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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rain, Water Collection and Storage and the back Veggie Plots

Very, very windy weather this morning and lots of rain.  I walked up to the field to find Andy had just arrived, in spite of still suffering from the end of man 'flu',  and the first thing we did was to clean out the hen house and put down fresh straw, also in the hen end of the barn and in the nesting boxes.  We also gave the goats another bale of hale and took some back to the house for the rabbits too.  Rain is seeping in from the concrete path into the nearest end of the barn and I think silicone may do the job of keeping it out.  We decided to put the ducks in the field with the pond.  This photo just shows the very shallow end where it slopes up to the grass. 

It's the first time it's been full since it was built in April last year and the first time the ducks have been in.   I didn't see them in it, of course, but there were loads of feathers in there, so they must have been in there diving, swimming and getting their feathers into shape.   At lunchtime we went down and put the ducks back into the normal hen area so that it would be easier for me to get them inside at bedtime.

The rain was terrific this afternoon, so heavy that it was bouncing up again off the roof of the logshed, and by 4.00pm we'd had about a dozen very short powercuts, which meant the Sky box, and internet were reset each time, very frustrating!

The Christmas tree, which was outside on the terrace, waiting to be sawn up for the woodburner, has been rolling around all over the place and it absolutely soaked.   From this angle it looks really small, but was just over two metres high, the biggest tree I've had in Brittany.

Even the logs which are under cover, are slightly damp when they come inside and have to be dried on top of the woodburner before using.

We also cleared the paths around the polytunnel and barn and emptied the bath, in the polytunnel, which was full of very smelly water after the tomato plants had collapsed into the water. 
We refilled it with clean collected water from the barn roof which is stored in an IBC immediately outside the polytunnel.

Here are some of my water collection and storage solutions.  I have the guttering on my small barn sloping to each end from the middle so that I can fill an IBC from each end.  At the back end I have the first IBC connected to two others so altogether that is 4000 litres.  I also have four baths, two dairy containers, three water butts and two very large round galvanised cattle drinkers. 

I have just bought two more 1000 litre IBCs from an expat website here and will use one on the field and one for my garden plants when I am able to collect them.                  
Here is a photo of the veggie beds at the back of the polytunnel.

They are arranged like this as they were originally in another polytunnel which collapsed irretrievably in the snows of two winters ago.  I had the paths concreted because I seem to find it easy to fall over any small lump in the ground so this seemed a good idea!  The front middle bed has strawberry plants in it, the next bed back has woad.  The back right beds have soft fruit and the far left bed has beetroot and some parsnips still happily in the ground.

Tomorrow the plot is for Andy to finish installing the electric door opener for the garage and then do the polytunnel and perhaps start on the outside veggie beds.  I also want to clear the runner bean bed (not shown) and dig the proceeds from the henhouse clearing today into the runner bean trenches so they are well manured for good growing this summer.

We replaced some of the outside light bulbs which had blown, but didn't have enough, so I went shopping in late afternoon to get some and combined the journey with putting the birds to bed.  I seem to buy bulbs endlessly.  Every lamp takes a different type, bayonet or two types of screw and a different wattage - these needed large screw 60w.  I couldn't get 60w here, they were either 75w or 55w so I chose the brighter ones. 

The Land Rover doesn't like short journeys - they seem to kill the battery - so if I'm shopping I tend to go later in the day so I do six miles on the round trip and then leave the engine running while I do the birds and collect the eggs.  I've bought a trickle charger for it, but it's been so mild that we haven't wired the vehicle up for the charger yet.

Right - I have to get ready now for my Physio, who is coming to do my back.

Three things I like:

1.   A good back massage.
2.   Finding Christmas sausage rolls in the freezer and cooking them for supper.
3.   Wishing my friends Sheila and Paul a happy holiday in Tobago - they arrive tomorrow.


  1. Wow! You had so many water storage tanks to be filled, and good thing the rain poured very hard. And with the huge barn like yours, it is for certain that you are using a lot of water. So having more water storage is beneficial as you can use stored water, yet it will not affect your water bill. Wonder if you consider getting a larger water storage for your barn.