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  • Writer's pictureCatherine

Never-ending bird names

Well, what a summer! So much has happened over the last three months, it's crazy to finally stop and write it all down. Our Tiny House, La Tiny Kiwi arrived and we've had our first wave of guests; Magali became a farmer (and started selling her produce); we added chickens, ducks, and a rabbit (or four) to our farm; we've restored chairs, made shelves, frames, and compost bins; we've seen friends and family, had picnics and BBQs, seen tourist attractions, visited the beach (!!!) and ate at yummy restaurants. It's a lot to cover (while trying not to bore you), so we'll keep it to the highlights.

The biggest thing that happened, of course, was the arrival of La Tiny Kiwi. After many years of dreaming, two years of planning and preparing, Laetitia and Vincent from the team at Baluchon delivered our Tiny House, La Tiny Kiwi! It was a beautiful, sunny day, and everything went smoothly. Magali's cousin, Mathieu, had arrived in the morning to help us prepare. From around midday, I was anxiously looking out the window or checking the road. Laetitia texted us to say they were about an hour away so we relaxed a little (for about 30 minutes anyway). From then, I was waiting on the road with my phone, ready to start documenting this historic event. When it finally started coming down the road, we couldn't stop smiling. It's so beautiful and it's finally here! We discussed with Laetitia and Vincent where we would be putting it and the best way to get there and then we got to work (well, they did). I was responsible for documenting the event, so I couldn't possibly put the camera down to help, especially when there were rocks in the way or ladders to be mounted to cut branches to clear the path. Luckily, they were the only two things that stopped us for a moment, otherwise it seemed easy. By the time La Tiny Kiwi was in place, Magali's parents had arrived, and all that was left to do was hook it up to the water and electricity and to make sure it was level. Once that was all done, we could celebrate! Especially as more family arrived to see La Tiny Kiwi in reality. Of course, we spent the first two nights inside so we could experience it for ourselves. It's so wonderful and a pleasure to stay in, it's like a little holiday even though we don't leave Le Boulay. We just want to say thanks again to Laetitia, Vincent, and all the team at Baluchon for making us such an amazing Tiny House and making our dreams come true.

Late one July morning, Hubert arrived and said he had our chickens. We were slightly confused by this, as only a few days earlier we'd said we'd be interested but to let us know when he was going to go so we could prepare everything as we didn't have anywhere for them to sleep. Apparently, he'd misheard this bit. So, he handed us each a chicken and now we needed to find what to do with them. We put some chicken wire at one end of where the rabbits are and hoped they'd stay there while we figured out what to do. That didn't happen. Pretty much straight away, one flew over the wall and hid in a blackberry bush. With the help of Hubert, we managed to get her out after some time and put her back with the other one. But again, she flew over the wall and this time went deeper into the blackberry. We'd put lunch on before Hubert arrived, so we decided to eat quickly, find the hens, and then make their new home. When we went out to find them, both hens were no where in sight. We spent the next two to three hours trying to find them, catch them, and build them a home. We'd always had the idea to use an old trailer as their coop, but we wanted to renovate it and make it really nice for them. But as needs must, we put the trailer in place as it was, cleaned it all out, added some drawers for their beds, and put in a lot of hay. We then put up the fence so they wouldn't run off into the garden just yet, and then we moved them into their new home. It was a bit of a rush, and totally unexpected, but we're so happy they're here. We took a while to choose their names, but after a great suggestion from my mum, we're thrilled to introduce Thelma and Louise.

We went to a picnic at the lake in Combree with Magali's high school friends, it was a lovely day. A few days later, Magali got a text from her friend saying when could she come to drop off the rabbit. As you most likely know, my French isn't the best, and although I was following the conversation, I thought Magali had been joking when she said that we would adopt the rabbit of her friend that they were unable to keep. She wasn't joking. Two days after our chickens arrived, Carrote arrived. She's a lovely lop-earred rabbit, that was happy to be carried to her new home. Then something happened: she turned into a monster! Jumping at you every time you went to feed her or fill up her water. She was completely different from when she arrived and we didn't know what to do. Three weeks later, we found out why. She had been pregnant and she gave birth to three adorable little baby rabbits! No one had known that she was pregnant when we got her so it all quite a surprise and now we have four rabbits instead of one...

Comparatively smoothly to both the arrivals of the chicken and the rabbits, we found a family of Indian Runner Ducks on le Bon Coin (France's Gumtree/Trade Me), and we just went and picked them up. They settled in quickly (but are still scared of us) and we're even getting an egg a day from the female duck. Again, it took us a while to come up with names so let's now introduce you to Lady D, Marlon, and Nemo. As Nemo was starting to grow up quickly and it's not great to have two males to one female (even when it's your mother), we've also added Marley to our duck family. That wasn't so smooth (there were some fights between her and Marlon) but after a couple of weeks, they're getting used to each other.

Lots of other things have been happening at Le Boulay, like the last of our summer's harvest, picking pears, making compote, installing shelves, making compost bins out of pallets, and so much more. We also added another old bathtub to the Squirrel Garden so there's a place for birds to drink as well as making it easier to water the vegetables if they need it from a shorter distance. No more carrying buckets in each hand for 200m!

That's just a whirlwind tour of what we've been up to, it's been stressful at times but we've pushed through and we're so happy, despite the now shorter days and colder temperatures. Now it's on to planning what to do in winter, and enjoying our new lives as hosts.


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