From Rice to Riches

Le Coudeau Welcome

Now that the frosty days of winter are here, I’ve done due diligence by adding a little bit of weather stripping here and there, where there were gaps. We’ve really noticed a difference, even with that little effort.

Don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but our contractor talked us into having the custom doors and windows made in Portugal. Admittedly, they are beautiful, solid oak units, with wood grates that appear as separate panes, but open for ease of cleaning to one huge pane of double glass (both inside and out).

Well, I guess the standards in Portugal are a little different than I anticipated. The doors did not come with thresholds. Another learning curve of doing construction in a foreign country—not only are customs different, the language barrier is huge, as I’ve mentioned before. Anyhoo, we’ve made a few little additions, but still feel a few gaps under doors. Enter Cindy to save the day…

I decided to use some wonderful Italian designer fabric that I packed in our boxes to make some “snakes” to stop any cold air from entering under the doors. The project has been on my to-do list for months. Needless to say, I didn’t start until yesterday.

Decided it was time to put up the Christmas tree, but wanted to get the snakes in front of the doors first. And so, I set up my work station in the freezing studio. Started the petrol heater to take the chill off, measured and cut my fabric, set up the sewing machine (also stupidly schlepped from the States and plugged into the transformer), and started to create. Had bought some dingle-bop fringe just for fun and decided to use the wrong side of the fabric to lessen it’s formal appeal!!!

For orders, call 1-800-noo-wayy.

Well, the funny part of this whole exercise came when I went to store to get rice to fill the snakes. Found the el-cheapo rice, only available in 1 kg bags and loaded every blasted bag they had into my cart. Standing in line, the people behind us were sniggering. Not only were we speaking some crazy language, I’m bundled up like I just arrived from Siberia, and our cart was full of rice! Jzeez! They probably wanted to give us a handout, if all we could afford was rice! Of course I just straighten my posture and acted like this is the most common thing anyone could do on a Thursday afternoon. Don’t know if it’s relevant that Papa picked up some ice cream too…to go with our rice!!!

My trash can after the first three snakes are finished.

Well, got the first three snakes done to go in front of the triple doors where the tree is to go. What do you think? Theo’s thinking of it as a business idea… !!!

Now the tree can go up. Note my antique iron, one of many in house used as door stops.

Decided on a white and gold tree this year, again with my enormous collection of owls. Also put some cheer on our new driveway gates. Wishing everyone a joyous holiday season!

This year’s tree, all owl-ed out!

 

Posted in American Expats in France, Buying a House in France, Renovating a Home in France, Southwest France American Expat Blog | 6 Comments

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

…Theo’s ready to move south, Baby, south!!!

Had a light sprinkle of the white stuff last night. I think it’s absolutely beautiful, love the change in season, and know it will be gone by noon. Theo’s not so positive about it. Oh well, it’s the first time so far that we’ve had more than frost on the roofs. Can’t really complain (and he doesn’t, really, he’s just keeping up appearances!)

Our little Mexican garden gal wants to come in too.

 

Our pine in the front with a dusting of Christmas ‘sugar.’

Afternoon sun shining on one of the oaks in the back yard, turning the fall colors brilliantly vibrant. They’ll ALL be falling off soon now.

The neighboring field with beehive-shaped well.

Posted in American Expats in France, Expat Blog, Southwest France American Expat Blog, Visiting Dordogne | Leave a comment

Autumn is in the Air

Our first freeze is behind us, and although it’s been followed by some lovely days, the work of pulling up the annuals and cutting back and mulching the perennials is in full swing. I’m still collecting fallen leaves for the compost pile, and our resident deer have been feasting on the last apples falling from the trees. Busy, busy in the garden these days, but love the autumn atmosphere and colors.

What a little trooper.

The pool has been buttoned up until spring, the reality of actually installing all the weather stripping I have bought is sinking in, and day-after-day the onslaught of comfort food—can you say Shepherd’s Pie after the Leg of Lamb, Chili Con Carne, Baked Ziti, Apple Tarts, Italian White Bean Soup, and the wonderful warmth of Mexican Albondigas Soup—maintains our Rubenesque figures!!!

