Pat Something


Day mumble in vacationville, it’s time for a moment of calm. They all talk to me at the same time with very important demands, all priority one. The Little Book says to “pat something.” Thankfully, we have plenty of that.

bull after yummy bucket


Pat Something

Share your life with a pet – being generous with your affection to it – and you’ll have an appreciative assistant in your efforts to become calm.



Not all of the animals are pets, but everyone has their role and they are treated generously.

Lots of fluff.

Gray's Stump


Lots of fluff.



Lots of calm.



Have you pat a something today?


The Inadequate Parent: Spring Vacation Edition



The kids are out of school running around the farm enjoying their Spring vacation.  We love it when the kids run around the farm and enjoy their life away from school, sport and anything organized.  Left without anything particular to do, they greet boredom with a huge list of things that would never crop up during their usual school day.  Our day has a basic Maslow’s structure with food, shelter, cleanliness and silly, happy rituals ( e.g. watching the Professionals after 8pm ), but the rest of the day is totally unplanned.

Four Young Children: I’m bored!

Inadequate Parent:  Go away and come back for dinner.

Otto: Mom, I’m holding a Decathlon.  I need some prizes.

With this, they invent.  Today, Otto has declared, is “Happy Complete Peanuts Day!”  He has been reading the “Complete Peanuts” series ( he goes quite quick with those books ).  So today, April 29th, we all had to dress up as a Peanuts character.  I was Peggy Jean ( extra points if you know the name of Peggy Jean’s boyfriend ).  As Peggy Jean, I turned away our dude-looking-for-metal visit.  Always turn away dudes looking for metal.  I stayed in character and did not smile.


Otto also held a decathlon.  He did five events today, with prizes.  Tomorrow he will do the remaining five events.  I tried to sneak “clean and mow the yard” into the events, but he knocked it down hard.  They threw the javelin.  They chucked the shot put.  They ran.  They jumped. They clapped and cheered for each other ( required ).  As the inadequate parent, I had nothing to do with this.  I was busy setting up our next beef sale, supporting my farmer man, making dinner, cleaning up, washing up, it really goes on and on.  I’m here to unblock their ideas.  I tied some shoes, I bought some chocolate prizes, Brent bought the track-and-field equipment awhile ago, we have a field.  It’s all there.  The only limitation is themselves.



peanuts day

Aaaah, A Good Scratch.



The cows came to the yards yesterday.  Each time they come up, they walk to the barriers made of telegraph poles and have a good scratch.  I think they look forward to it.

They especially love the weakest of the barriers.  This is the one reinforced by our digger.  After the cowfuffle yesterday, we thought the digger was nice enough to keep everything standing.  Thanks digger!



They really get into it.  Eyes closed, taking turns, it’s like a like mini-spa exfoliation treatment.  Where are those Aveda cow products?



Oh they’ll stop for some freshly picked grass, but then continue as Brent does some sorting.



Oh yeah, just there.  Take your time, Brent.


What A Cow!

We like to keep one herd to rule them all.  Occasionally, we have to pull a cow or two out for a bit and then put her back in.  When a cow is put back with the herd, there is a huge kerfuffle while the other bovines sort out where she lies in the hierarchy.  This does not happen with the boys.  It’s a girl thing.



Cow left is joining and cow right is already challenging her.  They look like two cows to you, but to me I see a duel.  En guarde. Prêt. Allez!




It’s on.   This is where I review my concrete recipe and hope the barriers hold. … they did.  Though, there was some wobble with the old barrier built back in the day with stiff-stuff and telegraph poles.  I think that project has bumped up in priority.



After a push, a shove and a hit with the horns, the new cow loses.  She is then paraded around the herd with her rank advertised.


This time, two cows pushed her along.  Facebook pages are updated, tweets are tweeted and the new cow falls inline with the herd defending her position.

A Little Piece of Americana



( photo by Laura Campbell )

I see my sister’s photos through some Apple sharing deal. Her beautiful kids, her gorgeous grandchildren, Easter fun and happy times are the typical roll I view. But when I went to see the latest snapshots, I came across a wiener. A wiener taller than my sister, who is tall. A wiener with a little tongue sticking out pouring ketchup on his big wiener head in a weird wiener way with an arresting wiener smirk and a squirty tube of mustard primed for who knows what. America has a large amount of large roadside attractions ( giant dinosaur, giant pineapple, giant Paul Bunyan … it goes on and on ), so I wasn’t shocked by the silly wiener so much as the name of the wiener stand.

