Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Chickens

There is not a farm without chickens, and now this one has them too! Through a Dutch initiative to rescue laying chickens before they are slaughtered called Red een Legkip, we ordered four chickens. Today we could pick them up at Vogel en Zoogdieren Opvangcentrum, an animal rescue in Limburg. In the end we came home with six ladies!
Please check out both amazing organisations, and at least like them on facebook!
Champs des Alouettes: The Chickens - 1
The six ladies in the car, thank god that I have a huge banana-car.
Champs des Alouettes: The Chickens - 2
The first moments in their new house, not as bad as they thought it was..
Champs des Alouettes: The Chickens - 3

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Since we now own a wine cellar: Mead

This week in an effort to clean the inside of the house (yes, that is that ugly C-word again), we decided to muck out the wine cellar. Besides finding a vintage sink, ancient Stella glasses, and a bottle of holy water from Lourdes, we dug up a pretty nice space. And, since our been making stuff was already close we decided to give making mead a shot (don’t mind the mess in our kitchen, we’re still living out of boxes, do have a look at that ceiling – love it!). I found a recipe online that we followed:

Uni Therapy: Mead 1

1 package of Red Star "Premier Cuvee" yeast
4 pounds of clover honey = 1.82 kg
1 gallon of spring water = 3.79 l
8 ounces of Black berries - Frozen = 226 gr
1 whole clove
inch and a quarter ( 1 1/4 ) long section of a vanilla bean. Split length-wise.

First set your black berries out so that they have enough time to thaw. I try to pick out the darkest of the berries at this point. I use about half a pound for this recipe. This amount gives the mead a wonderful dark red colour and just enough taste of Blackberry to make it special. Once they have thawed crush them in a bowl and set aside.

Pour about one third of a gallon of spring water into a pot. Gently heat the water on the stove to about 90 degrees (= 30 Celsius) ( a candy thermometer is very helpful here ) and add your honey, being sure to keep stirring evenly so the honey doesn't get burned and the mixture becomes homogenous. Remove from the stove and stir for another minute, adding spring water until you have used about a half of your gallon jug. Let this sit to cool to room temperature.

Using a funnel, pour your honey and water from the pot into a 1 gallon carboy. Pour in enough of the remaining spring water so there is about an inch left until the gallon mark. Now you can add the yeast and the nutrient. Shake for about 4 minutes and add blackberries. Shake for at least another minute so that all of the ingredients are mixed and the batch has an even dark red colour.

Let this ferment for 2-3 weeks. Siphon into a clean 1 gallon carboy leaving behind as much sediment as you can.

Take your section of vanilla bean after it has been prepared and place it into a muslin tea bag. Steam the bag and place into the mead. After 4-5 days check the taste of the mead. If there is enough of a vanilla flavour remove the tea bag. Repeat this process with the clove. I like to leave it in until there is just a hint of clove. [from here]

In stead of blackberries we used a frozen ‘forest fruit’ mixture from the Colruyt. So far it’s bubbling away nicely in our wince cellar.. waiting for lots of other bubbling friends to join him.

Uni Therapy: Mead 2

The update

It seems like ages ago that I’ve written a post again. So, here’s the update: since last time we have officially become home owners!! Since then we have done a huge amount of work that all boils down to two things:

1. Carry stuff to a different location (this includes both moving everything we own from our old apartment to out new place, and getting rid of all the old junk that was still in the barns (yes, that is plural).

2. Clean. And I hate cleaning! First of all we had to clean our old apartment meticulously for the obvious reason that we had the most irritating lying piece of scum you can imagine as a landlord (I honestly don’t care if he reads this, you miserable piece of shit). Then we had to clean our new house. The previous owner had rented it out to a very very dirty person who apparently brushed her two huskies daily inside! To make things worse she was not of the cleaning type, and liked living in a house filled with dog hair. So, for the last day I’ve been cleaning up her (and her two mutts) filth. Such fun! (Yes, I’ve been listening to Miranda again)

Now that our daily activities are out of the way it’s time for some good news. First of all my adopted-Tajik-sister gave birth to her second son yesterday!! Secondly, today was (I hope) my last exam ever!! Now I just have to wait until September 13th before I’m officially an ‘MSc’.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our first night in our new home

