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.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Veggie beds, Cow and Cockerels

Yesterday morning my worker cleared and composted the two long veggie beds outside the barn. There were still loads of carrots and beets in there which will now be stored in the garage until I cook them. 

The compost in the second bin in from the entrance to the field had lovely friable goodness in it and Andy forked that through the existing earth in the beds.  I then sowed onion seeds in two and a half rows.  They were old seed, so may not germinate, but fingers crossed.  He then finished putting stones on the entrance through to the field to make life easier coming and going when it's muddy.

The runner bean bed was due for sorting out too.  He had to dig out the earth and fork in the hen shed floor straw and hen manure into the trenches before filling the earth back on top.  The runner beans this year should have a very good time with all this goodness at their roots.

The polytunnel looks so good now it's cleared and absolutely ready for sowing and planting.  The animal feed sacks are being stored in there at the moment, but I can work round those.

I sowed seeds of lettuce and radish in the polytunnel, which worked according to the biodynamic cycle of planting with phases of the moon and stars, as today was a roots and shoots (leaves) day.  Today is fruits and shoots, so I've sown yellow tomato and sweet pepper seeds in half trays.   It's so lovely starting the new cycle of growing again.

When I drove down the lane later in the afternoon to the supermarket and doctor I saw this lovely cow in a neighbour's field - she looks just as if she has eye make up on!

I received some more seeds in the post today, so have to sit down and sort them all into he order that they will need sowing outside or in the polytunnel.   I have found quite a lot of out of date seeds in the back of the cupboard in the garage, so will plant those too, and it will be a bonus if they germinate and give me some produce. 

Lunch was homemade soup with home grown veggies - butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic and my own chicken stock.  I added some pili pili to give it a bit of a spiced up taste - lovely!

Three eggs yesterday from my four laying hens and two more this evening - good news for the midwinter months.  I am managing to eat eggs now, only when hard-boiled and with Hellman's mayo, but that's a start and should bring my protein levels up again.  This evening I had them with lettuce, three large, shelled prawns, celeriac remoulade and one boiled potato sliced very thinly and deep fried in a very small milk pan - and it tasted good.  It seems to be the only carbohydrate I can eat at the moment - can't get on with pasta, rice is not too bad, potatoes dauphinoise are out unless I take some lactase capsules before because of the lactose, although they are my favourite.  Fried or roast are best for me, I only eat a one at a time anyway so the fattening aspect of the cooking doesn't really matter much.  Things are definitely getting better though and my range of foods is increasing week by week.

Here are my two cockerels.  The bantam is on the machine and the real cockerel on the ground.  I hope they will be ok with a new cockerel coming this weekend.  He is part of a trio of Cream Legbars, so I am hoping for blue eggs again.

Andy should be here again tomorrow sorting out the electric motor for the garage door.  I am so short I can't push it up all the way manually so have invested in technology.  While he's around I'll clear the beds around the terrace and the driveway and he will be able to barrow the weeds and spent plants up to the compost heaps.

Three things I like:

1.   Getting nice surprises in my postbox.
2.   Hearing  that my blood pressure is now good enough to let me come off my medication.
3.   Getting a Skype call from my friends in Tobago this afternoon.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sunday's Walk and this Evening's Sunset

As I was clearing some leaves on the driveway I came across a primrose which had been flowering secretly.  The marigolds there have flowered continuously since they bloomed in the summer.  This unseasonably warm weather is having such a bizarre effect on plants.

I walked all the way down to the bridge at the end of the village after feeding the animals this morning.  On the way I met my neighbour driving back from fetching a newspaper and a baguette from Lanrivain and three walkers who were walking from St Nicolas du Pelem, which via this end of the village must be 4-5 miles and it was only 9.20am. 

The lane ends in a very sharp, steep hill and I walked off it into a friend's garden and took some photos of their lake before walking across a very small bridge which I'd never noticed before.  

Coming from the end of their bridge back round to the road bridge there is a little abandoned house up on the bank.  The road bridge goes over the mill stream which was full today and running fast.

There is a post with signs on which I photographed, but I have no idea what the measurements mean.

The sharp incline coming back was hard work.  Even the Peugeot has trouble getting up and I certainly did.  I zigzagged back and across the road to lessen the slope.  In one of the fields on the left of the lane was a hunter shouting at his dogs.  They must have been rabbitting as he was sending them into the undergrowth.  As I walked round the corner of my field I heard him shoot, just the once, so I guess he got his lunch sorted.  It's a national pastime here and there are chasseurs - hunters - with their dogs everywhere at the weekends and vans parked on all the corners in the lanes.

There was another fungi I haven't noticed before and the lovely yellow gorse everywhere, just like it is in Cornwall.  In fact, I think of Brittany as French Cornwall. 

Here Jean-Luc, a farmer from over the bridge, is just passing the entrance to my field with his tractor and bowser. 

I hadn't seen him for about eighteen months and I've seen him twice in one week. He commented on my weight loss and said he'd heard that I'd been in hospital. The jungle drums work well round here. 

A lot of timber has been cut down recently and is stacked at the roadside.

The large lumps discarded on the verges have metal tags attached to them, as in the second photo above, and I wonder why this is? 

This morning Andy came with two tons of stone and made paths everywhere for me to walk on so that I don't slip on the mud.  Here he is beginning to dump the stone and the birds are very interested in it - they can never resist inspecting anything new!

Tonight the sky was amazing during sunset and I drove out to get an open sky to take this, and many other, photographs.

Three things I like:

1.   Enjoying walking as I haven't done for years and years.
2.   Discovering a garden hand fork lost for months under the nasturtians.
3.   Being able to walk on the new paths my worker made this morning.