This Is Not How You Act In Public

IMG_5872

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?

IMG_5893

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.

IMG_5901

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

IMG_5902

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.

Advertisements

This

IMG_5797

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.

IMG_5798

Impromptu Car Show At the Farm

IMG_5781

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!

IMG_5784

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.
IMG_5763

Brats Like Me

IMG_5055

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.

IMG_4958

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.

IMG_4944

(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.
IMG_4934

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.
IMG_4950

Escape

cowsInVilaPaddock

Escape to a farm in Southwest France. … that is the message.  I live on a farm in Southwest France and I still need to tell myself that.  It’s so easy to fill your head with people’s words.  Podcasts, Stand-up Comedy, News, News on the TV, Youtube, Yabble Babble.  So easy to sink time in to understanding what’s going on … and it is VERY interesting … but … is it?   What is going on around you?  You could probably check in each week and be ahead of the game.  I say “escape” because the words people are using in the big cities, in town at your local big shop … feels stressed.  What if you could push a button and deal with things like drying your clothes without a dryer, picking some vegetables for dinner, moving big animals to tasty pasture … No need for roller coaster rides that you wait hours to ride.  … move some cows!  thrill of a lifetime.

We are offering a glimpse into our farm.  A temporary moment to experience what comes at us fast everyday.  Decisions about beef, about chickens, managing pasture, about business selling meat, about future offerings… each day a steady state of known and a fireball of unknown.  You’ll arrive and see five things we should do and you’ll leave knowing why we put energy into five other things you didn’t know. Or even better, you’ll relax, chill and enjoy the silence ( D. Mode ).

Our Air BnB can be booked at: Grasspunk Getaway

I took TONS of photos to promote our rental and these four photeez are core to my heart:

IMG_4753

a kitchen to cook real stuff with good ingredients on a hot stove with seats for people

IMG_4810

dozing on a bed with a door to the outside world, glimpsing at a book I find time to read each month the same chapter to remind myself of where I left off

herdInOats

grass and open pasture for miles and miles

kevinBurger

a burger and another burger with a sloppy egg

You Get What You Get

DSC_4852

My heart hurts a little today because my daughter ( not Zelie ) accidentally dropped my camera on the hard, cold tiles of France.  This wasn’t her first time.  She dropped another camera of mine on the hard, cold tiles of France a few years ago.  That situation presented a green blinking light of death for my Nikon.  It was a plastic body that did not stand a chance with surrounding gravitational conditions.

DSC_4850

After that incident, I made a rule to NEVER place a camera on anything.  She was young, she pulled a book or paper that my camera was resting on off a high shelf … she pulled the paper and the camera tumbled to its death.

DSC_4845

DSC_4872

After many years practicing my procedure with my camera, I left it on the table without concern because it wasn’t resting on anything … and she moved the table.  I wasn’t there, but I’m sure she didn’t mean it.   And it was my bad for leaving it there.  Thankfully, the camera body is made of metal, so most of the camera features are intact.  So far, the only damage is my ISO/QUAL/WB buttons are gonzo along with various shutter speed thingos as well as the “play” button to review the photo you just took.  As I am not a photographer and still not actively learning what those nobs do … I did use them to adjust settings.  At this point, any setting I every set is now locked in until I get my button fixed.  So, you get what you get.  It’s like the old days when you took a photo and didn’t know how it would turn out until developing time.
DSC_4859

Granted, my camera is probably considered “old” at this point, but it totally does the job and I love it.  I had no intention of replacing it.  Sometimes, restrictions invite creativity.  I leave you with a test photo of my stapler taken today with my newly broken camera.
DSC_4846

Cow Scratch Time

DSC_4231

It’s that time of year where the cows are extra enthused to scratch on any solid object.  And OOOH they love it.  Especially when we bring them up to the yards.  So much to scratch on, so little time.  They really get into it.

DSC_4240

Which is fine.  Though we have this one barrier to our yards that took a beating when the gutter system gone wrong weakened the underfoot, so the giant concrete pillars would wobble if some massive force … or cow scratch … tested it.

DSC_4241

And OOOh they did.  The herd LOVES a good scratch.  Especially now when the weather is warmer.  We used to park the digger to hold the wall up, but in the last few months, we didn’t need that safety net.

DSC_4209

The top bar is made of heavy pipe.  Except for the last bit … the wobbly bit … that is a plank of wood that has been winning the herd triage battle for years.  They test it, but that wood held strong.  Except for today.  The herd came in for triage, Brent went out to set up their next move and I herd a crack.  Instead of helping him, I manned the corner.  There was a snap in the wood, but it might hold for this round and we could fix it after.

I was trying to think of ways to quickly reinforce the plank while we triaged.  All options involved materials and time.  I stepped away to check the water and I heard the final “crack.”  Quickly!  What material can bind two planks of wood withstanding a half ton animal head in search of a scratch?  Duct tape.  Just so happens, I had some close by.

DSC_4230

I quickly patched with duct tape the two pieces of broken plank together to make it, presumably, stronger than it was before.  As a back-up, I asked Brent to drive the digger round to hold up the fence and detour any fence jumpers.

IMG_3965

Hahahah.  We’ve not had a cow jump a barrier.  Don’t worry.  Except for today.  It wasn’t over my outstanding duct tape improvisation.  She tried to jump over a proper barrier.

 

 “She’s going to jump, Brent”

“Don’t worry, she won’t jump”

herd leaves the yards

“She jumped, Brent”

Yep, she JUMPED.  Amazing.  We moved her safely with the other triaged cows.  They were a bit on edge, but calmed down soon enough.  Now I’m hoping she won’t remember her super cow jumper powers.

 

… and now this.  Monster Cars in France.

IMG_3960