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Holiday Snaps

Posted by cameladventures on October 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (1)


It's back to business as usual here at Valhalla Farm after our lovely riding and camping holiday last month.

First we explored the beautiful and rugged landscape of the Ardèche, rock climbing in the mountains and kayaking along the river in the Gorges d'Ardèche








 Then we headed further south to Provence and the Côte d'Azur.     

 Below:  Ready to move on.....  this is what you call fully loaded !


     Below: Near Arles (Côte d'Azure)  -  Darren in the chapel of an ancient monestary
 which was carved out of solid rock. The first inhabitants were hermits, in the 5th Century, living in small caves. The monks arrived about one hundred years later and began to build what, over the years, became quite an elaborate and huge building with the chapel, cells, a common room and a wine making room, all of which can be seen today.

Walking around where a whole community of people had lived more than two thousand years ago was amazing.         


    The town of Arles has been built around the remains of a Roman amphitheatre.  The mixture of old buildings and new, quaint little shops, restaurants, large squares and tiny residential streets makes for a unique atmosphere.
We liked this town a lot and enjoyed a long, lazy lunch while watching the world go by from our spot on the busy main square. 







I knew we should have built an ark

Posted by cameladventures on May 21, 2013 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)


I don't care what the weather man says
If the weather man says it's raining
What's the use complaining?
..... La de daa de daa.....

Sorry, just trying to cheer things up a bit with a song because the grey sky and pouring rain are making the world outside my window look blummin' miserable!
     Apart from the odd dry, sunny day here and there it has been cold and raining almost continuously for about two months.  Yuch!
     The grass is growing like crazy but it never stays dry long enough to keep on top of all the cutting and strimming.  So, we recently enlisted the help of Fred's young sheep


The pigs ignored their visitors from the start but the birds had quite a shock and kept a wary distance at first.  However, they soon got used to having their new friends around and all was peaceful and calm in the poultry paddock once again.



Some happy spring news:  Beatrix hatched six chicks.  They're all chubby and healthy and sooooo very cute








Oops!... Spoke too soon

Posted by cameladventures on February 26, 2013 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)


It seems the few warmer, sunny days were just a little taster of the spring which, evidently, is still a long way off yet.  Back came the snowfall, heavier than before, non-stop for three days.  The pigs and birds have mostly been hiding indoors but they're all out and about  today as the snow has stopped and the sun is shining. 
     Phoenix and our doggy guests have been having a great time.









Bye-bye snow, Hello spring

Posted by cameladventures on February 18, 2013 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (0)

    January 2013



A new year draws closer

Posted by cameladventures on December 1, 2012 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Winter is here.  I know that because the cold bit through to my bones this morning as I walked dogs, crunching through the frost which left the whole landscape blanketed in white until lunch time.  The sun is shining now but the temperature remains icy cold.

It's not all bad news.  Temperatures below freezing will mean we can soon evict the squatters from our attic.


The cosy, and rather large, nest pictured above is home to some very aggressive and nasty characters known to the French as frélon and to us as hornets.
However, they are not hornets like any you would see in the UK.
If you haven't ever encountered a French hornet...  imagine Mike Tyson, after a year taking steroids, wearing a black & yellow stripey jumper and you'll have a good idea.
     As for the aggression... again, imagine Mike Tyson after a year taking steroids... but,  in a really, really BAD mood!!!
     These creatures actually cause several human fatalities each year here in France.

Darren did have a bout with one lone squatter in the summer.
It happened late one night, in our kitchen.
Darren was armed with a large can of 'Raid' but despite spraying half the contents at the creature (and all over the kitchen) Mr. Mike Stripey-Jumper just kept flying at Darren in attack mode.
Of course I helped  -  by keeping myself and Phoenix in the lounge while I poked my head around the door and shouted helpful instructions.
Darren did win that particular bout, eventually,  but not before sustaining injury in the form of a nasty sting to his chin. 

So, you can imagine our reluctance to attempt to deal with the nest before severely cold weather has either killed them off or at least made them drowsy enough to give us a fighting chance.
     Today's winter weather has inspired confidence  -  the squatters' days are numbered.  We have the equipment at the ready and for them, the end is nigh.

