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.



Impromptu Car Show At the Farm


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!


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.

Hot Day, Water M.I.A.


Nice, hot August day yesterday.  It was all going fine.  Then, the water shut off.  This happens occasionally, usually with warning.  But not yesterday.  5:ish on a Friday, no water.  I waited for it to return.  One hour.  Another hour.  Worried about the weekend,  I went into town to see if I could see anything.  There was a digger and a very long pipe being carried by a local water peep.  They were working on it. Whew!

We have a well for backup and someday for year-round service, but the pump is busted.  Worried about the animals, we called our fix-it guy and he came around to get the pump going again.  Unfortunately he needed pieces to fix it and the shops were closed. Here in country France, the shops close.  No 24 hour business.  A bit more worry.

I contacted my friend and she told me a little diddy I did not know.  When the water is out and you are a farmer with animals, the fire department will bring water to your animals.  How fucking cool is that!?   We could fill a couple of water dishes ( I say dishes, but my kids swim in them ) for the cattle.  Turns out, the water was fixed just as our fix-it man was fixing the well.  We all good.  Then I flushed the toilet, washed my hands and made some espresso.  No need to call the fire department.

In other water news, we have new waterers for the chickens which are okay.  Definitely better than their plastic predecessors.  Otto and Brent below constructing them.  … as well as new feeders to save on food spillage costs.


Here’s the big bad boy sitting off in the distance as we chill into dusk.  Jiggy, the fuzzle butt, sits close.  Lumi sits away, guarding us from those aggressive owls.


A Lawn Mowed by Cattle


This is what they did to that mowed paddock.  They mowed it a bit more.  Uniformly cut to perfection.

Tonight, the herd is back to work cleaning up paddocks.  This paddock isn’t stockpile, but as you can see, it’s not perfect.  They aren’t picky.


Here’s the photo from yesterday for comparison.  Both taken within five minutes after the move.

In other news, this bad boy can climb hay bales.  Lucy took this photo while out on a walk.  He’s very pleased with himself.


Oh Hello You


Hello and welcome!  I swear it was yesterday that I wrote something, I looked up and it’s August.  Above, you will see our herd on mowed grass.  Not a common scene.  They work the pastures, our herd, making them more fertile and rich with grass. … for them.  So it’s a win-win situation. The move this evening was to a field Brent mowed for hay. And did they love it?  yes.  Silent and munching.  Except some mums who moo-ed for their calves.

We did A.I. this season to try it out.  Good way to pick bulls with characteristics suited for our farm.  I had this fear that one day all the calves would arrive, all at once.  Turns out … that didn’t happen.  WHEW.  Brent did have to tag four in one day, which was a lot of effort to say the least.  We had a friend in town.  Poor lad.  Turns up with his family and minutes later he’s out with Brent helping tag a calf.  Then, carrying it -post birth goop and all-  meters back to the herd.  ( THANKS FRIEND!!! … we’ll call him Anthony ).

We are still waiting for a few more.  Then the season is done.  And this farmer’s wife is happy.  I worry about the calves like my own children.  They like to sleep outside the paddock in the bushes and grassy nulls.  We move the herd daily so we wake them up to get with the herd.  Otherwise, the mum can’t go back to them because there is a fence in the way.  Though, the bellow of a mother cow travels far, so if we miss one, they get back with the herd.  My mother … and I’m not calling her a cow … would  yell my name at 5pm in the suburbs of lower San Diego, blocks and blocks away for me to come home to dinner.  Me, the calf, would come running.  A mother’s call can reach.

So many visitors this year.  It’s great to learn their story and answer the many questions of why are we here.  How did we get to this point?  Raising children and cattle and chickens in France.  It’s a long story, but not complicated.

Our vacation rental has been great fun.  Everyone likes to add their bit to the farm.

That’s me!



Brats Like Me


I have fond memories of going to the Oktoberfest somewhere in Southern California with my family.  My dad really loved the Bratwurst … and the beer to go with it.  I loved it just as much.  I haven’t seen Bratwurst for YEARS.  Today, buy two get one free, right there at the ol’ Carrefour market.  Mine for the buying.

I looked up a few recipes on how to cook it.  It’s all about getting the internal temperature safe and then browning the outside.  Many ways to do this, mainly involve some sort of par-boil followed by a brown.  In France, we cook raw sausage all the time.  We do this method.  BUT, as I was talking with Brent about it, it dawned on me that we house this very special machine a dear friend of ours bought to do exactly that.  A sous vide wand that gets your middle up to temp and ready for browning.  The brats are up-temping now and I can’t wait to brown my “saucisse irrésistible.” …. everything ( except ten words ) sound better in French.

We have some new web-footed friends joining team Grasspunk.  They are runner ducks.  I don’t know much about them, but I can tell you this, they like to cuddle.  I’m sure we’ll soon know why they are called “runner” ducks.


Last week was a four day weekend and Minty hosted a Movie night.  “Movie Night” is code for junk food and television to avoid any school-end test studies.  The kids have a toolbox and they aren’t afraid to use it.  Works every time.


(above children are not studying )

Minty takes photos of these two characters every day.  The gray one is a stuffed animal with the amazing talent of breath and a beating heart.  The beige one is a killer.

Just a reminder, it’s tick season.  If you have a nap in the grass with a shaggy dog, be sure to give yourself a quick once over.  I hate ticks.  Useless buggers.

Have a great weekend! Hug a duck! I’m going to go brown my irresistible sausage.

Daddy Don’t Like My Bacon

You cook the shit out of it. 

Well, I … and my sidekick Mint, we like our bacon extra crispy. 
To be fair, French “smoked pig belly” is different to American bacon. Not sweet.     Definitely holds the smoke notes without any So, it tastes great without the extra crisp. 
Add to that “school potatoes.”  As I add to my culinary toolbox the sous chef that is frozen veg, I tried frozen purée. Which is frozen mashed potato ice cubes ready for a thorough reheat. Seems easy and fast but, truth is, they taste like school potatoes fresh on your plate… a rest area before the bin. You have reached your destination!
Another photo of our retreat is up. A place to dine. I love staging this villa. It’s so clean and capable. I feel like I have a little vacation myself when I set things up  

All the bacon is gone and more requests were put on the waitlist. Turns out, daddy loves bacon … of ant sort.  So do all the kids.  Poor Otto was in the field and missed all of it. 

Alright you,  hug some local bacon today.   I’ll catch you up on the farm happenings on Friday.