 

The mighty cranes (Grue Cendrée) have passed over, chatting in their raucous way, on their way to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, signaling that winter is near. Always enjoy, and feel blessed by, being under their flight path.

Have been busy keeping in touch with local friends, and enjoy sharing good food and wine with lots of laughs around the table and the fireplace. Always a lot of fun trying out new recipes on our guests…no failures so far! If only they knew!!!

Had a busy week with lots of activity here at Le Coudeau. We FINALLY got rid of the pole lanterns that were around the house when we bought it. Had considered reusing them in the garden, but the thought of trenching for the electrical and installing something I never liked to begin with just made no sense. So they have been sold and picked up and now I can blow the leaves from where they’ve been laying for months! Speaking of blowing, Theo bought me a new toy—a gas powered backpack leaf blower (Mario would be so proud of me!!!) Theo likes to BUY things for ME to use. Go figure… 🤪

Pretty cute model I found to help market these, huh?

We also had an antique bibliotheque delivered for my studio. The last boxes to finally unpack are all books from my design library. Tomorrow I will tackle moving some boxes and start to organize the contents of my latest furniture acquisition. I get more and more excited as my studio starts coming together. Not really planning to work any more, just keep the books for inspiration and have the studio as my “Chick Cave” to do my thing.

Great storage for my STUFF!

The other really, really exciting thing that was delivered this week are the two club chairs that I had reupholstered and complete our seating arrangement around the fireplace. These quality chairs came from Theo’s parents’ house in Germany and now they have a new lease on life,while bringing some sassy pattern to our living room. They really brighten things up in here. Now waiting for my new rug… and am on the hunt for a side table… and a new console table because I moved some things around… and now I think I want to paint some pieces… it never ends with me…

Old chairs brought back to life.

We’re also working (well, I’m working) on the details of the itinerary for a 6-week road trip we have planned for mid-January to the end of February. Traveling south to the northern coast of Spain, then down the western coast of Portugal, across the Algarve, to Seville and Marbella in southern Spain, then up to see friends on the Mediterranean side of Spain, and home through Barcelona and Toulouse. Whew.

Sneak Peek for 2018 Road Trip

Anyhoo, just catching up with what’s what around here. Hope each of you is safe and sound. Life Is Good.

 

Posted in American Expats in France, Expat Blog, Gardening in the Dordogne, Renovating a Home in France, Southwest France American Expat Blog | 6 Comments

Always Good to Be Home

Just returned from my first trip back to the States in over two years. Enjoyed seeing family and friends, ate tons of Mexican food (which I dearly miss), and bought lots of clothes that simply aren’t available in the EU. Equally important, this journey reinforced my appreciation of life here in France.

After settling back in, we had the most delightful visitors from Germany who were traveling in their camper (a niece of Theo’s half-sister’s husband). Complicated connection, but the nicest couple, who’ve become fast and good friends.

Lunch with Birgit and Alex.

Enjoying a late night bonfire under the stars.

Said au revoir to them yesterday, enjoyed another summer-like evening, made a delicious dinner, then Theo was off to his man cave and I went down to the lower part of our lot where the gardener had burned an enormous mountain of garden cuttings during the day. It was still glowing with an occasional flame, so I took a glass of wine and a chair and enjoyed several hours tending to the large logs that were left to burn. Those of you who know me, know that I love a fire—in the fireplace, in a bonfire, fireworks, etc.

Except after coming in after midnight, I checked my email and found that one of my best friend’s home in Santa Rosa had burned to the ground in the raging fires. It rattled me to the core. How ironic that here I was enjoying my little fire, while this dreadful news was awaiting me. I called her and we talked.

This has affected me beyond belief. Not only was it her retirement dream and a stunning home, I had worked with her to redecorate the house with more contemporary colors and finishes and furnished it to be a high-end executive rental until she retired. Thankfully, her renters had just moved out and the home was unoccupied. Most of the furniture and accessories that went into the house were from our precious Spanish revival home in San Jose. Of course, she had purchased all of the pieces from me, so they were no long ‘mine,’ but the feeling of loss was the same, as each piece was hand picked for our home.