Uni Therapy: Moowing machines
Since everything was way to icky to sleep inside we decided to have a camping night. And yes, these lovely ladies are our moowing machines. They’re on loan from a local farmer! Furthermore Amat is having a ball following the ladies around, just until they become curious and come a little to close. :D
By the way, I really have to start thinking about a new blog title, this one is almost out dated…

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back in Belgium

Now that I’m back home I’ve finally had the time to upload the video I took while watching René bake his bread. I added it to the corresponding post. But just to be sure, here it is again.

So, now that I’m home it’s time to get packing! We’re signing for our new place this Thursday (yaaaaay), Friday we’ll be cutting open some walls so that the cable guy can come, finally on Saturday we’ll be moving all our stuff. Thank God Tom’s dad and little brother will be helping us out. As always I’ll try to make as many photos as possible.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Stove Story

Our new place has a perfect place for an old fashioned stove in the living room. However the stove itself is missing. Luckily I rememberd my parents buying one second hand over a decade ago in Holland, and bringing it down to France. Once there it has been gathering dust and rust in a corner of the barn. After some negotiations we got the stove!! Now only to de-rust it, paint it, and get it back together.
Uni Therapy: The Stove Story 1
The Before
Uni Therapy: The Stove Story 2
The During
Uni Therapy: The Stove Story 3
The After
The de-rusting took about eight hours, and has certainly shortened my life with a couple of months. But the result is great! The next step is taking it back to Belgium, painting it, and fitting it into our new house!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Restoring the well – before & after

Uni Therapy: Restoring the well B&A 1

Finally, the well is finished!. Everything has dried up perfectly, and the well is ready to be taken back into use. To our great pleasure the river-stone top turned out really pretty (as you can see below).

Uni Therapy: Restoring the well B&A 2

Uni Therapy: Restoring the well B&A 3

Friday, August 16, 2013

Around Montpezat-de-Quercy

 

Map picture

 

Many of the villages in southern France look like time has stopped. When you can think away the cars and the people on their cell phones, you can imagine how these villages looked like fifty years ago, or a hundred years ago, or even longer ago. Montpezat-de-Quercy is one of those typical villages with a long and rich history.

Uni Therapy: Around Montpezat-de-Quercy 1

Uni Therapy: Around Montpezat-de-Quercy 2

 

Uni Therapy: Around Montpezat-de-Quercy 3

Besides the dreamy streets and French cafés Montpezat has a Collégiale (collegiate church) that was built by Cardinal Pierre des Prés (1288-1361) in 1337. One of the main features in this church are the amazingly detailed Flemish tapestries form the sixteenth century depicting the life of Saint Martin.

Uni Therapy: Around Montpezat-de-Quercy 4

Uni Therapy: Around Montpezat-de-Quercy 5

Uni Therapy: Around Montpezat-de-Quercy 6

Uni Therapy: Around Montpezat-de-Quercy 7

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Restoring the well–part 2

Uni Therapy: Restoring the well - part 2-1

The front of the well had a huge hole in it. It once began as a small crack but in time some of the stones have fallen out. Using metal rods we have been able to repair most of the hole.

Uni Therapy: Restoring the well - part 2-2

Big parts of the top (old concrete) have been coming off. At first we wanted to cover the top with our chalk mixture, but in the end we decided to decorate it with river stones. This way we hoped to both restore it, and show that we have restored it. I know that sounds a little strange, but I hope the final pictures will show you what I mean.

Uni Therapy: Restoring the well - part 2-3

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Gardening in the small

Meanwhile back in Belgium, the “garden” is growing quite well.

Little green banana:

Little green banana

Things exploring new worlds, new civilisations, boldly going where no… ahem.

2013-08-07_19-56-01_961

Tomato section:

2013-08-07_19-56-24_867

With little nearly-red balls of fire!

2013-08-07_19-59-18_835

And also some flowers:

2013-08-07_19-59-35_929

Anything is possible with enough watering and singing and loving care!

