Nebraska Chicken

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We have 72 hectares on the farm that turns grass into protein for families.  We named each paddock after a state in America … with the occasional city judging by circumstantial foliage ( see also Detroit, the shittiest paddock that is now the best paddock thanks to mob grazing ).

Nebraska is a north facing paddock that was once a corn field.  When we bought the farm, corn was grown and dried ready for harvest just before Zelie was born.  Funny side note, that big, beast harvester had a flat on the early morn of harvest so we watched as they called the tire changers in.  The harvest wasn’t ours.  It went the way of the renting farmer.

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After the harvest was done, we worked the field with cattle to create better pasture for cattle.

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The herd did a great job.  Also, Brent seeded alfalfa.  Great for drought.  Great for flavor.

As the field transitioned, we caught some random weeds that the kids collected.  That was a fun year for sunflowers.

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Then the pasture started getting serious.  New grasses volunteering amongst the alfalfa.

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Then we decided to run chickens.  Not many feed fresh alfalfa to their chickens.  Too expensive.  … but we have cows, so it worked out.

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And chickens LOVE alfalfa leaves.  When they are first introduced, they go right for the leaves above everything they have available on the buffet.

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Our Nebraska started with a cornfield in France.  Now, it feeds both cows and chickens.  The pasture is so much more resilient because of the work the animals have done.

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Treetop Fun in Southwest France

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I’ve been meaning to take the kids to this park in the forest that has ropes to let you walk between trees.  In French it’s called “accrobranche.”  I didn’t know much about it, so I didn’t know what to expect.  It’s very close to us.  This year, all the kids are old enough to venture out and enjoy some of the things offered in Southwest France aside from the beauty of farm life.

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I was expecting a few trees, a ladder and a rope … maybe a zipline.  As we approached the park, the forest was getting thicker.  So beautiful.  It was a hot day 34 ( 93F ), so spending the day in a shady forest was unexpected joy.  We rented our equipment, got a briefing and off they went.

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There are many levels for all ages.  Z had a 3 – 6 year old section with two complete tree puzzles, giant climbing boat structure and a single zipline to use over and over again.  The others had their choice of routes on three levels.  Each tree path had different types of ways to get the the next tree. Real life video game except instead of using your thumb strength, you were met and sometimes disappointed with your actual, physical skill.

Add to that a beachy lake swim that you can get to via zipline.  Shade, cool drinks and happy kids.  You can also drive and park on the beach side.

I took a photo of Minty zipping across the lake.  Can you spot her?
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The tree puzzles were high up.  There are rules you use to get connected from one crossing to the next.  As it was their first time, the kids were continuously confronting their fears and pressing on.

I was also confronting my fears of my children up so high.

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Z’s crossings were not as high and she had no fear.    She was also meticulous with the way you go about it.  They run a two clip system, so you are always supported with one clip during transition.  With some crossings, you use your own pully.

Prices vary on your age.  The beach is free, but they charge for the slide.

Treetop Park Accrobrance

We had such a great time!  … this sounds like an ad, but really I was surprised that it took me this long to get there!

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This Is Not How You Act In Public

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I took my child … monsters … to the mall yesterday.  All day.  We were preparing for school.

son: what is a mall?
me: this …..
son: oh, covered shops

It was the best of times Supertramp. … as Google dropdrown suggests. They were loud.  They settled arguments.  They didn’t care or know their volume was not appropriate.  Thankfully we ate at a loud restaurant.  I had to remind them, often, that people don’t act like this in public.   We completed our goal of school clothes, but one step less on supplies.  S’okay because fitting four children for school can take some time.  Especially if you have a teen or tween leading the way.

After much success with the boy child, we took a break and ate some lunch at the Potato-ry.  While waiting, we locked in to Rébus.  Pictures making French words.  COOL! … Z didn’t know the game so loudly forced me to ask the waiter in charge to explain the game.  Once we got the gist, we solved the mystery.  Can you?

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Tonight, the kids continue to build Camp Grasspunk Kids.  Otto built a campfire for S’mores.  He learned how to do it safely on the internet.

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Lumi attended to any left marshmallow sticks.  He’s always their to help, our Lumi.

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There are two 3-peeps and one 2-peep in the compound.  We’ve not had our children in our home since early July.  This is how we roll.

