Monday, August 12, 2013

Of The Joys (And Hard Work) Of Taking Care Of An Old Farmhouse In The Auvergne

IMG_3729
IMG_3737
IMG_3733
IMG_3734
IMG_3754
IMG_3755
Though spending the summer here in the Auvergne involves a fair amount of going to the various market, cooking, eating and drinking, it also involves a huge amount of work on the family's stone farmhouse.  In addition to regular maintenance, there are bigger, unexpected jobs that need to be taken care of.  The summer of 2013 will be remembered for all the time spent digging a drainage ditch to (hopefully) keep rainwater away from the back of the building.
This little project involved four days of heavy digging, pick-axing through a ridiculous amount of rock and wrangling meters of perforated pipe into the ground.  Luckily, our son was willing to spend a significant amount of his vacation to help his father.
One advantage?  Both my husband and son now know all french terminology related to drainage. That's one way of learning a language, I suppose.

An equally back breaking job is pruning the giant elm trees that grow on the property.  The branches still need to be cut into firewood, but that will be today's job.

IMG_3821
IMG_3822
IMG_3825
While all this hard work is going on, I spend my time weeding and planting in the garden. Easier said than done, since the high altitude and cold winters in the Auvergne can be rather unkind to plants. But each year, there are more blooms and so I continue to enlarge the flower beds every summer.
I was particularly happy to see that the many seeds I had spread last year actually resulted in some beautiful pink poppies, like the one below.
This year, my friend Alain gave me a shoot from his jasmine, which I planted against one of the stone walls so it will be protected.  I hope it will take.
IMG_3730
IMG_3727
IMG_3872



4 comments:

Mrs. G said...

Greetings Katia,

Kudos to the men for all their hard work (not to take away from the work you do of course). Another advantage - you are saving BIG BUCKS!! Love it! Come on Katia, admit it. There is something very attractive about men doing such rigorous labor. I love to watch my husband fix things - when the Spirit moves him - which is not quite enough :-)
When it's all done, you can smile and have more wine!!

Katia said...

Hi Ms.G,
the digging is all done, the branches all cut up now, but a million little things remain to be done.
But no worries, the boys still had a good time during the 'vacation'. At least I hope...

Anonymous said...

Katia, How old is this house? Do you know its history?

Katia said...

The house was built in 1866. My parents bought it in 1971 and slowly began renovating it. It is a typical Auvergnat farmhouse, built from local stone.
I do know a fair bit about the house and the village's history.