We eat loca.
Rentrée. This is French for “back to school.” Only this time they’re all back to school. Little Z with her mom-cut fringe ( because she refuses the hair clip. “NO AIR KIP!!” ), is off with her kitty bag whooping it up at school. No, no, no tears were shed by her. Off she went. “Where is Zélie?” I say as I adjust her coat and bag on the hook. Oh, she’s off in the classroom working out her plan to dominate and conquer. Me? I’m blinking back the tears as my little munchkin spends the day with fun, friends and new learning.
They call it insecure attachment. Though the attachment problem is not with her, it’s me. This house has been filled with Miss Z way back when we first moved in and started this farm. Now, just the two of us. We will make it if we try. Keeping up with all the projects on this farm is fun, hard, challenging, exciting. But first, some lunch. Let’s go out! Oh merde, our lunch place is closed! Back home to eat, plan and get stuff done.
I had visions of courtyard tidy and fence line clean up. I could work on the chicken fence or do some improvements to the pens with Brent. I could give Tosca a long walk around the paddocks. Yet, I did none of those things. We ate some lunch. Sold some beef. I cleaned up a bit. Okay, I was a bit low.
Over lunch, Brent played some incredibly amazing seventies music show from England that I can’t quite name and probably shouldn’t if I could. Let’s say it was aired when “jazz flute” was King. Soon enough Leo Sayer came on. “I know that voice,” I say, “what did he sing?” Then, Brent youtubed up the Leo Sayer songbook. The song that woke the neuron that energized my brain storage for “L_Sayer” triggered upon hearing the first few notes of “When I Need You.” I just closed my eyes.
Suddenly, it was time to collect the children. Our evening song and dance was on. Lucy was yapping. Otto was puzzling. Minty was singing. Zélie was jumping. Happy kids. Happy place.
I never knew there was so much love
Keeping me warm night and day
Z enjoys a fine evening in GrayHat the hat. GrayHat is a fluffy wonder given to baby Lucy by Sarah. She wore it. Minty wore it. Now, Z runs around in it, growling, while chasing Minty. The evening is calm as we wait for fish pie.
GrayHat got its name after a certain fluffball who won the hearts of our children.
I got this phrase from my sister Gladys. When a new month begins, you wake up and say, “rabbits!” I have no idea what this means and without searching the webs, I will leave you with my memory and mystery.
Tosca takes no notice of the new month, but she loves a good pat. Summer casualties build up beside her
in the courtyard.
It really is September. I somehow thought otherwise. The kids go back to school on Tuesday and GrayCute begins working on his winter fluff. He gets so fluffy in winter. We love having the kids run around and get bored and whine and fight and then get bored again. It builds character. The kids invent amazing games. They can’t help themselves. I’ve seen great things happen when kids get bored.
There was a lot of poolage this summer. I did my best to get the kiddies out swimming. Z holds strong to Miss Pink Dinosaur.
I can’t believe it’s September! Rabbits!