29 June 2009

Duc's going home

Duc is an 18 year old ex-trotter who has been staying on our farm until his owner's broken collar bone healed. She's now fit enough to ride and take care of him again and has found Duc a few hectares of land near her home.

We were really sad to see him go - he's a lovely horse who still has a lot of energy and fun in him. Best of luck you two...

23 June 2009

Getting ready for the tower roof of the extension

12 June 2009

We're between solar panels so we're using a rocket stove to get hot water

We've taken away the old solar panels to redo the back terrace and intend to buy new vacuum tube solar panels very soon - well as soon as we have a roof to put them on!

In the meantime with five of us in the house we need hot water and although we just have to light the fire to heat the cauldron which heats the hot water, the fireplace is designed to retain heat so the house stays too warm for too long afterwards.

So we made a new rocket stove from an old bucket and a few tin cans, put it directly under the cauldron and it does the job perfectly. This isn't a very efficient design for a rocket stove but the bucket already had a hole in it so we used it.

Here's a little video by a guy called Vavrek which shows how to build these efficient twig-powered cooking stoves from scratch.

10 June 2009

Bourrou village from the second floor window of the extension

5 June 2009

Fabrice the pig whisperer

More raised beds and the chicken shed is completely covered in perfumed climbers

We're making more space for food growing - there are too many flowers in the veg plot !

The perfume from the Star Jasmine around the Chicken shed is really glorious and as there's a bit of shade, it's a nice place to work in the heat we've had this week.

At the moment, the wild honeysuckle is all over the place and the Foxgloves are in full flower. There are chicks everywhere and as you walk further down under the shade of the Chestnut trees, you can hear the pigs grunting, thinking that there's sure to be something nice to eat on it's way. They've eaten well this week - all the brambles and weeds have been thrown over to them. Their favourite munch so far is Milk Thistle aka Pig Leaf! I've cleared this patch, made an instant fence with hemp string and Honeysuckle and planted a few more courgettes. I had a few Rose cuttings and some Cannas and I've popped them in here too to give a bit of colour. The earth is lovely because I mulched last year and at the top we had a huge compost heap.

The new compost heap will be further up towards the house and little by little we'll open up this little part of the wood without too much damage to the trees and insects.

New steps up from the goat shed

I've been sharing my computer with four other people, so I haven't had much time to blog and the weather's just been too good to sit inside.

We've been really busy planting up the summer veg, doing the jobs we've been meaning to do for ages and others that just presented themselves - like these steps made with some concrete posts we found in a rubbish dump !

The last steps were "temporary" and I've lost count of the number of times I've slipped on them. These aren't quite finished but they look nice already and they'll last for a while and not be slippery when it's wet.