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This new year has started off slowly and carefully, like a false start leading to a more steady pace. In the first week of January, I didn’t feel like doing anything at all and after careful consideration, came to the conclusion that it was just post holiday season fatigue plus deep winter slowness. So, I gave myself some slack and let the week slide by while pondering my options for this new year. I really hope it’ll be better than last year which started with five days in the hospital with pneumonia in February. Loads of vitamins and supplements seem to be staving off even the mildest colds this year. Keeping my fingers crossed!

It’s easy not to fall into a deep winter slump when the sun is shining and dear hubby takes to the outdoors to clean up the yard. The hens followed him around, checking out what yummies they could find in the freshly raked lawn. So, we all decided to follow his lead and enjoy the few days of spring in winter. They are calling for rain during the week.

Cleaning up the yard.

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We finally got rid of the useless apple and plum trees. They will be replaced soon.

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The girls under the olive tree. Lots of goodies to be found!

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The hen that got broody. Hopefully she’ll do it again this spring.

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This hen found a rotting fruit and is really enjoying it.

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Sometimes we lock them up in their run.

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The winter veggie garden with some swiss chard still trying to grow.

It will be much smaller this summer. I’d like to get a couple of ducks.

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Hermann the tortoise is sleeping in his box. I really hope he comes out in the spring.

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Lio built this wall last summer to tame the slope. I planted some Jerusalem artichokes with hopes that they’ll create a nice border next summer.

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Budding Forsythia

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The baby hedge is growing slowly but surely and one day it will block the view behind the house and we’ll be able to use that nice, cool spot in the summer.

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Christmas wreath without it’s decorations. Still pretty.

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Happy New Year to you all!

GOOD NEWS !

Scooby was adopted !

 

This is Scooby. He comes from a lovely family but unfortunately they have to leave France very soon and cannot take him with them. Life throws some loops sometimes. He is a pure bred Labrador from a reputable breeder near Montpellier. He is a high energy dog who is so very sweet and devoted. He would make the perfect pet for someone who loves walking and/or hiking. He loves children and is fine with cats. If he doesn’t find a home before the 1st of June his owners will be forced to leave him at the SPA. He is four years old, so still young and not neutered, so breeding is a possibilty.

Give me a shout if you’re interested!

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I mentioned getting hens about two years ago and the children have been bugging me to actually do it since then. We finally decided to actually get a coop, make a run and buy the chickens this spring. My husband wanted to build a coop from scratch but the reality is that we have other, more time consuming projects pending and if we didn’t buy pre-fab, we weren’t going to have chickens.

The hens are my first chore of the day. I start talking to them from outside the run and they call back, ready to get out and on with their day. I once read in the book Raising chickens for Dummies that watching chickens go about their business was actually very much fun and I admit, I have not been disappointed. They seem to be busy all of the time and if they are still, it is because they have dug themselves in to a hole and are resting (which is entertaining in itself). I sit on the bench every day, when I need a break, and just watch them. They peck, they scratch, they munch and wander around. This is the head chicken. She makes the law.

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When I sit on the bench, she hops up to see what I’m up to. The other day, I was cleaning out their night part of the coop from the back door and she went around the front, climbed the ladder and hopped in to the sleeping area right in front of me to see what I was doing. She is so funny!

I think the rear ends of chickens are very cute. The feathers are fine and fluffy. This is the prettiest of all of our hens. She is quite big and her coloring is light and even.

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I gave them some left over cooked rice and they thought that was great! I have found that they don’t actually eat everything. They are a bit picky. But they LOVE worms. They will try and snatch them from each other.

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The chickens don’t even mind if I bug them while they are laying. They just look up at me, probably thinking, “Yes? Would you like something??” I just peak, I swear.

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The hens lay every morning, quite early. I’ve read pretty much all over the place that hens take about 25 hours to make an egg and so they will lay later and later until they finally skip a day. These hens went from laying at about 10h30 to about 9 and haven’t missed a day in over a month. They are super layer hens. One of them has been laying a bit later than the others, hence only three eggs in the picture.

DSC_0034They aren’t fancy hens, but they are still pretty darn cute.

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Jennifer is a Canadian/American, living in the South of France for the last 18 years. Married to a frenchman who's job forces him to spend a lot of his time overseas, she has learned to cope with all those everyday challenges brought about by her sometimes crazy life. Adapting to a new culture, raising children, taking care of animals, growing a vegetable garden, cooking for her family and friends, teaching cooking classes and trying to maintain a fairly organized and inviting home. Here are some of her thoughts about it all.

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