At the end of the day, yes, they are just material things. But they held such memories for us, like Theo’s ‘Italian whorehouse bed,’ which he hand carried back from Milan in the 1980’s and had been a subject of many funny late-night stories, the semi-antique rugs that graced rooms where we had so many fond memories, my gigantic leather Neiman Marcus chairs, an antique chest from Germany, and my beloved collection of flying pigs. I don’t mean to make this about me—it’s simply a journal entry of how this experience has affected me.

My heart goes out to all the families who have lost so much, and the courageous fire fighters who continue the battle to contain the fires. And most of all, love and encouragement to my friend, who plans to rebuild.

Posted in American Expats in France | 1 Comment

Maiden Voyage

Wow, after celebrating my first two years from moving from the states in mid-July, I finally got outta dodge! Full disclosure…this is a long post. And is mostly meant for our own personal diary of the trip, and may be only mildly amusing to a few of you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Finally legal!

To step back a couple of weeks, I finally received my Carte de Sejour (my residency card). After 8 trips and over 840 kilometers to the Préfecture in Perigueux (the government center for our department), I finally got it! Through six nail-biting months, it’s been a true test of patience to experience first-hand what it’s like to be a stranger in your country of residence. I’ve had to remind myself more than a couple of times that that was on my wish list for living as an expat—having experiences outside my comfort zone—but we persevered, never got upset, always jumped through the requested hoops, and finally got there.

So I could finally travel. And Theo’s long-time friend, Wastl, gave us the perfect excuse for a trip, inviting us to help celebrate his 65th birthday and his retirement at a wild bash at his house in Germany. And so the planning began. We decided to go for a week, and booked a flight from our local airport in Bergerac to Brussels Charleroi, where we rented a car and drove the short rest of the way. We had to find someone to stay with the dogs, so I registered with TrustedHousesitters.com. Had a handful of great applicants in the first 48 hours and chose a local American couple. They were the greatest folks we could have ever dreamed of. The dogs are missing them already! And we have become fast friends as well. BONUS!!!

Mmmm, Kölsch…

So last Friday we set out for my maiden adventure (of course, Theo’s been to the states twice already…) I was hungry for a little culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love the small-town life we’ve adopted here, but after two years, yeah, I needed some action! Our host had arranged for us to receive special treatment at a great restaurant on the Rhein when we rolled into Bonn and we really enjoyed our dinner and a few Kölsch beers.

Beautiful streets in Bad Godesberg/Bonn, Germany.

He also arranged a great little hotel for us just a short cab ride from the party. Bad Godesberg, a district of Bonn, is a stunning city full of old mansions, mature trees, and beautiful parks.

Getting silly with all the bubbles!

The party, held at the host’s fabulous villa, was a complete hit. Although we didn’t know many people there, it was so easy to mingle, as most people spoke at least some English (for me). It was a beautiful evening for a party. The buffet was amazingly vast and each dish was incredibly gourmet and delicious. Forgot to take pictures, but it was unforgettable! Beverages were flowing the entire evening, with Theo and I drinking probably more than our fair share of French Champagne. We got silly at some point and started taking photos of each other, then the dessert guy grabbed the camera and took some shots. So fun!

Shake it, don’t break it!

Then the band set up and we danced our butts off. It’s been too long since we’ve been out shaking our booties. We had such a good time! Thanks to Reinhard and Katya for a beyond-awesome time!

We got some good shopping satisfaction in Bonn and had tons of laughs along the way!

No no no no no. In the day, Theo would have given his left nut for this suit…

Then we were off to Theo’s hometown, Bad Breisig. Stayed in a hotel right on the River Rhein’s edge, so we could hear the waves on the rocks all night—so nice.

View from our balcony over the Rhein.

Took a trip up to the ridge where Theo’s parents’ ashes were buried  in biodegradable containers to give back to the forest. Very peaceful and moving.

Burial tree.

Then we were off for three days in Brussels. Stayed in the BEST boutique hotel right downtown, Le Dixseptième (real luxury at very reasonable rates!) We had been to Brussels before, but didn’t soak it up enough. And like I said earlier, we craved a dose of ‘city’ vibes.

Loved, loved all the street musicians, window shopping, crazy gorgeous architecture, the Stella Artois, and even the obligatory French fries. Loved wandering until our feet ached. We definitely got our museum fixes as well. Theo obliged me by accompanying me to the Royal Museums of Fine Art. My target was the Old Masters collection, but since it was ‘free admission’ day, I dragged him all over the place! Was drooling at the paintings and sculptures from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Also hit a special Magritte exhibition.

Old Masters Museum, Brussels

The next day, I indulged Theo by surprising him with a visit to Autoworld. But I had a great time too, seeing these vehicles as works of art. Theo is so knowledgeable about everything, we just HAVE to find an automotive outlet for him in retirement.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda.                                                                                                                                        Theo regrets not buying (and keeping) this Dino 246 Ferrari instead of his first Porsche in 1974.

I’ll leave you with a variety of fun shots from the trip…

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Posted in American Expats in France, Belgium, Bonn, Brussels, Expat Blog, Germany Travel, Traveling in Europe | 6 Comments

Le Tourmania

The Tour de France is coming through our little Lalinde! The whole town is gearing up for about 15 minutes of excitement tomorrow afternoon! I took a little stroll around town this morning and tried to capture the mania. So fun!!!

Decorated bikes and flower garlands are everywhere around town.

 

A colorful one!

 

And yes, the Mairie (town hall) is in on the fun!

 

They’ll be coming across this bridge over the Dordogne River into Lalinde.

 

Here’s the route map for tomorrow, so we’ll see them when they have quite a few kilometers behind them!!!

 

A decroated bike in the window of our favorite cafe in town.

 

Another little bike smothered in plastic fête flowers.

 

So exciting, even our prehistoric cave animals are riding bikes! Such a great logo!

 

This guy will greet the riders after they cross the bridge.

 

Here’s another shot of the bicycle dude for size reference.

 

Decorated wheels are a lot easier to hang than the whole darned bike!

 

The fire breathing dragon sculpture in the bassin. He doesn’t seem to mind mother swan and the 4 juveniles!

 

The town bassin with a load of canoes, 3 boats with banners, a bienvenue sign, with the famously planted Lalinde bridge over the canal in the background. Our house is just over yonder hill.

 

Jazzed up bistro on the square. Our friend did the Lalinde logo and poster above the door.

 

My personal favorite…the polka dot girly bike!

 

Had to throw this pic in simply because this little sweetheart greeted me on a side street.

 

Our ‘shabby chic’ gate to the house awaiting the new iron one, with Cindy’s festive decorations (even though we’re not on the route).

 

And lastly, my decorated bike with overages from a neighboring town. Finished it with French flag colored flowers in the basket!

 

UPDATE:

Waiting for the riders.

The entourage for the Tour de France was so impressive. The crowd was  excited and we cheered and waved crazily at every advertiser and team car that preceded the riders. We waited with baited breath at 4:30. They were running behind. Support cars and gendarmerie still coming through.

Excited for the race. See the big race dude in front of the church?

Then finally the church bells started ringing, cheering started, and we saw the leading two riders come around the corner after passing over the Dordogne bridge. Craziness ensued. The crowd was going wild. Then the pack of bicyclists came FLYING around the corner. We thought it was a good place to be, because they MUST slow down for the corner, right? Au contraire.

 

Then came the support vehicles. Wow.

 

Great event. There was a HUGE screen tv to watch the race, lots of food and drink, nice clouds, and enthusiasm galore. For two not-so-crazy-about-most-sports people, we sure did get caught up in the mania of it all! So fun!!!

Found a great parking place. Walked over “the bridge” planted with beautiful summer displays.

Come to find out, the bunch of canoes and kayaks in the bassin spelled out “LALINDE” for the helicopters taking live video!!!

Our five duckling orphans. I think they are left from the original 9. Mom has been gone for some time. They stick together and are holding firm.

