Devious Ducks – We’ve been ganged up on

They’ve done it again. The ducks have ganged up on us.  Spring is very definitely in the air amongst our feathered flock, and particularly with the ducks.

The chickens are doing their normal thing of laying eggs. Well, at least 2 of the 3 are, the other one prefers slightly warmer weather before she graces us with an egg.  We take their eggs, as and when, without much fear of zany nesting antics.  The ducks on the other hand, they are a mission unto themselves. Read On

Making Maple Syrup in Vermont – a shared moment

I met John, aka Movin’ On, when we were both walking the Appalachian Trail. With the wonders of internet, we’ve managed to keep in touch over the years, though homes have moved.  John set roots down in Vermont and recently posted about harvesting maple syrup on Facebook. This took me back.

My family regularly spent weekends in New Hampshire, when I was growing up, where we had a small cabin (think ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ one of Laura Ingalls-Wilder’s first books if you haven’t read it). The area had no shortage of maple trees and each winter we would see buckets hanging from trees collecting the sap. It’s a scene that has painted itself into one of my fondest childhood memories.

I know many people don’t actually know where Maple Syrup comes from (answer: maple trees, hence the name), or if they do, how it is done (essentially the trees are ‘tapped for their sap’), so  I asked John if he would write about his experiences, as I felt this something quite unique and worth sharing.
Read On

Did you know Chickens can Purr?

Did you know chickens can purr? Neither did I, until today. The chickens helped me in the garden, again. It is becoming a regular thing, which I for one am really glad of. Their antics make me laugh every time, so now, not only do I get the joy of gardening, but also seeing what zanyness these feathered creatures can get up to. Continue reading

Making a Vertical Garden – recycling the previous year

Last year was our first year working our vegetable garden (our first time gardening ever in fact) and we tried a series of different methods; raised beds, wattling bed, pallet planters and vertical hanging wall, to see what worked well. All were made using recycled materials and are being continued into this year, with almost no changes except for a relocation of some of the pallet planters and a some amendments to the vertical garden as a result of lessons learned. Read On

Point of Perspicacity – wonderful words

Perspicacity [pur-spi-kas-i-tee]
noun
Keenness of mental perception and understanding; a penetrating discernment—a clarity of vision which provides insight.

I think I was 4 when I had my first point of perspicacity, and it all had to do with the word Mother.  It was the day I realised, and felt proud, that I was able to spell a ‘big’ word. Continue reading

Who Who – 2 new additions to the garden

We found 2 new additions to the garden today. A lovely sunny day and two young owls were seen sleeping in the sunshine in our cherry tree. We suspect they chose this tree for its camouflage purposes.

We’re suspecting Tawny owls as we know we have at least one Tawny owl in the garden already by its nightly call. However, just the other night we heard another type of owl, so we are not 100% certain. If anyone knows, feel free to fill us in on if we are right or not (and in which case, what are they?)

Close up

Close up

Camouflaged well in the tree

Camouflaged well in the tree

Finding a Vineyard in Burgundy – Part 3

In conjunction with our How to find a Vineyard in France (Part 1 & Part 2), there is another story to tell in our unfolding wine making saga. This story began at a similar time, and developed along side, the discovering of SAFER and all we undertook with them.

The background… As part of living here, we are working to improve our language skills and start to fit in to the neighbourhood around us. The French are wonderful about inviting you around for drinks and nibbles of an early evening to get to know each other, and in our case a chance to practise our developing French, or sometimes their English. Either way, discussions about vineyards were generally soon to crop up and it was very heart warming how much everyone wanted to assist us.

It was at a reciprocal (very much how it is done here) drinks & nibbles  with some neighbours that we were told of a nearby Chateau that had vines that were going to the birds, literally. It was possible the owners might be willing to let us have the grapes, rather than the birds and bees, to make into wine.  Would we like an introduction? Can birds and bees fly? Continue reading

Point of Perspicacity – Itchy Soap

If you find you itch after a shower, particularly if you take a shower before going to bed, and particularly if its your shins that itch – change your soap.  I discovered that most soaps contain sodium in them (e.g. salt) of various forms; sodium palmate, sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate…  Next time you buy soap, look for a soap without ‘sodium x’.

Hint: if it is proving difficult to find a soap without sodium, even amongst the expensive, organic and ‘healthy’ soaps, search predominantly amongst goat’s milk. It’s about the only place I have found soaps without salt.

If you fancy having a go at making your own; Little House Living offers clear instructions on making your own soap.

Inundated with Easter Eggs

Easter has dawned beautifully sunny. Hoorrah!  It has been awhile since we have seen the sun and we are all, animals and humans, basking in its warmth.  It finally feels like spring, and the animals are certainly making us aware it is.  We have discovered yet another duck nest this morning, this time amongst the daffodils, bringing the count now to 4 duck nests, 3 chicken nests and 1 rabbit laying eggs.  Okay, the last one is a bit tongue in cheek, especially since it is our male rabbit, but he did invite the photograph after I put the eggs on the chair next to me and he hopped up to investigate.

It just has to be said ~ A truly eggagerated Easter this year.