Les Impôts


It’s tax season here in France.  I do the entire year over a week or so.  I have ambitions of resolving each month like a responsible person, but I get carried away in the thrill of selling beef and chicken.  Oh and the four crazy kids we have.

My head is full of numbers, receipts, where did I put that thing?  Who is this guy we paid money to?  What was it for?  Naturally, when someone asks me to do something fun other than tax work, I’m on it.  So when Celi ( from The Kitchens Garden ) asked her followers to show where we write I thought, ” PERFECT!!! ”

I normally write a quick something while everyone is requesting me to do other things than write a blog post.  I can usually deflect and postpone, but then eventually, I have to publish and hope for a few jokes without tyops.

Our two useless farmdogs sunbath and keep me company.


And the boring stuff has its own space until I am finished. Les Impôts is “taxes” in French.  I must admit, Les Impôts sounds more approachable than “taxes.”


Though, I am collecting a list of words that do NOT sound better in French.

Exhibit A:

English: Tire

French: Le Pneu

The ‘p’ is pronounced.  “Pnew.”  If you need to talk to someone about tires in France, grab some tissues.

Here is the herd last night.  Another new calf.  Twenty so far.  Waiting on a few more.


right, back to les impôts.  Now you know, I have to do this all over again in English for America … don’t get me started on that.  Totally sucks.

How To Make A Three Year Old Crack Up

zelie at three


By Otto Curtis


1.jump in a pile of pillows and laugh.

2.takel (him/her) on you.

3.rub your hand on her belly.

4.run and laugh.

5.do a silly face.

6.call him or her name weirdly.

7.say (ba ba ba) over and over.

8.say her name like z,z.

9.give her a puppet

10.make her do what you do.

11. say “im ganna get…” what ever your name is.

12.say ”in the vanilla ice cream”

13.say ”aaaaahhhhh boofff “

14.make a funny noise.

15.to be continued

zelie at three

A Lull Day Today For Me or Maybe It’s January Sixth


(photo by Steve Hanson) 

or Seventh in Gascon ( thanks for the insight, Fiona! ).

The kids have been screaming with laughter and excitement for two weeks.  Then presents.  Then play. Then the puppy arrived.  It’s been squeals, play, love and hatred for many of my waking hours.

They are at school now.  It’s so quiet. Ssssh. Sssh.

That mad rush to make Christmas magic is over.  That New Year you were to bring in was snoozed through.  It is now back to reality.

Beef, beef, tasty beef!

I had no idea that January 6th was the “down day”, but I feel it.  I’ve been ever so happy and energetic.  Today, not so much.  So much to work on.  So much to improve.  So many things you wish could be snapped into place.  Mary Poppins, where are you!?!

Otto is now working on a new story.  “To Make A Three-Year-Old Crack Up.”  I need to go now while he works his words. And I finish off a pork roast and a root mash to rule them all.

School is Out For the Summer

The kids are here on the farm fulltime, no breaks, no snooze button.  I’ve never had the energy to parse them out to various camps or pay-by-day activities so we spend each glorious day growing and learning as a family.  I’ve always been fond of Idle parenting.  With four kids, you don’t have much of a choice.  So the kids get bored.  I love it when they get bored.  When the kids get bored, they find cool stuff to do.  The day runs along in waves.  Low waves of easy entertainment with a little T.V. or some computer time.  Things that require very little energy  to participate.  Then we head into a transition period while they whine or complain or run around before they set into a new adventure.  When there is no T.V. and no computer, magic happens.  The kids come up with great games.  Because the kids live on a small farm with tons of old, crazy found objects and barns and rooms, they have the freedom to get totally lost in their made-up world.  When they’re done with that, they enjoy the many functions of plain white paper.  They will draw.  They will wad and toss.  They will fly.  They will fold.  Paper has many uses.  Zélie has even crumpled it up and gave it a little cuddle ( she’s not deprived of cuddly objects, she’s a bit of an over cuddler.  She likes to say, “aaaaaaaaah.” ).  Lucy has been motivated to write a book a week.  She is a great story teller.  She’s written many books for everybody.  She writes more than a book a week, but I’ve asked her to pick her favorite.  I don’t really care if she’s talented or not because she is motivated.  If the kids are motivated, we like to step aside and let them run with it.  Her motivation is contagious because Otto and Minty are also writing their books.  Each one with illustration.  Each one with Lucy’s binding and publishing techniques.

I enjoy hearing their stories.  Kids write the books they want to read.  So many children’s books are written for parents.  Olivia, a much loved children’s book, drives me nuts.  I read an Olivia book to the kids and I spend most of the time explaining the inside parental jokes conveyed with the text and the image.   The text says a straightforward line while the image contradicts the text in a funny parental way which leads down a road of twenty-questions on book review and “why is she saying that?” conversation.  I love to review books, projects, art, whatever, but I’m trying to read a book to my kid and enjoy the story.  We are not enjoying the story.  We are analyzing the author’s writing technique and general empire building.  A fair lesson I suppose.  Yeah, that’s right, I know it’s sacrilegious, but I don’t like Olivia the pig.  I like straightforward story telling like Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy.  I like First Book of Sushi., Henry Hikes to Fitchburg ( which has parental signaling without all the inside jokes ) and Some Dogs Do.  The kids get sucked into the story.
love heart

“Love Heart” by Minty Curtis

Minty’s writing tip of the week:  Do a little ball to stop it.

“I wrote it and wrote it and then I do a little ball to stop it.”  I think Minty is on to something.  All those fancy punctuation marks can do more harm then good.  When you’re writing a story, she says, you need to stick a little ball on the end to stop it.

This week, we have Mr. No! Shoes!

Long Story Short:  Man has no shoes and wonders why.  Writes a letter (signed with only hugs) and gets shoes sent to him in the mail.

… and my favorite Children’s book brilliantly created and read by Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey in BlackBooks: