Open Thread - Homesteading in France

Homesteading in France with title.jpg

When the weather turned cold and rainy in October, ready or not, we moved into our house after waiting so long.

Much of our belongings are in storage, until we can oil our shelving, kitchen, and finish space for storage on site and closets.

We are now a family of us, our smart Teddy and two male cats who were in our ditch on a cold and rainy night. After making sure no mom was around, and two vet visits, they were declared infection free, so we named them Ira and George. Teddy isn’t exactly sure what he should do with them but he slowly adjusts.
https://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-259txb

For the first time in four years, we have had a Christmas Tree from a nearby farmer, and a few decorations around the house.
https://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-2ZC38q

We miss our community choir, as COVID has pretty much shut things down. It was our weekly French lesson with a two hour practice and a house gathering of several hours after each practice. We had weekly contact with forty five French speakers, lots of good music, and welcoming faces. As with everyone around the world, we are more isolated.

Now that we are home, we are finding our favourite bakeries, our best meat market and organic food store. We miss the weekly fresh markets, which our visitors were able to enjoy. While the French government is paying most of the income missing we do worry that the little businesses scattered across the country-side are struggling. We also miss our restaurants, and have the same concerns for them.

This is a time of world-wide stress and dilemmas. Some of the events of which only one in the past would have been traumatising, are piling up, one on another. We are not sure of the way forward for our nations, our families and friends.

But we work forward, to make our house a home. And to enjoy the natural world around us.

Mussy Flooding with Teddy_1.jpg

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Dawn's Meta's picture

Christmas Mussy - Veuve Cliquot.jpg
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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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Lookout's picture

Nice to see you today. Glad all is well. I took down the substitute OT in order to funnel folks here to your much more interesting tale.

There was flooding in Alabama last night, but fortunately not here on the Mountain. In fact we only got a half inch yesterday. Looking forward to drier weather this weekend. I'm way behind on mowing and outdoor chores. You know how it is on the homestead...always something...but that keeps it interesting and entertaining.

Here's one for this gray day...

Hope you all have a good one!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Dawn's Meta's picture

for growing. We have had tons of rain and very grey days with not much of a Summer.

Really concerned about the French vaccine mandates which appear to be heading our way. We are both super allergic to lots of medicines, adjuvants and foods. This is not good for us.

The irony of having some new antivirals coming out regardless of the source but good for what ails the planet at the moment.

How to get this heavy barge in a downstream push, stopped?

I just don't know how we'll deal with this. Sure hope it doesn't come to law.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@Dawn's Meta a popular French song in round.

Je te remercie.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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When we visited Italy in 2007, I came home wanting to be able to speak Italian. I had a college background in Spanish, and a smattering of German. This knowledge comes back to me pretty easily, probably because I learned it when I was younger. My family gave me a language program for Italian, but it just wouldn't take. Plus my brain kept inserting the Spanish.
I wish I could just go an stay in Italy long enough to be able to speak it.
I did stay for 3 months in Austria in 1972 with a family whose daughter lived with us in NJ when I was in high school. They spoke excellent English, but being around the German speaking actually enabled me to pick up enough to understand and speak more. The fascinating thing was right before I came back to the US, I started dreaming in German.
Congrats on your new home!

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

Dawn's Meta's picture

@Fishtroller 02 and an after gathering each week, plus all manner of interactions banking, legal, commercial entirely in French, there was a point at which we were thinking in French.

Then the lockdowns, and of course we speak American English to each other, and lost a lot of ground. Although I'm from the PNW I sound midWestern in French. Disgusting.

I think three months is a good amount of time especially if you have the grammar sorted and know what you want to hear in basic present, past and future tenses. Then it's a matter of adding vocabulary.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

two people which have been so pleasing to listen to. Wonderful exchanges (nothing to do with COVID) which showed great respect, a lot of thought and just plain meaty words to think about.

Here's one between Chris Martenson and a professor from Portland State University, Peter Boghassian (sp?) It is a YouTube.

Here's one with an MIT PhD Robotics physicists and Bret Weinstein, and evolutionary biologist.
There is something about the young smart guy respectfully questioning and challenging but learning from and older man, that I find truly touching. It is really long, but so peaceful.

If you do listen to either of these, let me know what you think.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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QMS's picture

Your bubbly looks beautiful. Glad you are able to move back in. Hope your cats and dog bring you great joy. Thanks for the OT!

Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@QMS Posted some crossing Oregon bar videos on your thread, as I did that when I was married to the pirate years ago. I was a spectator, and a double Taurean going to sea in a small boat.

Got good at backing trailers and running the boat when we were fishing. As for rough seas, there were times I would ask how long until it's safer; close my eyes; and wait. And the pirate never drank before or during running the boat.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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QMS's picture

@Dawn's Meta

Thanks for putting us out to sea. It is amazing the boats can take that much wave action.
Once helped build a prototype for the Navy. It was a drone, about 50 foot. One of the
design parameters, it had to be able to roll over. So we launched it dockside with a travel
lift and rolled it over with a crane. She came back up! That worked.

Paris ne s’est pas fait en un jour!