The Day That Graycute Died

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Graycute died today.  He was our barn cat. He arrived in a bucket on a Wednesday with three other kittens.  Wednesday is when the kids didn’t go to school.  I’m sure this was planned by our neighbour farmer with stray kittens in the barn looking for homes.  We grabbed a few and carried on.  He lost three lives with us.  First time, we ran over him with the truck.  He was a kitten and we didn’t have kittens-seeking-shade protocol.  He recovered without intervention.  His bones were still soft.  Second, I gave him raw meat that was too big.  His throat was blocked … I scooped it out in time.  Third, I ran over him in the Skoda … silly cat was a car enthusiast.   But, he lived on for many years.  He had his own theme song.  He had a number one hit single “Liver.”

Liver!  Oh! Liver!

So tasty and tender!

I eat it for breakfast and

LUNCH!!

Liver!  Sweet Liver!

Yum Yum Yum it’s Liver!

You eat it for breakfast and

LUNCH!

 

He was a permanent fixture here on the farm.  In the winter, he would warm Brent’s lap in the evening and then cuddle up to Lucy while she slept.

On the way to the vet, he died in Lucy’s arms.  I’m not sure what his cause of death was, but it was too soon.  He was a young cat with many years to carry out his business on the farm.

Though he was just a cat, his quick and sudden death reminds you that you need to enjoy every moment shared.   With anyone.  You never know when they may not be with you even though you think they will always be there.

I am a Graycute

 

 

 

F-ing Calves

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Calving season is never dull.  There is stuff to do when they are born.  There is the making sure mom and calf have bonded … usually good.  Then, there are nutty calves a week old that like to run around and chase each other.  Age appropriate behavior, but GEEZ ….

Today’s move was a bit animated.  The running calves set the herd off a bit.  They settled soon enough.  Though, two silly buggers got stuck in an empty riverbed covered in blackberries.  Brent hopped in and with HIS BARE HANDS started ripping the brush away to get to the calves.  He called for back up.  I showed up with a ski pole and Cindy ( our garden lopper ), he requested a tough, yellow fence post.  He managed to chop his way through, lift the calves to high ground and get them back with the herd.

 

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No photos.  Just didn’t think of it as I was worried about the calves … ah!  and my husband!  But I do have a photo of one of our rump steaks.  I ate it with veg and it was tender and delicious.

 

 

This

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Minty: Wait, what year where you born?
Me: 1972
Minty: 19-something!?
Me: yep
Minty: WOW! 19 hundreds

No, but it’s true. When I hear about someone who lived in the 18-hundreds … I’m like WOW!! Did they have running water? How did they communicate long distances? Pigeons? Two thousand is her game. I grew up without cell-phones. I somehow survived without seat belts and 300 dollar carseats. My Mom’s arm was the only line of defence between a hard stop and that windshield.

We are hitting that moment when vacation is still very real, but school and September is very close.  The light is different.  The smell is different.  We are preparing for fall.  Brent’s “shut the chicken’s in” alarm is now ringing in the dark.

So many ideas for summer.  We ticked off a bunch, but sometimes it’s nice to grab downtime.  We are in France, time off is but weeks away after school starts.  Next up, a trip to the mall.  An hour drive to show the girls what a mall is and grab some supplies for school.  Then a meal at La Pataterie … a restaurant dedicated and motivated to serve  potato dish variations direct to you.  Should be fun.  I like that a trip to the mall is a thing.  19 – hundreds … 18 – hundreds … call me old fashioned, but I enjoy the heartbeat of the farm.

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Impromptu Car Show At the Farm

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Some blokes popped over with their crazy cars this evening.  Super cool.  There’s the blue one … which is a Cobra.  The Green one which is a  … uh … super cool one.  The red one which is a Jag.  Sexy, but I’ve never seen a Jag look like that.  A black one which is a bad-ass Merc AMG with extra foam.  AND the sweet Miata.  Black like mine ( back in the day ) without the bordello red interior.  Rosebud, The Technical, posing in the background, handled the visitors with pride.

I love it when people pop by, especially when driving interesting cars.  I gave them a coffee offering from Orac our seventh fambly member.  Then off they went, driving one mile an hour down our dodgy driveway.  I was impressed they took their beauties up to see us.  Thanks guys!

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Without my superhuman camera, I got slightly motivated to do some food photography.  Here is Steak.  We are getting better and better marbling with our beef.  I cooked and ate that steak.  It was fantastic.  I don’t like to eat fat on a steak, but that steak with its grass-fed fat … delicious.  I am biased, but the fat had flavor.
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