Posted in American Expats in France, Expat Blog, French Traditions, Le Tour de France, Southwest France American Expat Blog, Visiting Dordogne | 11 Comments

A New Addition to the Family

Our family of automobiles, that is!

I’m becoming truly French. Bought the quintessential French car, a Citroën Deux Chevaux, aka, 2CV, Deuche, The Ugly Duckling (Haessliches Entchen), Flying Dustbin, and dozens more.

My new baby.

The 2CV is two-cylinder 425 cc (20+ hp!) front-wheel-drive car developed to be a low-cost vehicle for the common family, with the added bonus of a full-width canvas roll-back “sunroof.” In the 40 years of production, over 3.8 million 2CVs were produced. The Michelin radial tire was first commercialized with the 2CV.

Theo has been jonesing for a cabriolet, but I don’t think this is what he had in mind! In all honesty, she’s my car. And I love her. But Theo does enjoy being driven in her.

I’ve always called this buttercup color “Doris Day Yellow,” harkening back to my younger days watching movies where Doris sported her lovely wardrobe—from swing dresses, to her famous sheath “wiggle” dress, to her elegant gowns. Yes, I wanted to grow up to BE Doris Day. Que sera sera… And so her name is Doris.

While we’re on the subject of cars, thought it would be fun to trip down car-name memory lane:

Lucy, the Red Devil, my 1963 Porsche 356.

This is ‘Lucy,’ aka Lucifer. Enjoyed her for a few years until someone came along and offered TOO MUCH MONEY for her.

Ouch. Damned kangaroos!

Funny story, though. We’ve heard from her current owner (2 owners post Cindy) via his search for me on FaceBook, that she’s now in Australia. Unfortunately, she had a little confrontation with a kangaroo and now needs some bodywork. But it’s been so interesting talking to the current owner and learning about her journey abroad!

Proud papa.

This is ‘Boomerang,’ a 1957 Triumph TR3 that came back to find Theo. He and a friend had restored this very car in 1988. When Theo saw the ad in the newspaper in 2008, he just had to call to see if it was her. Indeed, he had found the twin sister to his infamous vintage race car, so temptation prevailed. Eventually, Boomerang ended up with an east coast collector.

ZPuttPutt

This is ‘ZPutPut’ (read The Putt Putt with a German accent), which was my most recent sale before our move to France. A 1979 Beetle Cabriolet that was my kick-around-town car in Santa Cruz. Wished we could have brought her with us, but it simply didn’t make sense. Her vanity plates were ZPutPut, which the new owner wanted to keep. So if anyone sees her around San Jose, you can honk and wave!

Margaret’s toothy grin.

This is ‘Margaret,’ my 1953 Chevy Belair that we bought at a vintage car show. We promised each other “ice in our veins” to resist any temptation of purchasing, but after walking by her numerous times in the day, with the price dropping with each passing, we couldn’t resist!!! Margaret went into a collection in Cupertino.

This is ‘Orangie,’ our umpteenth and last 914. She is a 1970 Porsche 914/6 that Theo raced at Laguna Seca and Sears Point. She was sold to a gentleman in Germany.

The Turd on the Chopping Block. Ended up going to Japan.

This is ‘The Turd.’ Theo’s other race car, a 1969 Porsche which started out life as a 912 and ended up with a 250 hp 911 RS spec motor. Don’t ask about the name, but if you know my dad, Stub, you just may know that the essence came from a Stubbyism.

Theo wanted me to add this action shot of him racing the Turd.

Our LOVE CAR, a 1992 Porsche Carrera 2 Targa

This is the ‘Love Car.’ Theo and I bought this car 50/50 after dating for six weeks! Guess we knew we had a future together!!! We joke now about buying the car “When we was in LOVE!!!” We also sold her before the move to Europe, but thankfully our friends in Germany adopted her, so she’s still ‘in the family.’

Hope you enjoyed our car nostalgia. What names have you given to your cars?

