dimanche 10 janvier 2010

Quelques flocons - A Few Flakes !!!!

Saturday 9 January

Quelques flocons is the phrase the French use for just a little snow 'A Few Flakes' - a dramatic understatement today, read on……

I was abrupty cut off on Facebook yesterday as I started a ‘conversation’ with an old friend, I apologise for that, we lost all types of phone connection.

We still have no telephone, nor mobile network which is a little disturbing as we would find it extremely hard to walk out of here to get help if one of us had an accident.  So we are conscientiously being careful, I suffer from chronic arthritis and walk with difficulty anyway, add to that the fact that I am prone to falling over and dislocating shoulders, and you will understand why we are being careful.  Dave is doing all the animal care at the moment.

Our neighbour is on her own at the moment and her husband is in hospital some 60Km away on icy road, thi been bad enough for the last couple of days but this has been compounded by the lack of phones of any sort, so she cannot even ring the hospital and the hospital cannot contact her.  Yesterday this department, the Aude, was on an orange alert for snow and ice, this morning they lifted this alert, why?  I have not a clue, conditions out there are dangerous.

Minus 4 degrees last night and at mid day it has only risen one degree.  We have gale force winds with gusts up to 120Kph, so we have snow going up, down and horizontal at high speeds.  I have tried to photograph the tornados of snow that are whisking around us.

 We are in a valley so all the snow is blowing from the tops of the hills around us down onto us.  It is four foot deep outside the door to the chicken shed and hip deep along the track to the llama and goat shelter, the goats had difficulty running out to get their granules just now.  The llama is, as usual, not bothered, when I spoke before about him sitting out in the snow and frost and leaving a dry bare patch underneath him, I forgot to say that when he got up and we heard the ripping noise, we looked at his imprint and he had left an oval of fleece behind.
The chickens we fed inside and fortunately thrit water pots had not frozen inside, so they seem to be happy.

The ducks are loving it, trying to ‘swim’ around in the very deep snow, slip sliding down the snow drifts quacking all the time, they then make little indentations in the snow and sit there quite happily.  We have not broken the ice in their bath as we felt it dangerous if they happened to not be able to get out on the ice and slippery bath sides.  We also have a stupid  Araucana chicken who thinks she is a duck and I would hate to think she might go into the icy water, so we have put a basin of water in the pen as they are dabbling ducks and take their food with water.

Add to all this an invasion of desperately hungry cows yesterday afternoon.  I felt so sorry for them, they headed straight for part of our stock of hay and tucked in, we left them a while before chasing them down towards the river.  The farmer was taken into hospital with a kidney stone on Thursday, he came out of hospital yesterday afternoon, but he could ask one of the other farmers to take a bale or two of hay to them by tractor,no excuse really and the snow is so deep for the calves, even under the trees
so there is nothing for them to eat at all.  We have had a 16 year battle with this farmer.

At least for the moment we still have electricity, there are about 50 thousand homes in France with no power, and they have been like this for over a week now.  I was amazed this morning that the first item on the news was only indirectly connected to the weather.  The sales started on January 6th and the news item was about the lack of customers in the shops!!!!! 

It is nearly 13:00 and the temperature has not risen more than 1 degree so far, and is due to get even colder tonight for the foreseeable future.

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