Move Today

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Oh yes, they love to scratch.  Especially this time of year as the weather is warm and the fur is long.

The herd is marching down California, the paddock.  Lots of stuff to eat.  Very fat, happy herd.

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I do a lot of video of the moves because, to me, it’s interesting.  So, I started a GrasspunkTube channel.  Full of every-day cow moves and other noises and movements of the farm.  No jokes.  No viral videos.  A few moments of life on a farm in France.  Very quiet except for the birds and the chooks and the cows and the calves.  Occasionally the Golden Retrievers.

We also look back on photos and video to see how the pasture has progressed.  Detroit is the most impressive.

Brent Went To Let The Chooks Out And You Won’t Believe What He Found

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A chicken outside the coop.

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Two steps in, ten chicks popped out.

Here we are tending to four chicks and a hen, when we had no idea a hen was doing just fine with ten little chicks of her own.

It’s the peepy sound of Spring.  Very noisy hen and chicks.

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… I do apologize for the crappy internet-gimmee-clicks title, it seemed right at the time.

A Lot A Lot of Pinks!

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The last few days, Z goes on an egg hunt.  It don’t matter what time.  The chickens usually lay after two.  She insists on collecting the eggs when she so is ready.  9am, 10am … Zam.  She will search and find any ovals on the farm.

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We have many colored eggs.  Green, white, brown, dark brown.  Lately, we’ve had a lot of “pinks.”

Le Temps Est de la Merde

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This weather is shit!

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Only if you are of the ilk that needs sun in Spring.  I love sun in Spring, but our pasture loves the rain and sun in Spring.  I am waist high in grass, waiting for the rain to slow down for a mow.

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The animals are fine with this presentation of weather.  Not too hot, never hungry.  A good place to be as a farm animal.

The chooks have a different story.  Though they love the long days and grass and bugs and worms, they are not so fond of the rain.

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They come in early when it rains.

I checked on the chicks today.  I so love chicks.  Four are out and maybe two more.  Spotty is still keeping hope alive.  She is tending to her hatchlings while sitting on the remaining two eggs.  A few gasps of air and chicks start peeping and walking and demanding attention.  Amazing how quickly they go from yolk to chook.

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Though the weather is shit, I think it’s going to be a great summer.  We should have plenty of food.  Hay making might be tricky, but we don’t use much hay.

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Mr. Little Potato Head has it rough during these times.  Jiggy is giving him a little tour of the farm via his mouth.  This is what you do when it rains a lot.  You find children’s toys, carry them around in your mouth and suddenly everything is going to be okay … if you are a retriever.

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Lots and Lots of Grass

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( photo by Zelie )

With all the rain and sun, the grass is growing rapidly.  I need to get out there and mow, but it’s too wet.  Then the sun shines.  Then it rains.  Then it grows another inch.
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( photo by Zelie )

We are now at the point where I need to strim it down and then mow it.  UG!  I joked with Brent, ” we should have an annual run of the herd in the courtyard. ” Fence the courtyard and let the cows trim the grass for a day. After, I can mow and all will be swell.

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Though we could do that, I don’t think the Golden Shower of Puppies would handle bovine courtyard friends for a day.

The herd is in “the oatfield.”  A field we seeded in oats once and made hay.  Now, we are bringing it back to life with grazing and some rolled out hay.  There was a lot of good stuff this time around.

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Brent rolled out a hay bale to have them work it in the soil and munch.  The herd moved to their new paddock and totally ignored the hay bale.  Except the calves.  They were all cozied up for an afternoon nap in the sun.  They looked thankful that Brent rolled out a little bed for them.

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I Used To Love Bonfires

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But now, I worry about them.  Perhaps too many years in Southern California where brush fires happen every year.  This one seems under control.  But you’ll notice that I don’t have any photos of the bonfire when Brent lit it.  He said it went very high.  He said he had to step back because it was too hot.  I was in the kitchen cooking lunch.

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The kids and friends helped out a bit.  It’s fun to throw stuff on the fire.  Only for a little bit, until it feels like hard work.  That’s when Brent and Zelie kept going.

Lumi was right there working out what everyone was doing.  He gave us that look that says,  ” Why would you throw a perfectly good chew toy in a hot burny thing that I cannot retrieve?! ”  You people are crazy!

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We got the kids back out there to finish the job.  Otto and his friend wanted something to toast ( of course ).  As I am an inadequate parent, I have nothing toasty to toast except meat, potatoes and eggs.  They chose an egg.  Wrapped in foil and on the white ash.  The egg is still out there, they forgot about it.  we’ll see what it looks like after a nice toasting in a hot bonfire.