 

Today’s Update: It’s hot in France right now, so tonight after yet another dip in the pool, we looked at each other, and said, “This isn’t the 21st, is it?” Oops, our wedding anniversary. Good thing we’re on the same page as far as forgetfulness and not holding anybody’s feet over the fire to remember dates!!! Thought I’d share a photo from our wedding day, with the sun setting over the Pacific just after we said our ‘I Do’s.’

Fourteen short years ago tonight.

Posted in American Expats in France, Buying a Car in France, Expat Blog, Southwest France American Expat Blog, Visiting Dordogne | 11 Comments

Wait, Where Did May Go?

Enjoying our first Spring in the house. So excited to see what blooms emerge from the plants that have outlived the construction. We are simply enjoying our surroundings and our retirement.

We were so happy to welcome two sets of visitors to Le Coudeau in May:

First, our friends Jürgen and Kathrin from Javea, Spain (eastern coast-Costa Blanca) drove up with their oh-so-sweet doggie, Max. Their stay was short, but we had some good eats, some chuckles, and a wee-bit-o’sightseein.’ We enjoyed extended stays at their house in the past when we were retirement house hunting in Spain and still owe them so much for their hospitality. Hope they can stay longer next time!

Wonderful friends from Spain, Kathrin and Jürgen with their dog Max.

And we just said goodbye to our second couple, Bruce and Jan, from Stockton, California. We shared in Bruce’s search for information on where his dad’s plane went down during WWII in Mussidan (just 45 km from here). He was fortunate enough to not only connect with the town’s mayor, but also with a local teacher very involved in curating local history, a council member who spoke excellent English and acted as translator, and even met the son of the boy who saw the plane land in a field adjacent to the family chateau in 1944. We not only got to visit the chateau, but were able to see the exact field where his dad had executed an emergency landing. A local photographer showed up to our meeting and they are featuring Bruce’s story in the upcoming town newsletter. Again, a whole lot of great food, perhaps a little too much wine (I speak only for myself here), tons of laughs, and great stories were shared.

Bruce’s dad landed his plane in distress after seeing a Free France flag on this chateau. Lucky guy landed a short 2 weeks after the Germans left!

I was super busy the first half of the month just putting some finishing touches on the guest house. I’m almost done. Then I will post some photos. Been having a blast painting some of the furniture pieces that were left in the house when we bought it and am FINALLY able to add some decorative details. I promise a complete exposé when it’s all finished.

The garden has been keeping us busy as well. The front beds are planted and growing in quickly, the rose garden is in and mulched, we’ve power washed all 385 square meters of hardscape, hosed off the summer furniture, opened up the pool, and are happy for the wonderful mix of warm weather with occasional showers that southwest France provides.

Mail order plants were simply easier for me to get started. Interesting packaging!

We enjoy listening to all the birds that live here. They are as excited about spring as we are! We know we have cuckoos, magpies, crows (they can move on anytime now), the hoopoe bird, and many more that we’re just learning about. We’re certain there are two baby owls in the pigeonniere, as we hear them squawking every night when the parents go out hunting. And the town swans have successfully hatched six babies.

I was lucky enough to see them when they were one day old.

A little bit of work continues with the house. Finally found someone to finish my backsplash in the kitchen and do a laundry list of other small jobs.

Grouting of the backsplash and a little facelift on the hood. Full pics coming soon.

A couple of weeks ago, instead of my usual French lesson, my tutor and I snuck off to this hidden gem of a garden. Would have taken me years to learn about it without her guidance. Finished off the warm afternoon with a couple of Saint Germain cocktails at our favorite local watering hole. The roses were just beginning to pop, but the peonies were amazing! I’ll leave you with a photo tour…

‘Chartreuse du Columbier,’ typical architecture for this part of France. The tree on the right is hundreds of  years old!

Love the way the climber is espaliered around the corner and adore the bell, of course!

Amazing dovecote in the background with lovely peonies.

To-die-for glasshouse.

The ‘way’ to the music pavilion. There are artichokes planted in the urns lining the path that are sure to be breathtaking in a couple of months!

An outbuilding with windows, but no glass. So nice on a hot afternoon!