Le Fournil de René

Yesterday our neighbour asked me to help out with making bread. Locally this is still done very traditionally. René gets up at six in the morning to prepare the dough, and around nine the furnace is lit and the bread is folded into the right shape.

Uni Therapy: Le Fournil de René 1

The bread is laid out and covered to prevent them from drying out.

Uni Therapy: Le Fournil de René 2

The fire is lit to heat the oven. Afterwards the burnt wood is pulled out and a piece of newspaper is inserted to measure the heat. If the newspaper goes brown the oven is at an ideal temperature. If it burns in any way the oven is too hot and you have to wait for it to cool down a little.

The bread is then flipped onto a small board using the folds in the fabric. From this board the bread is sled onto a larger board and placed into the oven.

Uni Therapy: Le Fournil de René 3

Uni Therapy: Le Fournil de René 4

Once the bread is brown and crusty they are taken out one by one.

Uni Therapy: Le Fournil de René 5

And voila the end result! Amazing traditionally made bread by René.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Restoring the well – part 1

Uni Therapy: Restoring the well part one - 1Uni Therapy: Restoring the well part one - 2

Our well has definitely known better days, and is in desperate need of restoring. As you can see on the before pictures above stones have been falling out and the old cement is crumbling. If we would leave it for a couple more years without a facelift, we wouldn't have a well any more.

Uni Therapy: Restoring the well part one - 3

Under the all seeing eye of the dog (aka the boss) we have taken out loose parts. We do this part by part, careful not to dislodge the general structure of the wall. The good stones we keep, the bad ones we throw. After cleaning out a hole we puzzle together a new one, using the old and new stones. The puzzles are stuck in using a mixture of 3 parts sand, one part chalk, and some water. This mixture is less rigid than cement and is thus more suitable for our old (and moving) buildings. Everything made of cement cracks and tears within a couple of years in this region.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress!

Mum and the dog on the tractor

Uni Therapy: Mum on a tractor

Saturday, August 03, 2013

St-Etienne Cathedral – Cahors

Uni Therapy: St. Etienne Church - Cahors 1

The side door is the only one that is used to enter St. Etienne cathedral in Cahors (Dept. Lot). On Saturday the square in front of the cathedral is used for the weekly market. Even though the square is buzzing with activity, the cathedral and adjacent abbey are quiet and peaceful.

Uni Therapy: St. Etienne Church - Cahors 2

Uni Therapy: St. Etienne Church - Cahors 3

Not every statue has survived the hand of time. However,some are detailed enough to see what they symbolize.

Uni Therapy: St. Etienne Church - Cahors 4

Last but not least is the little mistake just above the main altar. To mask it in a divine way they have decided to put tow little angels in the space of the misplaced beam. You can see them above. The ceiling of the ship of the cathedral is one of the main attractions. It is decorated with a 14th century fresco depicting the stoning of St. Etienne. I And it pulls away the attention from this little mistake above.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Off to France




I'm off to see my parents today. For me that means roadtripping to the south of France. 
See you soon guys!


Thursday, August 01, 2013

DIY Hairy Buddha Bust

Uni Therapy: DIY Hairy Buddha Bust 1

Remember the Medusa bust I posted about a couple of days ago? Using it as a source of inspiration, we decided to make them ourselves.

What you need:

  • Hollow bust (we used a Buddha head)
  • Stone drill bit
  • Stone cutter
  • Potting ground
  • A ‘hairy’ plant
  • Ear and eye protection (you’ll need it)

Uni Therapy: DIY Hairy Buddha Bust 2

First of all we drilled a couple of holes in the bottom of the Buddha. Then we drew a very nip-and-tuck-ish cutting line through its hair. Tom used a stone saw to cut through the stone. I have to tell you, it really felt like preforming brain surgery on a Buddha! We then put potting ground in, and planted a pretty hairy plant. We’re so happy with the result.. it feels so zen!

Uni Therapy: DIY Hairy Buddha Bust 3

Uni Therapy: DIY Hairy Buddha Bust 4

Uni Therapy: DIY Hairy Buddha Bust 5

Honestly, I have the bestest boyfriend ever!!