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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Poultry, Collecting Rainwater, Blooms and Purrdy (again)

My Lavender Pekin hen and her nine chicks have settled in well and seem quite happy in the small run they will be in until they are at least ten weeks old. 

Next they will go up onto the field, initially in a separate area from the established flock, to get used to the whole idea of being properly outside and for both lots of birds to get used to each other through the open weave fence.

In between the grey sky and showers I have been taking photographs of flowers in the garden.  Here are a nasturtian and a purple petunia which I took yesterday. 

I don't think I ever really looked into the centre of flowers before I started taking photos.  The detail is amazing - really beautiful.  In fact, I think there are a lot of things I didn't look at properly before I took up photography.

Because of the amazingly hot dry weather we have had, particularly through April and May, we have been looking at even more ways of collecting rainwater.  Tomorrow we are going shopping for zinc guttering to put along the very shallow log shed roof.  In this photo it's possible to see part of the log shed on the left and the left hand side of the pond.

Water will run through the downpipe from the guttering to a water butt which I already have in use on the field.  From the butt a hose pipe will take it into the fish pond to keep that topped up.  The pond currently loses so much water from evaporation in the heat that we are constantly topping it up from the mains and I know that the fish will prefer rainwater.

Purrdy has been enjoying herself outside in the garden and also inside, playing with some of my shredded bank statements.  I'm glad they give her more joy than they did me! 

On Monday midday, the Writers' Group met here for the monthly get-together.  One of the group was driven here by her husband who fell asleep with Purrdy during the meeting and only woke up as we were taking photos of them.

It seem that everyone loves to cuddle a kitten and hear the happy purr.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Felines, Fluffy Chicks, Flowers in the Rain and Roast Lunch

Purrdy has settled in so well, it's as if she's been here forever. Alfie has accepted her with no problems.  Here are my three beautiful felines cat napping on the sofa.

Daisy is getting more tolerant of this little darting bundle of fluff, for whom everything is something to be played with, but she likes to keep an eye on her, just in case. 

Purrdy seems to play, eat and sleep in equal amounts. Every leaf blowing along the terrace in the June breeze has to be stalked, caught and fought. Each petal which falls off the geranium seems to trigger the starter's gun and she's off again to chase it down. I love her exuberance and the way she sleeps just under my neck when I sit back in the chair watching the television. If I am sitting forward, for instance, while typing this, then she sits on my shoulder as if I were Blackbeard and she my parrot. She has captured my heart.

I know I'm a sucker for chicks and hens of all sorts, but on Saturday I drove for 40 minutes to a lovely young French couple, living the good life with so many different families of cockerel, hen and chicks in separate runs. I was telling them that today I picked and ate my the first home grown broad beans of the year for lunch and they laughed and told me they'd had their first home grown peas for lunch today.

It's difficult if not impossible to buy broad beans in Brittany, and I love them, so I have to grow my own. This year I have planted them very close together, not as recommended on the packet, and just put a stake in each corner of their bed and tied string round. They seem to be supporting themselves and not collapsing at all like last year's crop.

Anyway, the reason I drove to see Dominique and Hervé was that they were selling Faverolle chicks and I thought I would buy five of them. However, when I arrived there was a family of Lavender Pekin bantams which later left with me in a cat basket.

I decided not to have the cockerel as my two cockerels just about keep the peace most of the time and I didn't want to upset the balance. So I went home with the mother hen and her tiny weeny nine chicks. I also gave in and had two of the Faverolle chicks.

They all seem to have settled in their runs in the rabbit parc and Purrdy seemed quite delighted with all these little inaccessible bundles of feathers, pouncing near the fencing of the run and bounding back and forth not quite knowing what to do about all these chirping chicks.

Finally, it rained last night and is still trying to rain today.  The waterbutt by the house is full, but the 1000 litre IBCs on the land are strangely empty.  They are fed from the barn roof, and should be filling up now, but don't seem to be.  Investigations necessary on Monday when my worker friend is here.

In spite of it being grey and wet, I decided to take some flower with raindrops photographs.

The first is of raindrops on a beautiful purple coloured poppy petal.  When I lived in England, after the summer of 2005, I collected a mugful of poppy seeds and this year found them amongst some boxes I unpacked.  There were a lot of seeds.  Most of them have grown into red poppies, but there are two purple ones - one single and one double.

Next a marigold whose seeds were collected last year from flowers on one of the small roundabouts in my nearest town, St Nicolas du Pélem.

And lastly, another poppy growing alongside the driveway - not well focused as quite a breeze today and I was just using my compact camera.

I don't always bother with doing a roast lunch when I'm here alone, but when I was shopping on Friday, I just felt like going the whole hog, as it were, and bought a rolled stuffed joint of pork.  Here in France the butchers remove the skin, which really I love to score and cook until it's a tasty crunchy treat on the side of my plate.  It looked very pretty before going into the oven and, in spite of having no crackling, it tasted very good when cooked with onions, sage, carrots and with roast potatoes and parsips  in a different dish and petit pois.

Last night when I was putting the hens and ducks to bed on the field, the goats were being very active, head butting each other and generally running around in their end of the barn.  I opened the gate between the two halves to collect an egg which had been laid behind the goat feeder trough and they took this opportunity to barge past me and through the main door of the barn.  Twenty minutes later, Basil was on the top of the roadside bank and Betsy was munching through the strawberry bed.  There was no way I could get them back in the barn without help.  I had my mobile in the car so 'phoned my worker friend which I hated doing as the Grand Prix was being televised.  By the time I had put the 'phone down, Betsy was in a corner and just walked through the barn door.  Two minutes later Basil walked in too with no encouragement at all.  I drove to meet the rescue van, but met them on a junction as I was too late to stop them leaving and couldn't for that moment get a signal on my mobile.  They were not amused, so I'd just like to send an abject apology to Andy and Flick. 

Three things I like:

1.  The sound of my cats purring .
2.  The way a raindrop trickles down the windowpane collecting other drops as it goes.
3.  The crackling of seasoned logs flaming in my well-loved woodburner.