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  • Writer's pictureCatherine

Frog time

Summer has come suddenly after a long period of rain and thunderstorms that left many of us down emotionally. And that’s when we should’ve written this article. Because now, we’re overwhelmed at Le Boulay. With all that needs planting and harvesting in the garden, plus finally starting to see our family and friends again as we start to come out of confinement.

But we’re not going to wait for autumn to give you our news, because there’s a lot! Especially as we have to announce the winners of our prize draw we mentioned in our last article…

Jacque and Gisèle (Chatelais, 49) are our lucky winners of 2 nights in La Tiny Kiwi!

Congratulations and we look forward to welcoming you to Le Boulay!

And as we loved drawing winners, it's a bit like at the casino, you get addicted very quickly, we decided to do it again! Next time for 1 night in La Tiny Kiwi ☺ Suspense!

As we said, there are loads of things to say, so we’re not going to go into all the details. Especially if you’re reading this under the sun, with a small cocktail in hand, it could lead to sunburn!

Let’s go back to the confinement of April. For the full 3 weeks, we hosted a lovely family and Magali had 6 little “working” hands to keep occupied (I had to work full-time as usual). One of our creations was a donation box that will go in the small vegetable garden on the way to the Tiny House. Our guests can help themselves to fruits and vegetables in the garden (if it grows, of course) and give a few coins in the box for what they’ve taken. We’ll put a price range on for each vegetable on the box as a guide, and we’ll remain available for any help or advice if needed.

We also had the chance to visit 2 farms: the first, La Ferme aux 5 chemins, a 5 minute bike ride from our home. It’s an educational farm that’ll open in July where we were able to feed the baby goats and lambs with a bottle, it was really great! Then we went to Blue Pig Farm, to see Carl's "blue" pigs running around in the fields with their little piglets. We were also treated to the impressive moment that a huge swarm of bees, or rather a black cloud of thousands of bees passed over our heads as if we weren’t there! It all happened so quickly, but it was something we’ll never forget.

Speaking of bees, our neighbour called us to tell us that her hives were swarming, that is to say that her bees were dividing because of lack of space, and to elect a new younger queen, and so part of the colony was flying to a new home. So, we recovered this swarm and our hive is now finally inhabited again! We're hoping to have honey this year, but we’ll have to wait and see.

After several years of accumulation, we were also (finally!) able to get rid of the pile of scrap metal that was right next to the Tiny House. 2.5 tons of scrap metal less completely relieves the mind and changes the landscape! And above all, it makes room for new projects, including a parking space for our visitors, and Magali’s future greenhouse...

In the garden, Magali's uncle Dom came to teach and help us build the fence for our 2 alpacas that will join us very soon. We'll keep you posted in 2-3 weeks ☺ I’m still working on the gate, and Magali’s working on the design of their future shelter.

In the good weather, we’ve started to harvest the flowers of the elder tree, and we’ll soon be able to treat you with our syrups and champagnes, this year we bet on a big quantity, trying out several different recipes for each to compare and find the best one for next year.

We've been hesitant to share our experience with our pets lately, as some bad news has fallen upon us, and while our goal isn’t to dampen your spirits, we felt it was important to show that all is not always well at Le Boulay. We had a few difficult weeks, Marley (our duck) started to incubate her 14 eggs, but had the misfortune to go through all these storms, which unfortunately made her eggs rot one after the other. It was a huge stress for her, and also for us because removing the dead babies from broken eggs almost every day was quite difficult, even if at the beginning we didn't want more ducks, we had gotten used to the idea of discovering her future cute creatures. We also lost Carrot, our lop-earred bunny, who had become the mascot of La Tiny Kiwi. We had gotten used to seeing her and her babies roaming about the place, as if nothing could reach them. But now, we only have one of her babies left, who we imagine is now quite lonely. So, a big void has been created. And what to do in the future, should we lock them up or let them roam free and come back to eat when they want to. They seem so happy outside, but it’s also dangerous in the countryside so it’s a hard choice.

We also had 3 hedgehogs visiting our garden, all of whom seemed in perfect health, but unfortunately following a storm, we found the baby in a sad state one morning. Magali took him urgently to the refuge of the ark in Château Gontier, which took care of it. So we hope that he’ll grow to adulthood with their care, but we’ll never know. Another hedgehog didn't have a chance a few days later. So useful in the garden, but so fragile, it's hard to see a wild animal go, even if it's not like our cats or dogs…

To finish on better news, we had visits from the tourism office of Segré en Anjou Bleu, as well as from Accueil Paysan, with whom we’ll work very soon, and you will be able to find us on their websites. Magali also participated in a work with the town hall to improve the walking and heritage trails in Le Bourg d'Iré, hoping to offer you a better experience during your discovery outings ☺

Last little thought for our French readers, just an idea of book to read for this summer: Les remparts de la colère by Bernard Glotin. We had the pleasure to meet him during his stay in La Tiny Kiwi and look forward to reading his book, inspired by the city of Guérande.

On that note, we leave you to enjoy the sun, the garden, your friends and family and a great summer to come. We hope to see you soon, with very good things to tell ☺

A bientôt!


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