23 February 2009

Overwintering Stevia - this one is doing well but its neighbours look pretty gone

I took a lot of cuttings of Stevia last year and gave most of them away. I like giving away cuttings, not only to give other people plants but in the hope that if anything ever happens to mine, some of my friends would be able to give me back cuttings from their plants.

According to everything I've read whilst trying to find out how to save my Stevia over winter, Stevia is extremely difficult to overwinter but I decided to try with five well rooted cuttings. I put them in the little space where I do my knitting next to some French windows to give them enough light and watered them rarely and checked up on them almost daily. I moved the first one to look as though it was struggling into a warmer area but it never recovered. The next one I moved outside as the weather wasn't too cold and it looks as though it's died too. The three remaining plants are still next to the window and I'm hoping that the healthy one will live long enough to be the mother plant for more cuttings for this year.

I haven't thrown the others out because Stevia often regenerates. I had a plant that looked dead last summer but regrew from the base and continued to flourish once it was watered regularly. Perhaps there's a chance that the "dead" plants will regrow once the heat comes back into the air and the days get longer. For the time being I'm keeping my fingers crossed that nothing happens to it until I can take a few cuttings and put it outside to grow on in a bigger pot.

22 February 2009

New piglets to replace the little one we lost and keep Peggy company.

We bought two little weaners from a local breeder on Friday to keep our Peggy company. We lost her companion, probably to a heart attack poor thing. The new piglets have a bit of Berkshire, a bit of Gloucester Old Spot, a bit of Saddleback and a bit of Gascon in them. :-)

When we brought them home the plan was to put them into a separate park next to Peggy's and let them get to know each other gradually. We've tried to mix adult pigs together before and they fought so badly that we finally had to separate them.

The park wasn't ready when we got back and we had a lot of guests so we decided just to put all of the pigs in together, all go into the park and kept our eyes open for trouble and react accordingly. There was the odd scuffle and bit of fake and not so fake aggression. Peggy has her mouth cut and the little spotty pig had her leg bitten but they settled down to feed quietly and started digging up the ground together, so we left them for a while, coming back to check on them every so often.

There were no more major aggression problems and all three of them slept together (little one on the middle) in the shed and they had a very long lie in on Saturday morning.

20 February 2009

Promising new cockerel Feb 2009

Promising new cockerel Feb 2009, première mise en ligne par hardworkinghippy.

He came here as a gift egg and for a bit of genetic engineering, we slipped him under a sitting hen who became his doting mum.

I've been thinking for the past two months that he was a really big hen, then about a week ago I saw him in a new light. :-)

This is his first girlfriend - one of my favourite hens :

The big brown chicken only hatched one chick

I'll be keeping my eye on this cockerel because he's huge and such a lovely colour.

I must be going through my orange phase at the moment. ;-)

13 February 2009

Decorating my new bedroom using ochres - work in progress

We had a lovely sunny evening yesterday so I took some photos of the progress of my new bedroom with the sun streaming in from the west. One of our pals gave me a hand to move furniture and paint the ceiling and we made quite a lot of progress in just a few hours. The photo above shows the final colour up close. I used a light orange wash then dabbed and rubbed in a bright red then once it was dry dabbed again and rubbed in a very light golden yellow.

Decorating using ochres and oxidesThis is the new sitting area in the bedroom. It's going to be a nice place to take my computer, make 'phone calls and just sit around talking to pals and pampering myself after I've come out of the bath. (One of my New Year resolutions is to take more care of myself.)

One of the problems with the sitting room-kitchen in our house is that it's a very public place and we get loads of visitors who just walk straight into the kitchen - the way the French do!

Walls decorated with three different coloured ochresThis is the evening light streaming in from the little window behind the bed. Grigri is really enjoying the new place he's found for his afternoon snooze.

I've still got a lot of finishing off to do but so far I like the colours as they are and I've started to hang up some of my favourite paintings and fiddle around with lighting.

This sort of thing is great fun compared to all the lifting and carrying we do when we're building and to see a room taking shape is so rewarding. I'll get this room's bathroom sorted out too and that way I've my own private suite. (Ooh la la!)

Needless to say it was lovely weather today and I spent most of it outside planting shrubs and roses. I hope it rains soon to water my roses in and so that I can get on and finish the room.

11 February 2009

Lots going on here!

The France Forum logoSome of you may have noticed that there's a new Logo in my links section and that I haven't been around for a while despite my new fast computer.

I've recently become a moderator for The France Forum - a new forum which I can recommend (of course!) to people thinking of moving to France, who have a holiday home in France or who already live in France. As well as the normal rôle of moderating, I'll be adding my own thoughts and experiences on living in France, helping answer questions on French legislation and red tape, smallholding in France and of course all the other subjects which interest me. The forum has been "open for business" now for just ten days and we've attracted a lot of friendly and helpful people. So far, we've 476 members who have made a total of 9230 posts!

I've been so busy catching up with the cyberworld that I've been ignoring my blog and I've broke the promise I made to myself when I started it; that I'd post in it at least once a week. So I'll get back on track I'll do a quick update of what's been happening here at Sourrou.

We've been in contact with Altess' (Max's girlfirend - see post below.) owner and she doesn't know whether her bitch is pregnant or not. She's not gained much weight and she's eating normally but we're still hoping...

Fabrice and I have swopped bedrooms. His is huge and still it was difficult to find a space to walk on with stepping on something suspicious. He's taken mine over and I've cleared his out and started organising the storage space and lighting. I mentioned to a neighbour that I was going to do some decorating and he gave me a box full of Ochres and Oxides that he'd had stored in his barn for years.

Treasure! Jars of oxide and ochres found in a neighbour's barn and given to us.

I've started to paint the walls and it's taking shape and it's already become Saskia's favourite room. I'll post a few more photographs when I can.