I’m not sure if the schlong tale of the Bobbitt’s made it around Europe, but to name a hotdog stand “Bob’s Wiener” catch phrase “Bob*It TONIGHT” was truly amazing.  Evidently, they make a mean hand-dipped corn dog.  This, you can visit in Oregon.  And don’t forget to drink Coca-Cola!


( photo by Laura Campbell )


Let’s Go Fly A Kite!




It’s been a long time since I flew a kite.  Kites are much more complicated now.



Otto lays it out and runs to the controls.  Minty holds the kite up to catch some wind.



Lumi runs after the thing-on-a-string and joyfully retrieves it.  Otto screams.  Minty laughs.  Rinse and reapeat.

Cows Eat Grass and Stuff In Co2



This lush is Colorado Two, which we refer to as CO2.  This paddock is adjacent to Colorado and is similar in soil thus the name, Colorado Two == CO2.   Every time these bovine beauties go munching in CO2, it pisses down rain.  CO2 had regrown amazingly well given the hefty push from the herd and the heavy rain.  Now, they munch and munch.  I loves me some happy cows.

The Magic Of The Black Glide Rocker

The black glide rocker sounds off that someone is going down.  A nap is near.  It is nudged by a little Top Clip music video after lunch.  Maybe some Professionals after dinner.  Or maybe a little jet-lag.  When the lever is pulled to ease the seat back, it does this “screech” sound.  Then, we know to keep quiet.



I LOVE modern furniture.  I don’t know why, but I love the style, the craftsmanship, the quality and the quirky yet semi-comfortable design.  Back in the Y-day, we collected some nice pieces.  As we were adding some chairs to our house in Seattle, Brent and I went to some sort of “oak barn” warehouse.  There, Brent spotted some glide rockers.  For me, the glide rocker is the “Croc” of furniture.  Ugly, gaudy, big and comfortable.  I absolutely hated it.  Brent, however, saw something.  He selected “Captain Kirk,” a poofy, cream colored, over-stuffed chair that rocked.  Okay, you go for it.  Knock yourself out.  BUT WAIT, if you have a chair that rocks, I will most certainly have rock envy, so we bought another, a black one with some glossy bent plywood deal.  A gateway to oakbarn furniture for those obsessed with their modern, overpriced cousins.  The glide rockers Rocked!  When we moved to France, we left Captain Kirk in Seattle and took the black one without a name.  And oh we miss the Captain.  Though, the black glide rocker without a name has supported our family in so many ways.


Like this guy photobombed by my daughter.




And this guy, cuddled by my other daughter.



And these guys, captured by hot chocolate ( with a dash of Armagnac )



And this dude, after a day of rugby.



And this lady, surrendering after a three day festival of Easter chocolate.



And this Nana, keeping up with her grandchildren.



And this farmer, keeping the siamese warm ( a full-time job ).



And this lady, who snoozes two minutes after dinner.  She’s not a night owl.




The black chair without a name has earned its keep and therefore a name.  How about Black Chair Without A Name. Or Sleepy-Bobo.  This chair certainly has the touch.

Les Peeps Non!


Lucy painted her nails like little chicks. For me, they were little Peeps. Sadly, they don’t sell Peeps here in France. It’s a durn shame. For those not familiar with a Peep, it is a marshmallow treat specifically for Easter. Specifically for America. It comes in the shape of a little chick. Coated in sugar crystals dunked in yellow dye number 2 ( I presume ), the peep is an Easter staple.  The peep of Peeps have branched out to other colors and non-Peep shapes.  Zèlie has the pink version.

My children have no idea what a Peep is and that is sad.  Though, they are learning other traditions, like the giant chocolate egg with a surprise inside.  That is always a winner.  Whatever the vehicle, the kids enjoy Easter with many treats and egg hunts.





It’s just a shame they can’t gather ’round for the annual Peep jousting.  I’m sure we’ll find a French equivalent.


I can’t find a great Peep jousting video, but this will give you the idea …


American Pancakes

Girl On Grill Action


It is necessary to provide the flavor of the American Pancake to our children.  They are American after all and we live in France.  Fluffy, bready, num-num covered in fake maple syrup is not common in the Gers.  So, we do our little part to keep on keeping on.

It all started when I saw Aunt Jemima winking at me.  When did Aunt Jemima arrive in France?  I’m like, “yeah!  my kids have no idea what this tastes like!”  and then I’m like, “I’ll bet in French they pronounce “Aunt Jemima” like “Aunt Jemima”  we need to act.


For the first time ever, I managed to get the baking powder right.  In America we have “double acting baking powder.”  Here you have “Levure Chimique.”  I’ve flattened most things on most occasions.  They sell baking powder in packets here in France.  So with this guy, I chucked in one packet per egg…

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