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Back when the vines were removed, more than seven bonfires were made scattered around the farm.   They were lit at the same time.  I didn’t sleep much that night or the night after ( though Z was a newborn so I didn’t sleep much anyway ).  It all worked out, though,  the cows graze those paddocks often.  Each year, the cows improve the fertility in the old vineyards.  This year especially.

Here is one of the vineyard bonfires.

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Little Farm Of Calm

I love those photographs that portray one thing and actually the experience is quite different.  Here is Brent, calmly resting after a huge day on the sun lounge.  I can count on one finger how many times Brent has rested on the outdoor lounge.  I happened to catch time number two.  Truth be told, we’ve only ever owned a lounge for the sun three weeks ago.
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He looks so peaceful.  You must deduce the smells and noises that he hears laying there.  Resting.  It’s been a big day.

What you don’t see is this.

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Zelie singing and playing just there.  Nonstop.  Thankfully, she’s not singing a song from Frozen.  She jumps and dances to her own tune.

… and the dogs.  Always there.  Wanting a pat and a cuddle.  They were off chasing the “radish” when I snapped the calm lounge.  Soon returning for approval and affection.

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You can’t hear the other three playing a video game.  Trash talking and screaming because someone killed them or their chickens.

He did have a small rest, our farmer, but it wasn’t silent or calm.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Well

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Another French lesson from my children.  I’m not sure how “rock, paper, scissors” came up, but when we started playing, it went like this

Me and kids: Rock, Paper, Scissors

Kids: Well!

Me: Well?

Evidently, there is a well.  And paper beats it.  Covers up the well, you see.

Our well is covered up now.  Safely.  We sleep better now.  I stuck a lego, Johnny Depp lookin’ dude wearing a tuxedo in because when life gives you wet cement, stick shit in!

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We played another game of rock, paper, scissors … well, that went like this

Me and kids: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Well

Zelie: and Shooter! pow pow!

Child Wanders Off And Has a Picnic By Herself

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The kids are still on vacation.  The weather has been rainy and sunny and rainy and sunny.  Z packed her bag and wandered off for a picnic.  I didn’t once think where she might go or how far away.  She’s old enough now to be safe ( okay, I worry still … but not as much ).

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If you measure how far she went and overlay that on our Seattle home, you would be worried.  Kids don’t go places by themselves anymore.  I’m not sure why.  Let’s blame it on the media.

A new vineyard is going up ( the brown bit in the distance ).  It will be nice to have the vines back.  We will never do vines.  Though, I like the presence of vines.  They feel stoic.  Probably because we live in France and France makes wine.  Some would say, “nice wine.”

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She had her picnic and wanted a cheese refill.

If a child prepares a picnic on their own, wanders off and enjoys herself and no one is watching, does she have a good time?

What Is That?

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Zelie asks in excitement.  “That is the ocean,” we say. “Woo! OOo!  Woo! Ooo!” she replies.

We delivered beef in Bordeaux today and made a little side trip.  The kids are on vacation, so it seemed a good time to steal a moment to go somewhere we’ve never been before.  In Zelie’s case, the ocean.  Born and raised in vines, cows, ducks and crops, she’s never seen the ocean.  She ran around like a four-year-old on a beach.

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Lucy has been to the beach many times in many countries.

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Spoiled child.  Yet still, I optimistically believe that we will all play in the sand and not really go in the water.

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“No mom, I’m getting my feet wet” means: “I’m going in and you can’t stop me.”

Water temperature and swimming attire are never an issue.

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The beach was sleepy and lovely.  It reminded me of the beach town where I grew up.  Dedicated surfers working their skill despite the wind and cold.  No one around except the dude with the metal detector and four visitors like us sticking our feet in the water.  A not so busy snack stand selling everything except fish and chips: duck and chips, burger and chips, beef and chips, chicken and chips, steak and chips plus variations on previous meaty bits and chips.

The beach houses were impressive.  They don’t make beach houses like this in Southern California.

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You could access the beach using a staircase.  Most were being worked on.  We finally found one after a long walk.  … conveniently the only working staircase was right next to the snack shack.

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We didn’t do much.  I watched the kids play with the beach.  I was reminded how loud being at the beach can be.

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Another beach house.  They have beach apartments that look a bit familiar, but these houses really stood out for me.

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Zelie made a very, very long track.  Looking beyond, I could just see Tijuana.

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As we walked down the beach, I came across a casualty of play.  A broken green soldier man abandoned on the beach.  Curious where his bottom half might be.  But he seems strong and still ready to fight.

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For lunch we polished off our non-fish and chip dish when I noticed that the shop across the way sold other interesting things.  Paninis, Americains and Chichis!  With chips, no doubt!

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The beach, today, was a lovely treat.

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