April blew out with rain and storms and May has moved in with some sunshine.
Long may it continue…
After a week of grey clouds and cold winds, Mother Nature has given us a lovely sunny Sunday, what a lovely way to end the week.
You can feel the heat of the sun on your skin, it’s a tonic. And it looks like the temperatures due to rise over the next week a giddy 17degrees by next weekend.
Hi again, sorry for the lack of posts, i can’t believe our last was back in October, and where did all those weeks go?
The last six weeks have flown by as has the last few years, is the earth turning faster? or maybe its just that I’m getting older and time seems to be going faster?
So what have we been up to, well its been a busy six weeks here at Maison Mûrier, i was going to say that we have just been working on the interior of the house again as its much too cold to be outside, but the weather has been bizzarley warm during the days, well after midday anyway, so its been a mix of inside and outside work.
We have had misty mornings
Some have been frosty
But after lunch its been generally very warm, even warn enough for T shirts,
Blue skies and lickums whilst out walking with barnabas Pickles today
We have had some stunning sunsets, this one was taken yesterday on our way home from visiting a few vineyards as you do on a Saturday afternoon….
So whilst the weather has been good we have been in the garden tidying up for winter and also moving things around a bit. To give some winter interest, i have moved the old cart from the side of the house to under the tree outside the kitchen window, when i moved it i noticed most of the wood on the top was rotten so had to do some renovation work on it.
Ive planted the pots up with some winter flowers and spring tulip bulbs.
The wall planters have had a mixture of heathers, heres and pansies put in them.
Back inside we have moved into our own living room so that Marion and Ian can start to decorate their living room and kitchen,which we have been using for the last two years.
We have done a temporary make over to make it all cosy for winter.
Barnaby Pickles seems to like it.
We have papered the alcove walls using old 1950s newspapers that were found in a storage trunk that Marion and Ian bought.
Up in the loft we are converting to bedrooms, we have been busy finishing off lots of little jobs before we get the electrician in to do the first fix. kev has been busy pottering about with plumbing for all the ensuite bathrooms, and i have been busy chiselling out all the old pointing from one of the stone walls in the guest bathroom. We want to keep some original features to add character, this wall will eventually be repointed, you can see the difference between the right and left side of the wall, the left side will be tiled over, it sounded simple but took most of a day to do and that was using an industrial hammer drill.
And what have barnaby Pickles and Miel Miaow been doing whilst all this has been going on?
Mostly relaxing and snoozing…..
Bye for now catch up soon.
I can’t beleive I’m already hearing the crunch of almond shells under my feet as I tend the potager. Was it really 8 months ago that I posted photos of the beautiful almond blossoms? That crunch tells me its time to start harvesting; I’m a lazy harvester and like to leave all the hard work to mother nature, who usually uses a nice big storm to shake the trees and send the almond shells hurtling towards the ground. Said storm happened last week and the recent sun and wind has dried the land and the shells nicely, so perfect time to gather them.
We have four almond trees on our land: a large one hovering over the potager hence the noise underfoot as I tend it. Two on the other side of the front garden and a small one overlooking the pool area, so plenty to harvest.
The almonds have fallen and have dried off in the sun, helped by the warm winds.
I have a little system for harvesting the almonds, firstly i gather them, then take all the husks off, then you have to check them over to see if any bugs have started to bore holes in the shells, then shake them to see if the fruit has died and separated from the shell, lastly pop them into a net bag.
The last few steps are done sitting in my lovely old garden chair….
The rewards of my hard work a nice big bag full of almonds, this is just the first harvest off one tree.
mmm how many more trees to harvest, seemed a good idea at the time…….
Its been a busy summer here at Maison Mûrier, we have had lots of fabulous guests staying and amazing weather for us all to enjoy.
Trying to do work in the hot weather is almost impossible, unless you like getting up at 6am to avoid the sun, we aren’t early birds, so have only done that a few times.
We have had the odd cloudy day and have taken advantage of the clouds to crack on with the decking around the pool and the railings surrounding it.
The last few days have been much cooler so we have really cracked on with the railings and here’s what we have done so far.
We have managed to put the railings up around the whole area of the deck that is finished.
We thought it was going to be really difficult to fix the railings in place but Kev came up with a relatively simple solution of using long metal rods attached from the back to the existing rods, before they are attached to each other, they are hammered into the ground, roughly 1.5 meters deep.
The design of the panels is lovely and the colour fits really well with all the foliage.
