mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life


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ATELIER construction de nichoirs pour hirondelles

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We went to a workshop to learn how to make nichoirs – nests – for hirondelles – swallows – at la Maison du Parc, St Brisson.    It was one of a series of ateliers organised by La Parc naturel régional du Morvan and la Société d’Histoire Naturelle d’Autun.  We learnt a lot about the birds and discovered that there are two types of hirondellesL’Hirondelle de Fenetre and L’Hirondelle Rustique.  L’Hirondelle de Fenetre like their nests to be up close under a ledge, window or balcony.

L’Hirondelle Rustique often make their nests in or around barns and old farm buildings.   L’Hirondelle Rustique have a wide chest and the tail looks longer and more pointed than  LHirondelle de Fenetre.

Numbers of hirondelles have declined dramatically.  When we first bought our house here in Le Morvan we would regularly see hirondelles at the end of a hot summer’s day swooping to catch flies. Sadly their habit is under threat due to old buildings being renovated, the increased use of insecticides and predators such as cats and pigeons.

Charlotte

Charlotte getting hands-on!

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Mix it up!

You need plaster, water, generous handfuls of earth and straw – mix together to make a paste.

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Use a bowl as a mould and cover half the bowl. As the paste sets you can feel the heat, leave to set for around 30 minutes and then gently ease the bowl away.

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Voila! A chateau de luxe for the hirondelles!

We had an interesting walk around the parc looking at birds nests that had been made  to encourage the birds to nest.  There was an impressive tower or bird hotel housing rows of nests, it has been built high in the air to keep the birds safe.

The hirondelles are due to arrive between March and April.

We hope they like the nid and move in!

 

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Beating the Blues

 

 

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Vauminot, Lac de Pannecière

 

It’s been a hard few months.  A long winter and health problems since last October have made it extra challenging.  Husband hurt his back working on daughter’s renovation project.  He went from doing pretty much everything around the house to nothing.  A huge shock for me!  I had to get stuck in, despite my back problems and do all the dog walks in rain, fog and snow, the cooking and work too.  Bringing the wood in was the particularly tough.  Believe me there is no romance in lugging wood however warm and inviting wood burners look in homes magazines, the reality is a bit different.

Two bouts of very debilitating flu since New Year has not been fun either. It felt like Groundhog Day.  I just had to focus on getting through each grey day.

And all the time coping with a daughter with severe epilepsy.  So yes I have felt sorry for myself, probably been moaning too much and been seriously questioning how we can manage living here as we get older.

Today Husband is on the mend, our hacking coughs are gradually going and the sun has come out for the whole day!  Instantly life seems brighter.