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!

This entry was posted in American Expats in France, Expat Blog, Gardening in the Dordogne, Southwest France American Expat Blog, Visiting Dordogne. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Wait, Where Did May Go?

  1. Donna says:

    Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing. Now I can’t wait to see more as you continue your work!

    • thecindy@mail.com says:

      We are SO close to final pictures. You know how the devil is in the details! We’ve come so far so fast and are delighted with our decision. You and Neal must book a vacation to come see us! We would just love that!!!

  2. Lucy Harendza says:

    Hi Cindy and Theo!

    Your home is amazing. I am in awe of all the work you’ve accomplished in so little time!

    Wish I were there with you guys! Next year! My friend, Kathryn Charpentier, and her husband, Gerard (who is French), are planning on a visit to the Dordogne next year. Seriously thinking of retiring there. I hope to tag along on their trip. May have to give France a serious look myself. 🙂

    PLEASE keep sending your lively tales of French living. So very fascinating!

    -Lucy and Fifi Valentina (my new French bulldog)

    • thecindy@mail.com says:

      Oh Lucy, thanks so much. Still waiting for pics of your place after the painting!!! And I need photos of Fifi!!! I think you would be over the moon about this area. You must come before next year and stay as long as you want.

  3. Bruce & Jan Adams says:

    Cindy and Theo,
    We are still marveling at the most wonderful time we had with you there. Your place is so relaxing and beautiful & you made us feel so welcome. You have done an amazing job in the restoration work. We also fell in love with the area around Lalinde. We are so happy that you get to call it home!! Thanks again for everything.
    Bruce & Jan

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