I am hoping it is only for the frélon that the end is nigh.
Some would have us believe the ancient Mayan calendar predicted the world will end on 21st December 2012.
That would be very inconvenient indeed, we have lots of plans for 2013!
I guess we shall just have to wait and see.
Que sera, sera  -  what will be, will be.

In the meantime..........

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas


Autumn is on it's way

Posted by cameladventures on September 18, 2012 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Summer has stretched on, the sun seemingly unwilling to leave us just yet.
Although it was a litlle late coming this year, the summer has been beautiful with lots of hot (sometimes almost unbearably hot!) sunny days.

Today is overcast and much cooler (though still shorts and T-shirt temperature).
I think autumn really is on it's way now.
The hazelnut trees are dropping their nuts for me to collect from the grass and the apple trees are full to bursting so I shall have to start picking those too.

Below:  some photos from our summer at Valhalla farm

Puddle & Pixie are no longer little ducklings.....



Our neighbour's pigeons are regular visitors in the poultry pen. They particularly like the duck pond.....


 I'm not sure if this one fell in or just felt like taking a bath (when he climbed out he shook his feathers and acted all "cool" as if it was all part of his daily personal hygiene routine :)  .....


We have some mint next to the front doorsteps which the butterflies loved (at any point during each day there would be at least five or six butterflies there) and, later on, also the honey bees.....



Of all our visitors, the little gecko-type creatures are the most shy .....


We have been very busy with our 'Dog Holidays' this year and have had lots and lots of lovely guests. So, Phoenix has enjoyed the summer with lots of new friends and playmates ..... (1st photo, Phoenix, now all grown up) .....








Head for the Hills

Posted by cameladventures on July 18, 2012 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)




 At the end of last month we made the most of a brief period without any canine guests and popped off for a few days, on the bike, to the Rhone-Alps region.

It is a beautiful mountainous region - the start of The Alps -  with breathtaking views everywhere you look.

And, the roads were just made for motorbikes!   .....



We stayed at a great camp site, near Grenoble.  They have cute little huts so we didn't have to take our tent,  just sleeping bags and cooking gear, etc., which means there was even a little room left in the paniers for a couple of changes of clothes!


 We had a fab few days.  It was just what we needed to recharge our batteries and feel refreshed.





Colours of summer

Posted by cameladventures on June 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (2)


Yes, summer is definitely here.  I know that because we have already had a taste of what's to come...  boiling hot, sunny days followed by thunder storms.

If there is one thing La Creuse does spectacularly well, it's thunder storms.
We have awesome lightning strikes. To watch - from a place of safety, of course! - it really is like an orchestrated display to show off Mother Nature in her most powerful glory.

Talking of mother Nature in all her glory... the rose bush at the front of the house is looking particularly gorgeous this year.
And, the bulbs I planted in my pots are starting to poke their little heads through the soil.
Just keep your fingers crossed that everything grows well and stays alive throughout the summer. If they do, the front of the house will be a riot of colour and I shall be a very happy bunny.

As I am a very impatient person, I couldn't wait for all the planted flowers to grow.
I needed some more colour NOW.
So, I have put to good use the old milk urn we found in the barn.


I think our cat, Leo approves...



New kids on the block...

Posted by cameladventures on June 4, 2012 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)


Yes, we've had some new arrivals at Valhalla Farm.
Eight hens (incl. 2 Silkies) and two Pekin ducklings have taken up residence in the poultry pen and barn.

We cleared out the largest section of our barn, put up some perches, laid down bedding and nesting boxes, built a ramp from the window to the floor inside and voila! - a poultry palace!
(A dog ramp we had serves well as the external ramp to the window and an old metal feeding trough is now a duck pond).
The girls are settling in well and seem very happy in their new home.






Spring Showers

Posted by cameladventures on May 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)


There is nothing quite like the fresh, sweet smell of a wet forest on a warm spring day.

On Saturday there was a break from the recent wintery weather providing hope for a return to spring.
We made the most of it and took our boy, Phoenix and one of our lodgers, Zac, to the Monts de Guéret.
The sun came out and we had a lovely walk.  The boys definitely enjoyed themselves too.