Each of the railing panels had to be welded together and thats where Ian fabulous skills have come in handy, off cuts of metal are used to fuse each panel together. The results are really sturdy panels.
I found these old metal urns at the brocante market today, they were covered in black soot as they were used for washing clothes, they would have been sat on a huge fire, the clothes being boiled inside them.
With a bit of hard labour sanding them to get rid of the soot they have come up a treat, i varnished them to bring out the colour and markings.
And now they have a new life as plant pots.
And what have Barnaby & Miel been up too whilst we have been working?
Barnaby has been spending his time watching us work.
Whilst Miel Miaow has mostly been sleeping……
Yesterday when sunbathing on our deck I thought I heard sheep baahing; the sound seemed to be coming from our neighbour Colette’s garden. Further investigation proved correct – she has invested in some sheep to help keep her grass down. She has a white ewe and ram and a 2 black ewes and ram.
They are very small sheep I’m not sure what breed but ill find out and report back.
They are very friendly and came straight to meet me to say hello.
My first thoughts were what will Barnaby Pickles think of them and will he bark all the time? We took him down to introduce him and after a few initial barks he seems fine and very interested in his new neighbours.
When sheep sit down does that indicate rain, like the old wives tales about cows?
My current guests and I visited Saint Antonin Noble Val on Sunday. I have only been out of season, but had been warned by French friends that it gets very busy there in the summer especially on market day, which it was.
Boy oh boy were my friends correct, thousands of cars were parked on every inch of road, verge and spare space leading into the town.
Unperturbed we headed for the town and managed to find a crafty little spot to park near the river, not a few minutes walk to the market. I would later be reprimanded by a furious French lady who on spotting us returning to our car lent out of her window and started to tell us in florid French that we couldn’t park there, I gave her my cheesiest smile and explained I don’t speak any French, a little white lie I know, but hey when needs must.
Anyway it was worth it as the atmosphere was fabulous and the market really great, we even managed to get a great seat in a restaurant jut off the main square and were serenaded by a saxophonist and a guitarist.
Here are some snaps on my photo safari.
We have come to the end of a heatwave which has given us a few months of amazing sunshine, scorched the land and given us a bronzed look.
Everything we have planted in the potager has bloomed, grown and is now ready for picking, mainly thanks to the fab watering system that Kev installed.
The only part of the grass that has needed cutting is the plush green grass circular patch that the sprinkler has reached.
Over the weekend Kev and I started to harvest our crops, with the help of Barnaby Pickles of course.
Our peppers have been ripening in the sunshine and turning lovely shades of yellow and red.
Kev cleaning off the red onions.
We picked 185 red onions and left them to dry in the sun for a few hours.
Kev came up with a great way of drying them, courtesy of single bed slats
Kilos of overripe tomatoes were picked.
And turned into pasata source.
French beans were bagged and have been frozen ready for winter dinners.
Now weeding and fertilising to be done before planting winter veggies.
I walk Barnaby Pickles as early as I can these days as the sun is so hot past 9am.
The sunflowers on the field just below our garden are just beginning to go over and will slowly droop and decay until they are brown husks. Kev hates them when they get to that stage. But for now they continue to give us a sea of yellow even if tinged with sunburnt orange bits.
It amazes me how many wild flowers still manage to survive and thrive in the heat of summer. I saw these beautiful wild sweet peas today peering through the grass all proud and colourful.
Have a lovely day everyone.
We are in the midst of a heatwave here in France as are a lots of countries in Europe, today was the hottest day of the year so far, the thermometer in the garden hit 42 Degs and its due to get hotter later this week.
Even the pets stayed inside all day, Miel was out this morning but she soon came running inside as the day heated up.
After a day of working on the computer and a quick swim in the pool we headed over to Clos Rocaileux which is owned and run by Jack and Margaret Reckitt who have been making wine here for the last five years. On Tuesdays at 6pm they take people on tours of their vineyard and winery.
We meandered through each of the wine plots tasting the wine that is produced from each grape variety.
Jack explaining the intricacies of caring for the vines.
We did try the wine in the bottle he had in his hand.
Glasses in hand
Yes that is a box of wine in Kevs hand, 3 of the early vintage red and 3 of the reserve red which will be laid down for a few years… well maybe not all of them.
I would highly recommend doing this wine tour or just a visit to the vineyard, you will receive a very warm welcome.
Visit the website here closrocailleux.com
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