Time to get that chicken wire off at last
Rediscovering the wheel!
Perry was wondering why the sound of sawing had stopped...
Yep, it snowed again.
Some of our friends from the Gers came to 'casser la croûte'
Our willing victims, Mirjam and Karel, sign up for a day of lugging timber and a great dinner
Looking for the materials and colour combinations that will feel as if it had always been there
Sowing the seeds
This next twelve months we plan to get the major work done on our house. The roof will be relaid and insulated. Extra beams and supports will be made and laid at the back of the house where the wine cellar (chai) was situated. Once that is in place we will add a bathroom, a second bedroom, Caroline's study and Perry's studio. The garden will get a lot of attention too. We will plant our first vegetable garden this year. Our rotivator has turned the soil, the strawberries and rasberries are already in and now the lettuces, carrots, beans, paprikas, aubergines, tomatoes, potatoes, rocket, etc need to be sown. Caroline has already created a mini greenhouse in the house, behind a window and under plastic. Once they are to size, they will be transported to the garden.
Perry has discovered two more places where a suitable environment can be created for an evening beer, a shady lunch or just a peaceful read away from the house. There is a cherry tree up behind the house where he has great plans to create a herb and wild flower-ringed oasis. He with no green fingers! only time will tell.
Talking about discoveries...
Caroline started to clear the hedge at the bottom of the garden, under the oaks. Cutting back the brambles, she found a complete horse wagon. The wheels all rotten and entangled with decades of growth. We slowly removed the wagon and an old maize storage cage. Perry bought a heavy duty wire cutter and we soon had a few trailer's full of metal axles, old iron and bed springs for the déchetterie.
I'm a lumberjack...
All the wood that has come out of the wine cellar, the rotten floor under the stairs and the big barn have supplied us with a vast amount of firewood for the two log burners we have in house. We were also fortunate to be left an assortment of antique saws, all sharp, to tackle it all. A couple of times a week, we slip on our wellies and get chopping. This has now been supplemented with an electric chain saw which makes short work of the stone-hard oak.
Huntin', shootin' eatin'
The Societé de Chasse had its annual dinner at the salle de fête in February. This entailed (as always) large amounts of wild boar, venison, foie gras and a different wine per course. The hundred or so present warmed up with a few apéritifs at the bar before finding a place at one of the three long tables. We have a good time meeting new faces and discovering who our neighbours are. Often they already know who we are, being one of the few foreign couples in the area. (Caroline's Notes tell more about this). We left at 2 am with the coffee and armagnac still to come and the salle still pretty full. But we had had it for the day.
More eating and meeting
We had several fine evenings at home and away during February. Dinners with some of our first friends we made when in the Gers and with people we met through our website. Mirjam and Karel have been in contact with us for over a year. They too have left Holland and have been seeking a new home and life in France for over a year. In February we finally got to meet them. We had put them in contact with our old landlady in Mielan from whom they now rent the pavilion in which we lived for over a year. Their site (in Dutch) is about their adventures and the sort of houses they are visiting.
Hunting for the house
Now we have our house, we are busy searching for the right tiles, colours, kitchen design and units, doors, handles, windows etc, etc, etc. This involves quite a few drives to Tarbes, Auch and Lannemezan to visit all sorts of shops, workshops and wood yards. Equipped with colour swatches and assorted photos torn from all sorts of magazines, we are beginning to put the puzzle together. This time next year...
Until next month,