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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.


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


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


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


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


Sometimes we lock them up in their run.


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.


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


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.


Budding Forsythia


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.


Christmas wreath without it’s decorations. Still pretty.


Happy New Year to you all!

Yesterday evening, after a girlfriend mentioned that she felt blue, I thought about it and I realized, I do too!! Since the kids went back to school on Monday, I have been working from home, not really wanting to leave my house, feeling sort of in a neutral state. When that goes on for a day or two, I just assume I’m a bit tired. But it has been the whole week and it isn’t stopping. I then remembered, as I tend to forget, that it happens to me EVERY year. Sometimes in the autumn with the change of weather, often in the deep winter, even though we can’t really say that winter is deep around here. Or if is going to get cold and winterish, well, it hasn’t yet! But the sun is low, the joyful holidays are over, the routine has come back, the flu and other illnesses have arrived and our bodies are having to use extra fuel, I suppose.

When I see my cats, I realize that they have it all figured out! In the spring, summer and autumn they are outside, full of energy with just a few naps. But these days, this vision is not uncommon.


There are three of them in that pile and sometimes there are four. I’m always a bit envious when I see them there. Lucky little devils.

So, to deal with this phase of the year, I have a few techniques.

1. Accept it and drink a lot of Yogi herbal teas while working, put on classical music and light a vanilla candle while working. I move more slowly, and take it a bit easy. I have projects for this new year and I have pushed a few things to February because, well, I can.

2. Sleep as much as possible. I get up pretty early, around 6h15 and I go to bed pretty early, usually asleep by 22h – 22h30. Yesterday I fell asleep while reading something at around 14h. It didn’t even prevent me from falling asleep at 22h30 in the evening. That means I’m tired because I usually can’t sleep in the evening if I nap!

3. Make sure I am taking all my supplements (magnesium, iron, Vitamine C, spirulina when I remember)

4. Eat well. We eat more hot food, casseroles, soups, stews but I make sure there are loads of veggies, too. I have been eating a lot of salad, too because the lettuce lady is back at the market and her lettuces are incredible!

5. Read Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness at Home. I read her first one and really enjoyed it and now I’m reading the second. I like her vision of life and happiness.

It will pass and so I am not going to let it get me down.

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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