Sunday, August 17, 2014

Argentat Sur Dordogne In Corr├Ęze

IMG_0860
IMG_0858
IMG_0861
IMG_0867
IMG_0868
IMG_0869
IMG_0863
IMG_0864
IMG_0866
IMG_0865
It has not been all work here in the Auvergne this summer.  A few days ago, we took a day trip just a bit South of our house to discover some new places.  Our travel took us through Argentat on the shores of the Dordogne.
As many small historic towns here in France,  Argentat's old houses are beautifully preserved and the pride inhabitants take in preserving their past is remarkable.

On the way back, we stopped in Rocamadour to have dinner and to watch the sun set over the city.

IMG_0872
IMG_0874




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Summer Home Improvement Job (Almost) Completed

IMG_0773
IMG_0779
IMG_0775
IMG_0777
IMG_0829
IMG_0831
IMG_0836
IMG_0834
photo-21
photo-19
photo-20
The list of projects for our summer 2014 in the Auvergne was long. Very long.  Though we started on some of them as soon as we arrived at the beginning of July, the wet, cold weather slowed us down as the weeks passed by.  It somehow seems as though there are tools lying about a bit everywhere in the yard and in the house.  hat's why I am pleased that we finally managed to finish one task. We now have a new shade garden in the corner of the yard where before, there was nothing but a strip of ugly cement.

It all started because the joints of a section of stone wall needed to be redone.  Hours were spent digging out the old cement from between the stones. (Thank you, Ecki, for all your help.)  Then, the joints were refilled with a mixture of tinted lime and sand, which is much more original to the house.  My husband perfected this tedious task over a couple of days.
Next, a section of old cement that ran along part of the house was busted up.  Some of the field stones that were unearthed under the cement slab were used to define a planting area. Several trips into the forrest to collect some dirt followed.
Planting the rhododendron, fern, coral bells and hydrangea were my contribution.
Voila, our little shade garden is complete.  Or almost, because the wall needs some more work.  But hey, I am just glad that we can finally see some result of this summer's hard work.

Now, let's hope the plants survive the winter.



Very Nice Neighbors

IMG_0586
IMG_0587
IMG_0589
IMG_0590
IMG_0591
IMG_0593
IMG_0770
IMG_0824
IMG_0844
IMG_0841
Shortly after we arrived here in the Auvergne, a tractor came up our hill, pulling behind it a cart behind it. In the cart were two your cows, which were being delivered to a field behind our house. Some electric wires and two more trips by the farmer, and we now had five bovine neighbors.
For the past few weeks, they have been contentedly grazing through sunshine, but mostly rain and some rather terrifying storms. Every time I opened the back window, they looked up curiously at me. Obviously, I am was as entertaining to them as they have been all these weeks.
This morning, the fence was gone and the cows were gone. Obviously, while I was busy with other things, the farmer has moved them to another field. I hope!

Here is a photo taken by my friend Marion, who was visiting us for a few days.  See what I mean about  the cows' curiosity?

(photo courtesy of Marion K.)




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Monsieur M.'s Bees And Beehives

IMG_0564
Just two of my neighbor's beehives
IMG_0701
My daughter with bee keeper's hat and veil, ready to help Monsieur M. with his bees
IMG_0702
Monsieur M. getting the smoker ready.
IMG_0703
IMG_0704
IMG_0706
IMG_0707
IMG_0711
IMG_0709
IMG_0714
IMG_0717
IMG_0720
IMG_0724
IMG_0725
IMG_0727
IMG_0732
IMG_0734
IMG_0733
IMG_0749
IMG_0740
IMG_0742
A few years ago, our neighbor here in the Auvergne started keeping a beehive in his garden.  Just like in the United States, honey bees have slowly disappeared in Europe and many, like my neighbor Monsieur M., are trying to lend a helping hand to ensure the bees'  survival.

Monsieur M. added five more hives in the past two years.  The reward for tending to his bees were 58 kilos of honey from the first hive alone this past September.  With any luck, he will have a lot more this year.

Last week, Monsieur M. needed a helping hand to relocate a colony of bees from one hive which only has four frames to a new hive, which has six frames.  Apparently,  he was afraid that without the two additional frames, there was a risk of the bees freezing during the winter because the bees can not keep each other warm enough f they are not densely packed in the hive.

My daughter Celina, who spent a few days with us here in France, immediately jumped at the chance of helping Mr. M.  She covered up from head to toe and then put on a very fetching bee keeper's hat and veil.  Her job was to direct the smoker at the bees.  The smoke makes the bees sleepy and easier to handle.

About a half hour later, the mission was accomplished without a single bee sting.  I am happy to report that the colony felt right at home in the new wooden hive and are back to business as usual, which is to buzz around our hill to pollinate all the flowers.

Thanks to Greg, Celina's Boyfriend, for documenting.