dimanche 4 décembre 2011

4th December and still cosmos in flowe..............r

We have had such a mild autumn here. South of France, what's new you might say? Well we are at altitude in the foothills of the Pyrenees and the growing season can be quite short with early frosts and snow. This year we were still picking aubergines and beetroots last week. Cosmos is an annual plant, as my avatar, and to still have flowers even after our first frosts is amazing. Although the flowers are about half the size of the ones shown on the left. Pandy the new kitten who was abandonned 'chez nous' this summer is growing fast, she is on the Pussy Pill at the moment as we do not have time to go get her fixed, and do not want any more little paws running around here. A friend's dog has just produced a litter of 10 puppies, spaniel crosses, but not spaniels as we know them, in France the breed épagneul has much shorter ears. We agreed to take a female spaniel-type, they will be ready to go at Christmas, but everyone wants females so do not know yet if we will get one. We can only take a female at the moment as our old Japanese Akita male is now nearly blind and deaf and a bit aggressive to other male dogs. When he goes we will be looking for a large guard dog, a Patou - Pyreneen Mountain dog or another Akita would be good. As usual I am having problems uploading photos, I think I have to learn how to reduce the number of pixels, so this message will be lacking in photos. We are bracing ourselves for a bad winter according to the locals, and snow is forecast for the Alps today, but only a little for the Pyrenees. We may buy snow shoes this winter to go feed the animals as walking was very difficult in soft deep snow last year. Photos coming soon.... à bientôt!!

mercredi 2 novembre 2011

Paragraphs ? Have they B.O. Bugged Off?

Maybe I am missing something on the new layout of French Blogger, I don't know but even when pressing enter/return twice while writing the post, the paragraphs do not appear on line. Hey ho, must be going the way of all grammar, it has taken me ages to decifer some text message from my son because of the abbreviations. No need now to remember things like: Because = Big Elephants Can Always Annoy Small Elephants....... So I guess I shall have to use photographs to split up my 'new' thoughts.
We have had a very dry summer, hardly any rain at all, but when it arrives to make up for lost time, we had a flood last week, although not quite as bad as the one above. If we ever had to protect this place I think we should remove the bridge and put in a drawbridge..
The veg garden was a bit of a disaster this spring as I was unfortunately ill with shingles followed by a skin infection which seemed to go on for ages. Miraculously the garden still produced loads of tomatoes and potatoes, and lots of salad for the tortoises. Last week we took off the final aubergines and chillies. I have never planted anything for the winter but maybe I should as we have more time available to care for the garden in the winter.
This picture of Frida and Marmy from last winter is just how they were last night. This week we lit the wood burner for the first time since April which is quite a saving on wood and kerosene for the Rayburn. We bought in 2 piles of wood from a neighbour's son as he was earning money to pay for his next term at college, and Dave cut down several trees in our wood in the spring, so they will also be dry enough to burn, we just have to drag them from the wood and cut them up. Did I say 'We' - I mean Dave, although I ought to learn to use the chainsaw, but it frightens me. I recently become interested in 'Preparedness', TEOTWAWKI - the end of the world as we know it, and feel living where we do is halfway to being safer than in a large town, but where would anyone run to in Europe? The only wilderness would be in or near to the arctic circle, and I do not think I will be walking there with my Bug Out Bag.....:o) I have just been updating first aid kits, clothes, my seed bank of collected seed for veg next year. We always have enough staple foods here to last months and we only go shopping once a month anyway. Let's hope things do not go even more pearshaped in Europe financially with Greece etc. and Iran stays 'cool'.

dimanche 30 octobre 2011

Am I becoming a Preppie, with my BOB,BOV and BOL ?

