Saturday, 20 February 2010

Basket Case

I have been going along to basket making workshop on Saturday afternoons since the middle of January and (trumpet fanfare) here you can see the finished result. It is in a style known as un panier du Perche which is a traditional local basket made in this region from sweet chestnut wood and willow. I am currently using it to hold all of our goose eggs.

I now have another on the go and I should be able to finish that here at LPM as we have lots of materials around us. Sadly the workshop is only held in January and February so I will need to wait until next year to get some more tips on expert basket making.

I really enjoyed the course and learned a whole lot more French needless to say. There were about 18 folk in varying ages also learning this traditional skill and the mix led to many a laugh. I will look forward to next year and hope that some of my basket making colleagues from this year will return next.
The course really inspired me and I consequently ordered a few basket-making booksfrom Amazon. Sadly all but one falls short of my expectation as they give you a 'shopping list' assuming that you will buy ready-made materials. I had wanted to learn how to find and make the materials from reeds, bark etc. I ordered a lovely one about Birch and it has some fabulous projects to make from birch bark but alas doesn't tell you how to harvest the bark in the first place. I guess FranticMum will just need to go find out!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

First Steps

Well our little baby took his first two steps today so I guess he's now become a toddler. And how pleased he was with himself! Oh this third time round is going SO fast.

For a while now we have been having to use those eyes in the backs of heads that parents grow because he's a climber as can be seen in the other photos.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Spring Is On Its Way

We have had a gorgeous day today where the wind hasn't been biting in from the East and the frost is finally departing - it arrived the weekend after we got back from the UK so a full week of fairly chilly. I'm glad that it wasn't frosty when we were away though as it adds to the care regime for the hens and geese. Today was really spring like and the air around us was alive with the sound of chainsaws as the French have a last blast at tree felling/pollarding before the sap rises. We took our cue from them and lobbed down a few of ours - there were quite a few where obviously a seed had got into the base of an established tree and no-one had pulled out the sapling, so ending with two trees in the same place. So we thinned them. That's some firewood for the year after next at least. That was Ben and R at least.

B, S and I sorted out the solar tunnel and S loved getting absolutely filthy!!! The hens liked being in the warm soil too and made dust baths all over the place. We're in the process of putting a paving path up the middle. When we lived back in Scotland we didn't plant into the soil in the solar tunnel (it came over with us) as it was covered in landscaping fabric and was more of an extended propogating space. Here though we have doubled the size, dug up the soil, enriched it with home compost and I'm itching to get some salad bits in because they're a ridiculous price in the shops and don't keep. R has already got tomatoes and melons underway, and B is going for cucumbers and peppers. They check the propogator every day. We have however had a 'visitor' into the solar tunnel by cover of night and the photograph shows R and B in detective mode looking for clues - they reckon it's a rabbit as it's making tunnels all over the place. Grrr need to put a stop to that before the seeds go in the ground!

Well, I'd best get on with the tea as they'll all be in from the garden soon - these lighter nights are catching me out as it's light now until after 7pm.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Back From the UK

We are safely home without too much incident. The handbrake did seize up on the trailer delaying our day yesterday by 2 hours whilst we found someone with a sledge hammer to whack it. Brute force won the day!

We did have to make an emergency stop at the side of the M4 for Ben to be violently sick - poor soul, not nice to be sick anyway but having to travel and feel that bad must have been horrid. Yes we return with some UK germs but that's par for the course. I have a smelly head cold with sinisitus today that's making me feel as though I've had the left side of my face kicked but I went to bed as soon as we got home this morning (at 9.15am French time) and now feel much better. S and B went back to bed too but Ben and R (who are both now quite recovered) unloaded all the stuff. Bless them.

All our pets both furred and feathered are well and pleased to see us I think.