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.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Peace and quiet in St André

We've had a wonderful week here weatherwise.  It's been really hot and I've enjoyed myself sitting out in the sun and reading a Tony Parsons book "Man and Boy" over the last two days.  I've just started the sequel "Man and Wife", but need to forget that for a moment and start the Book Club book which I must have read by 24 September in time for the meeting.
Yesterday the greengrocery section of the supermarket had €1 bags of mushrooms (nearly a kilo) oranges (1.75kg- 9 fruits) and three globe artichokes.  I'm going to make mushroom soup tomorrow and have found a recipe of Gill's from the River Cottage website.  Not sure what to do with the oranges yet, and I ate two of the artichokes as my supper starter yesterday.  The blackberries have been so good this year that I've picked loads and loads for sauce and jam from the abandoned next door garden and today I added elderberries from my garden to the mix too.



Before he left for a week in the UK my worker cut in half a large barrel which I'd acquired.  We soaked it in the fish pond for a few days to allow the staves to swell up and become waterproof.  I acquired three free fish and two water snails from an ad on the expat website and these are now happily esconced in the barrel with some oxygenating plant and transplanted iris located on the terrace. 
I had a similar set up in when I lived in Cornwall and when the barrel was cleaned out three years after putting in three fish, I was surprised to find twenty-six fish in there.  To breed, I think they must really have been content in their environment.  As I came into the house from planting up the barrel there was a cricket on the door opening - he was about 3"/75cm long and very active.
My neighbours and I had been discussing mushrooming and they felt they were able safely and surely to identify about three or four edible fungi.  Later in the afternoon they called me to take a photograph of some they had found, this early in a dry September, in their woodland area.  There were some very new girolles and one beautiful cep with just a little bit knocked off the front which they had for their tea.  The photos were dreadful, for some reason I couldn't seem to focus properly and the only one worth posting is the cep in it's location. 
I had a lovely surprise yesterday morning when a letter arrived from an old friend in Cornwall saying she'd like to come and stay during September.  I shall look forward to spending time with her as in the last six years since I left Cornwall, we have only seen each other two or three brief times for a few minutes when we've bumped into each other in Cornwall when I've been back over there.  She'll come by train from London as she's staying with her son at the moment and will take the train from Paris to St Brieuc or Guingamp so I can collect her there.  Several years ago we did a willow weaving course together and a drawing course at The Eden Project.  I'm really pleased she's coming over.

The eight Light Sussex chicks I bought in at ten weeks old are twenty-two weeks old today and so might start laying now unless they have decided not to start laying until late February which sometimes happens with late in the year point of lays.  I've given the hens the run of the goat field today and the barn too and I'm hoping that they might lay in there once they start.  Here are some of them munching grass at the open gate to the next field, not realising that with a couple of steps they have a whole field - that's the problem with hens - only one brain cell between them. 

They are all looking a good size and really healthy so fingers crossed. 

The goats were interested in the open gate and it didn't take long before I had to put a string round the gate and post to make entry more difficult.

However, one string was obviously not enough.

So I added another string to make it more difficult.

Betsy obviously thought Basil might have a better idea of how to get through.

And after some discussion he attempted it himself, but the second string seemed to have done the trick.

The honeysuckle on the drive wall is still flowering profusely.  I can't believe how long it has been in bloom.

Some of the honeysuckle and fennel seedheads have almost covered the postbox, making it difficult to get the letters out with all the bees that settle on the flowers.

The grapes are doing so well again this year.  I shall have to cut some of the leaves off soon to allow them to finish ripening in the last of this summer's sunshine, but some of them are already ripe, sweet and juicy.

This morning it was grey out there and only 21°C so quite a change. I've pruned some of the shrubs in the big flower bed in the garden and there are huge piles of trimmings waiting to be taken away. This afternoon the sun finally arrived and I sat up on the field with the hens, ducks and goats for a while when I collected the eggs and then out in the garden with a coffee and my book club book, it's by George Pelecanos is is called "The Way Home".

Three things I like:

1.   Surprise visits from friends.
2.   Seeing the sunshine when it seemed as if it was going to be a dull day.
3.   Hearing that my grandson is really enjoying his new class at school.