I have been reading about BVs, BOBs, BOLs for WTSHTF (when the s... Hits the Fan), i.e. a major disaster resulting in having to leave quickly - to Bug Out. I know where we live we will probably be Bugging In, as we are in a self sufficient (or could be) situation. Ray Mears is my hero, I love his programmes and films for the scenery mainly, but living on few resources and your own skills and knowledge in a crisis situation has always interested me. In the USA it seems to be big business with loads of blogs, mainly by guys, about Bugging Out and survival. I am not knocking these blogs and related sites as there is a wealth of information on them, but the selling side of things I can avoid. A great deal of these sites cater for people bugging out to the Wilderness and surviving on berries, living in home made shelters and fishing with the basic items brought with them in a tobacco sized tin, in an Every Day Carry bag with concealed weapons, but what about the townies, people in big cities or in the suburbs. The Wilderness is not very close to Wimbledon, and in the UK we cannot legally carry guns and machetes! Where would we have bugged out to if we had still been living in the UK? Some of the blogs/sites cater for suburban and city Bugging Out, but not all, remember the chaos after Hurricane Katerina and the length of time it took before some people were rescued. We have already had to survived being cut off several times here by floods and snow. The last time we were cut off for 4 days with no electricity, no phone, no mobile phone and out only way out was by tractor as the snowplough had effectively compounded our situation, had we needed to get out, by ploughing past our exit onto the main road and piling up the snow. We are lucky, we had stores of food and the building is a watermill with a well, and we had prepared when things started to look bad, by filling the bath with water etc, taking a shovel inside, propping the main door shutter open a bit as they open out and snowdrifts could block us. We have a wood burning stove and loads of cut wood which we brought inside before the snow was 2ft high, found the candles, filled up all the oil lamps. In a way we were prepared and survived with a lot of humor. The mayor and a councillor walked the kilometer from the village in a blizzard to see if we were OK on the third day, I was a little concerned about there being no form of external contact whatsoever for so long in case one of us had been ill etc. and it would have been difficult to walk out (add snow racquets to our list for this year). Having a Bug Out bag has always been sensible to me, I have always had a 'Hospital Bag' packed and ready to go, with a list of all my medications, wash stuff, my medical history written in French (husband does not speak much french), some money, etc. The bag is located in view where my husband can find it, this 'HB' came about after I was rushed into hospital in the UK and my husband ran around like a headless chicken, and a day later brought in a large black plastic bin bag stuffed with T shirts and socks some of which were dirty, no wash things. The riots and looting in the UK were terrible this year, but think how they would have been compounded had the reason for them been survival, and not just looting designer jeans and trainers after, for example a 4 day cut off from power, no food deliveries, no fresh water being pumped and no money from cash machines, no petrol in the pumps, many people shop from day to day and have no stores and there would be no fresh water, surviving a major disaster would be much harder in a town. During the Athens earthquake in 1981 my friend and I rushed out of her basement flat terrified, and spent the next two nights under tarpaulins and tents in a nearby park, it was cold even in Athens in February and would have been more bearable if we had had a Bug Out Bag to take with us, we did however, soften the hardship by consuming rather large amounts of Metaxa brandy. I picked up some very useful ideas from these US sites and blogs am now in the process of making up a decent Bug Out Bag and improved first aid kit for the house and both the vehicles. One of the best ideas/necessities I am preparing now is to scan all valuable documents, deeds, ID, driving licence, heath number, family photos, etc. onto a 4Gb USB key to carry with me at all times, together with a list of contact numbers for family and friends. The torrential rain this week set me off on this new obsession........Be Prepared, Dib, Dib, Dib......... www.faliaphotography.com a woman on her own in a van, is the site I stumbled upon while researching camper vans, which started me linking to other survival sites that she lists. http://survivalgoddess.blogspot.com http://youtu.be/DOo9bjLtL3Q this will frighten you, so what is the point of storing stuff

dimanche 25 septembre 2011

My Empress Tree is flowering!!!!!

No photo yet as I have a new camera and have not yet managed to learn how to upload photos, but was pretty excited when I saw the buds. Let's just hope they manage to survive the cold nights, and that we do not get a frost yet. Temp was 7 degrees C a few nights ago, but it has been up to 29 degrees C in the day, an Indian SUmmer for us.

See entry and video about Empress Trees below or in the archives.

Will add to this post later.

lundi 29 août 2011

Never a Quiet Day in The Corbières......................

Seriously, I have just been reading another inspiring blog and when I left a comment I realised I have not posted on here for nearly a year.

Too busy I suppose with enless visitors, and various crafts, and involved with the village community.

So, I am off outside to take some piccies to bring everyone up to date again.

We are starting our winter preparations, Dave is chopping up the trees he cut down in April, so that we can bring it nearer the house before the trail gets too muddy or too deep in snow.

We have another new arrival, Pandy, an kitten with a panda face......more later.

We are considering selling our village house, buying a camper van (RV) and travelling up to see the Northern Lights..............but what to do with the animals?

Shiro is showing his age now, he is bery wobbly on his legs and when he wags his tail he falls over, he is deaf and nearly blind, but he still manages to run away towards the village.......