Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck
Roosting on the gate

2011 - My second year of blogging in Brittany

I felt I would like to share some of the photographs I have taken so far this year and some from other years. I live in a beautiful part of Brittany and just love being here. It's a lovely place to photograph and enjoy being in through all the seasons and hopefully this blog will show you where I live my life.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday, 13 March 2010 - Only eight days 'til Spring and a Tractor Disaster

Only eight more days until Spring is officially here - or so I thought, but according to the Observer Organic Allotment Blog .....

Spring arrives early this year. While March 21st is traditionally the first day of spring, the astronomical event that marks the turn of the seasons – the Vernal Equinox – occurs at 11.44 this morning, Friday the 20th.

As their name suggests, the two equinoxes of spring and autumn are the points when day and night are of equal length – at least north or south of the equator, where light and dark are a lways in balance.

For astrology life begins at the spring equinox, when nature bursts back into activity and the Sun in Aries kick starts the zodiacal cycle. The Aries Ram is an urgent creature, a heads-down-and-charge leader, and while the glyph for Aries resembles a pair of horns, it can also be seen as a young shoot, pushing blindly above ground. Everything quickens now.

So, this year, Spring starts on what was my father's birthday.  He was born in 1907, married in 1941 and from then onwards, until he moved house after his retirement, had a vegetable patch at the end of the flower garden, screened off by high trellis.  Here he grew just runner beans and and lettuces, as the main source of our vegetables was the allotment he tended about a mile from our house.  On Sunday mornings, I was to be found sitting on the saddle of his bicycle as he wheeled it down to the allotment where I played happily until lunchtime, while my father dug, cleared, planted, harvested and chatted with his gardening neighbours and drank coffee from his thermos flask.  I never remember it raining, the sun always shone, as my memory tells me it did through most of my childhood - perhaps I remember it through rose-tinted glasses.  Then we'd go home in time for my mother to prepare for lunch some of the veggies we'd brought back with us in the wicker basket on the front of the bike.

One of the things I like best about growing my own vegetables, is that I can go up half an hour before lunch to my very, very small, smallholding and pick salad leaves, radishes, cucumber, new potatoes, shallots and tomatoes for a salad with new laid free range eggs for an omelette and eat a plateful of food which no-one else has had a hand in producing.  It is so satisfying and always brings a smile to my face. 

Someone not smiling very much, was the farmer, Thierry, who was using his tractor in a village field last May, when it burst into flames, with the thick black smoke from the tyres drifting over my animal fields.  Luckily he wasn't physically hurt and the fire brigade soon put the fire out.

The tractor was towed out of the field and left in a small lane where it stayed, gradually disappearing under the summer vegetation and then under snow until it was towed away at the beginning of this year.

Thierry now has a new tractor which he has been using this year on the same field, but was so lucky that he jumped off the tractor when he heard the first small bang and the flames started.

My Three Beautiful Things for today:
1. Waking up and seeing that the bitter wind had dropped and the trees were no longer swaying wildly in the gusts.
2. Stroking the rain-soft white fur of Daisy - one of my special cats.
3. The smell of garlic, lemon, tomato puree and butter coating my sizzling lunch prawns.


  1. What a lovely entry into your blog seeing all those delightful images of snow birds!That Muskovy duckling the cutest!! While in Europe a few summers back I remember seeing this unusal duck in we don't see here in my world.
    Nothing nicer that the thought of Spring just days away! Nice to meet you!

  2. Oh my! So glad nobody was hurt in the tractor fire. How awful. I know how valuable a tractor is to a farmer. I've never seen one go up in smoke like that before.

    Your lunch prawns sound divine!

  3. Naturegirl, thank you so much for replying to my email about collages. I've just managed to do my first thanks to you - I'm absolutely thrilled with it! I used to love my ducklings, but I had a very large pond for them in Cornwall where I lived before, now I don't and I think ducks need lots of water, so I haven't any at the moment. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Hello Curbstone Valley Farm! The fire was extraordinary. I live 50m from the field and one of my builders told me what was happening so I took lots of photos. Prawns have always been a favourite of mine and here in Brittany they are so cheap compared with when I lived in Cornwall so I have them often, all different ways. Thanks for visiting me.

  5. hello, mummy! lol loving the pikis but not happy with the sound of lunch and BUTTER! lol xx

  6. Hello Libs - don't panic, it's all within my allowance - I've lost another 2.2kilos this week so must be doing it right! xx