May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Farm in Southern France part 3

My "mate" Jessica

My "mate" Michael
My "mate" Laura
My "mate" Craig (Craayg)

Ending September 15


Temporary 2-day home.  They were very quiet.
So the chickens got moved to their new location in the night and stayed 2 days in the coop and in a very small enclosure out the front door, so that they would know it’s their new home.   
During (Jessica Grafitti on chicken wall)

This week was focused on the cazotte where they had been, and also finalizing their new digs.  Jessica and I stretched underwear over our faces to avoid breathing powdered chickenpoo as we shoveled, chipped and hauled the mess to the compost pile.  We got out the pressure washer, took forever to find an extension cord that worked and a hose that could reach and handle that pressure, then wrote Jessica’s name in the dirtiest part of the wall.  We painted until we ran out of paint.
Michael Tiles Floor
Moving Fence

We built fence until we ran out of the fence that we took down from the old pen.   

We helped move a mobile home with Wendy’s new (used) SUV (what was that big cloud that came out the tailpipe?) because it was in the way of the new coop’s entranceway.  
New Coop!  Happy Namua!

Les became a master at dead-hedging (weaving sticks to form a wall) behind the tool shed, and we covered the hole in the corner roof of the book shed with an old child’s swimming pool, metal sheet and a pallet/tire/weight to hold it down so the rain wouldn’t ruin the books in that area.

We have taken two days off since I last wrote.  The first one Les and I went to Perpignan to figure out how to get to Barcelona and to look at the photo exhibits strewn throughout the town.  It was so nice to see little spaces of the town where the artist hung their work: the post office, an unemployment assistance building, an embassy….  It’s like Troy’s night out, only with public buildings being the focus, rather than pubs, restaurants and galleries.  We had coffee and croissants, and before we left we bought a baguette and local goat cheese to dip it in while we waited at the bus stop. 

Laroque town
Laroque from our road
The other day off was with Michael to the beach.  After perusing the market in the center of Laroque, we went to Argeles Sur Mer by a 1 Euro bus through all the little towns, and walked north to settle and jump into the Mediterranean.  We sunned and frolicked and ate a mix of fresh olives from the Wednesday market on the beach, and after the fresh water cold shower we gathered up our stuff—but no glasses!!!  We went through the sand looking for them.  The only thing I can think of is that I had them on my head the last time I jumped in.  What a bummer!  I’m glad I brought my old pair, though they were a little smashed in the bottom of my pack. 
Not wanting to go back to the farm right away, we decided to have a real French dinner in Laroque.  It was 5:45 and the Hotel Catalan didn’t serve until 7, and Claude’s was closed, so we sat at the bus stop to wait and watch people.  We had a typically small French dinner, with delicious meats and side dishes before we walked up the mountain in the dark with the moon rising.  SWEET! 

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Craig and Rebecca joined our ranks.  Craig is a quiet and very present agreeable guy who came from the IT world and wants to do something completely different and very physical.  Rebecca just graduated in fashion design and has an interest in cooking.  She made a luscious caramel sauce that was sensational on Namua’s last cake.   
Flinging Poo
Hoovering Pool (Cleaning trap) Look a toad!
Les and the Dude in the pond

Laura made a chart that spread out our maintenance duties: flinging the remains of our compost toilet into the nest that we created, sweeping/mopping the floors, Hoovering the pool, watering the two gardens, and also the dog walk was on there.   
Michael and I found a nice place to take the dogs when it’s hot, so I took Craig (and Freya, Obie, Ash and Benjamin) there where there’s a little pool reservoir in a craggy, shaded valley.  Wednesday chores included cleaning the two refrigerators, washing windows and cleaning the stove. 

The gals made plum jam and strawberry tree/cardamom jam.  On the table were figs from the tree by the garden and my favorite lemon-garlic mayonnaise.  1C sunflower seeds, ½ C water ¾ C light oil, 1t salt, splash vinegar, splash lemon juice, 5 large cloves or a small head of garlic (is there anything else??) and then process it until creamy.  Namua has a hand-held chopper that’s in the end of a long handle.  She uses that a lot for creams and sauces.

She is truly and amazing chef who makes vegan food so flavorful and delicious.  She knows her stuff when referring to nutrition and choosing what to put in her dishes.  Fantastic!  I hope she finds peace melting her fears away; there seems to be a need to hold on to wrongs of the past and outcomes of the future in a very specific way.  As Nancy Stark Smith, contact improv teacher extraordinaire, taught me, “Tension Masks Awareness,” and I’ve been trying to dwell on that lesson ever since.  I’ve learned a lot from Namua on this venture.   
Our last addition was Joe, who we weren’t sure was male of female up to the last phone calls.  Joe is from Oxfordshire and seems to know a lot about permaculture, but his work ethic isn’t great for this kind of situation; maybe he’ll learn tenacity and an eye for detail and quality while he’s at the farm.   

The last night, we all went to Claude’s for beers, ate a nice chili, sang and danced while doing dishes, Louie joined the group for a party on the porch as I packed for the early ride to Perpignan, a long wait with Michael until the 12:15 train to Barcelona, a confusing moment at the station (how to get out without a ticket, and where to buy the next ticket to Figaro) before our last leg to Carol’s home where her caravan couch waits for us!
Is it the end of the Chaco shoe?

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