Saturday, April 03, 2010

Even more volunteers ...

In my last post I mentioned that we have been very fortunate to have had a succession of willing helpers come and share our winter with us. I wrote about our experiences in an “articlette” (an article within a larger article on volunteering) in Living Woods, our favourite magazine about wood and woodlands. Click here and the article will open or download (depending how your computer is set up) as a PDF file.

With the gite now turned over holidaymakers, we had called a stop to volunteers until next winter, that is until Chris contacted us, promising boatbuilding skills. We don’t currently have need of a boat but that’s a very high level of woodworking, so how could we refuse? He turns up next week, the day after I get back from a short trip to England to see ageing parents and attend a lambing course at the local agricultural college. (It’s not a language thing, our local French college just doesn’t do short courses for particuliers.) Also turning up next week will be this year’s piggies, a trio of Tamworth / Bayeaux crosses.

And still on the subject of volunteers, I’ve somehow neglected to give thanks and an honourable mention in despatches to Russell and Laura, who stayed with us before Merle and Darrell (see previous blog).
Once I’d shown him how to use the Drivall post-rammer, he clanged away energetically while I put the finishing touches to the sheep shelter he’d help me knock up the day before and pitched a dozen or so perfectly upright posts, which will create a catching area for our sheep. Meanwhile, Laura helped Gabrielle pull the winter covers off the vegetable patch, so to speak, and the photo shows them planting up dwarf camomile in a patchwork of left over paving slabs at the entrance to our polytunnel.

And it gets even better! Laura offered to cook for their last night with us. She phoned her mama for some advice to get the details right, making us smile with her animated conversation conducted in her beautiful sing-song Italian. I can’t remember the name of the recipe but imagine a meat lasagne, with the layers of pasta replaced with cooked rice.
Delizioso of course, and a great recipe to keep in mind when you’ve found some left-over cooked rice in the fridge, just as you’ve run out of pasta sheets!

Coming soon: serious stuff as we aim to reduce our energy consumption further by upgrading the wood-burning stove in the gite, replace the lighting in our bathroom with LED down lighters and a low energy heated towel rail and insulating it with sheep’s wool and details of the lambing course that I’m just about to go on.