The back of the house—a little more formal.

Great iron piece. I just loved the use of allium mixed in the beds. So fun!

Rustic wall alongside formal gardens. Love it!

What French garden is complete without some hedgework?

And my favorites, HUGE fuschia peonies.

************************

UPDATE on the Family of Barn Owls in the Pigeonniere:

Today I went out to look for something in the pigeonniere and when I opened the door I found a big clump of fuzzy hair. Realized it was two baby owls that had fallen from the nest and down two floors!

Wrapped them in towels and put them gently into a box. Then ran to the computer to do some research on barn owl babies that fall out of the nest and followed their advice. Felt their bellies to see if they were starving and they felt fine. No obvious broken bones, and their feathers are developing, so I am hoping they kind of floated down and didn’t drop like a lead balloon.

Borrowed an extension ladder from the contractor, climbed up to the ‘attic’ of the dovecote and found the nest. To our surprise, there were two more babies and Mom and Pop were there resting too. Put these two rebels back in the nest and are hoping that feeding continues as usual tonight. Closed up the openings in the floors left by the last contractor, so it won’t happen again. And crossing our fingers for continued screeching tonight!!! Think we’ll source some frozen mice and/or chicks to put out for mom and dad to feed them, just in case they’ve picked the fields clean. Here are some photos:

This was Mr. Squawky, obviously the older and stronger one.

This was the smaller of the two. At first he was ‘playing dead,’ then when I wasn’t looking, he fluffed right up and was looking around. So precious!

Posted in American Expats in France, Expat Blog, Gardening in the Dordogne, Southwest France American Expat Blog, Visiting Dordogne | 5 Comments

Things are looking rosy!

Project of the moment is ALL ABOUT THE GARDEN.

My new residents are fresh in from England and enjoying a luxurious overnight bath before establishing their place in the garden.

The future home of the Le Coudeau David Austin Rose Garden.

Since we’re on the cusp of roses bursting into bloom from the recent heat wave, yet our final freeze of the year coming tomorrow, was torn between bare-root and potted roses. Once I found all the potted varieties I wanted were sold out, it was an easy decision. Asked some local experts and they thought it was absolutely fine to plant bare root until the end of April. So, whew! Saved some money and should have some really strong roses to boot!

We’re loving springtime at Le Coudeau, and with the help of our Jardin Major-Domo, Christian, we’re quickly moving along. With emphasis on getting the front beds prepared, we work every day to create a lovely entrance to the house.

Spreading the mulch before planting and irrigating. Not the way I’m used to doing it, but Christian is THE BOSS. (Yeah right!)

Even Theo’s getting into the action, even though these sacks of wood mulch are heavier than they look! Maybe if he stares at them long enough, they’ll jump off the trailer!!!

Since I’m sure you’ll all just DYING to see another picture of me, here I am in my element. The reason I fell in love with this house…the garden!

And some random springtime shots around town…

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Posted in American Expats in France | 3 Comments

Disappointing Finishing Touches

Just a little rant today. FINALLY got the delivery notice that my nightstands for the bedroom were coming.

The mysterious commodes for the master bedroom nightstands…

I ordered them in mid-November. Been patiently waiting since the promised delivery date of 31 March. Well the delivery guys showed up with one, and only one, today. After unpacking it from it’s very fine box, I inspected it and found multiple deep scratches on both sides of the commode. Mustering together our finest French, we decided to REFUSE the shipment and sent it back. Argh!!! So now we wait to hear from the retailer…will they refund our money (unlikely) or simply give us store credit (likely)? Grrr!!!

My theory is that they didn’t have the TWO we ordered, so they sent the ONE they had, regardless of condition. Very disappointed, but I’m not reordering these. And so the search goes on. Maybe we’ll just keep the smaller antique commodes we have now—they’re both nice, but not quite the same height. Was so looking forward to proceeding with picking some table lamps once the side tables were in place, but guess I’ll put everything on hold until the headboard is upholstered (that project is slated to begin in about a week—yehaa!)

Stay tuned for the eventual big reveal…

 

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