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September, 2011:

Konrad’s Les Verrines

Konrad under one of the giant stones at Les Pierres Jaumetres

Les Verrines’ youngest member gets his spotlight! Konrad came to visit with his mom Anika and his friend Josie for ten days and helped with a few projects, swam, ate gummy bears, and played. Konrad even got his “Petit Chevalier” certificate in his young knight training course. (more…)

A New Garden

Konrad, Anika, and Josie had just just shown up to spend a few days kickin’ back and enjoying the French countryside. I didn’t wait long to put them to work cleaning one of the last of the ‘big messes’ that had been bothering me since we arrived! (more…)

The Biggest Courgette

Every year in the summer, the gardens are full of plenty of fresh vegetables of all kinds- Even though we had no garden of our own this year, the neighbors are always happy to help out and ensure that we get our daily ration of veggies. Perhaps the most prolific of all is the lowly courgette (zucchini)… They come in all shapes and sizes, for all tastes and purposes. Throughout the whole summer, there are courgettes all over the village and they grow so fast, no one can possibly eat them all. (more…)

First Things First

Lena, Ready for Action

Although this post is titled ‘First Things First’ it’s important to note that we had already done quite a lot of work to make it to this point! This was already our third trip to the ‘new’ house- twice last year, just CLEANING, killing the ivy growing up the walls, cutting down the mess of vines and brambles in the yard. This time around we had already been back for over a month- Once again cutting down all the mess that had grown up while we were gone, making our weekly trips to the Déchèterie with loads of trash, stripping the old yellow wallpaper from the walls and doing drywall, and various other projects.

But- First things first, we needed a toilet! We also needed a shower… So I set about to build a Dry Composting Toilet system and an outdoor solar shower. Of course, the ol’ bucket system just wouldn’t cut it. I wanted something that would not only be functional, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective, but also something that would look nice and pass even the most discriminating of tastes. I broke out the woodworking kit and got to work building a toilet that one might even describe as… beautiful? (more…)

Postcard from Le Mas St. Jean

In Front of La Chapelle du Mont St. Jean with the Renault

Tiles Delivery

This was a BIG deal. I have never, NEVER in my life, spent this much money at once… Especially on something I can’t use to make photographs!

These weren’t just any tiles, either.

The story goes: Once upon a time, there was a Chateau. This chateau was built a very long time ago in a town called Jarnages. So long ago actually, that the roof had begun to fall apart! So, the French government stepped in and put up a lot of money to put a beautiful new roof on the Chateau. And of course, a chateau certainly can’t be clothed with just any old tiles! NO, a chateau must have special tiles, approved by the bureaucratic powers-that-be to conform to standards of beauty appropriate for preserving the heritage and patrimony of France! But of couse… France being France, only half of the roof of the beautiful chateau was ever finished, while the owner awaiting his FEMA check to complete the other half. (In the mean time, a certain American came along who needed some very special tiles for his own chateau. And he wasn’t going to wait for government bail-outs…)

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