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@QMS In the video where the two CG are escorting the Fishing/Vessel into Newport, they are speedy and stay on top of the waves while the FV wallows. So scary.

I need all the help I can get. French il me prende la tête.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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That is a very peaceful looking patio. I haven't been able to return to France since we moved home from Paris 4 years ago. DAMN COVID! My husband is dying to go back. He was able to visit with my older boys August before last, but I couldn't make it since we had a 6 month old at the time. Way jealous of the champagne, that is one of my favorite brands. We were able to visit Veuve Cliquot winery (champagnerie??) while we were living there. AMAZING!

The French countryside is quite beautiful and I am glad we were able to see some of it while we were there. Hope we can get back before long. After being home for 4 years, I have forgotten a lot of the language I learned. C'et la vie, eh?

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If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Dawn's Meta's picture

@Crazytimes @Crazytimes @Crazytimes We are trying to train ourselves to call the upper house level the cour or courtyard. It's fully enclosed except where gates are. Would love to build raised beds for bulbs and flowers. The lower yard is full of rodents and we just don't want to fight them. We mow for Prairie and are getting more and more wild flowers yearly.

Butterfly on wildflower our yard.jpg

If you have some favorite places we should visit, let me know. I hope you can return. We love Paris by train. We are ten minutes from a refurbished line to Lyon and forty five from Macon to Paris by TGV. We have stayed many times in B&B apartments and gotten to know some areas of Paris. Still looking for cocktails. I love them and they are not a normal French person's favorite drink.

From Wiki (more than you want to know)

There are more than one hundred Champagne houses and 19,000 smaller vignerons (vine-growing producers) in Champagne. These companies manage some 32,000 hectares of vineyards in the region. The type of Champagne producer can be identified from the abbreviations followed by the official number on the bottle:[29]

NM: Négociant manipulant. These companies (including the majority of the larger brands) buy grapes and make the wine
CM: Coopérative de manipulation. Cooperatives that make wines from the growers who are members, with all the grapes pooled together
RM: Récoltant manipulant. (Also known as Grower Champagne) A grower that also makes wine from its own grapes (a maximum of 5% of purchased grapes is permitted). Note that co-operative members who take their bottles to be disgorged at the co-op can now label themselves as RM instead of RC
SR: Société de récoltants. An association of growers making a shared Champagne but who are not a co-operative
RC: Récoltant coopérateur. A co-operative member selling Champagne produced by the co-operative under its own name and label
MA: Marque auxiliaire or Marque d'acheteur. A brand name unrelated to the producer or grower; the name is owned by someone else, for example a supermarket
ND: Négociant distributeur. A wine merchant selling under his own name

We have tried all sorts of Crements, which is the same grapes, just on the wrong side of the road. And the best are not as good as Champagne. I love the stuff. Veuve Cliquot is a favorite, for very special occasions. My SIL loves it too.

We went to Cognac and had a marvelous visit. We met a M Prunier who grows his own grapes; processes them into juice; casks the juice himself; bottles the Cognac; and takes them by the year. You can get bottled flights in different years. What lovely Brandy and a marvelous experience. We want to go back.

Here's croiser les doigts pour vous.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

You have come a long way with the home. Good for you and yours!
I didn't spend as much time in France out in the country, away from the large cities. I hope to go back eventually.
I just helped rescue a kitten, getting it to a shelter yesterday. Tough to befriend a little scaredy cat, harder to let them go.
The creek looks like a cool place to just walk, look, and find peace.
It has been such a long haul for your home repair, by the time you get to normal, it will not be normal.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@on the cusp I don't know, I'd like to cook in my kitchen, have a warm home, and not get dizzy from septic gases for a start. But that is the last bit.

I'm getting old. Especially for this kind of thing. Now worrying about having the ingredients for a good dish or my own cocktail, now that's the problems I want to solve. Hah.

Good to see you. We had to rescue those two. We've had them about one year. Ira, the sleek tiny little black Panther, is a force of his own. George is my hippie cat. They are keeping the mice down around the house, which previously was a real problem. They catch them, Teddy eats them (so gross). But They are all characters and we love them.

Have a great day. So good to see you.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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@Dawn's Meta The contractor left the lid above ground. From time to time, we smelled gasses in the house, and in the yard. We had it sealed, and that fixed it for now. So, if nothing heavy
falls on the lid and breaks it, we will be set.
I enjoyed that recipe, and intend to do a bit of tweaking. One tip I learned from a chef was to glaze your broth making veggies with olive oil, pop them in the oven for 15 minutes, then dump them into the broth. It is to set the flavors, give them body while being boiled.
I am not a fan of wine, but I enjoy brandy, and the occasional glass of champagne.
My brandy choice is Ararat, rated in competition as the best in the world. I enjoy Moet champagne, but I am not picky.
Hope your favorite shops can hang in there.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@on the cusp did drift into the house. The big one for the rotten egg (Hydrogen Sulfide) smell was putting in a very high vent with a turban extractor on the exit side of the tank. It is a design requirement for anaerobic tanks, as they build noxious gases.

So the heavier than air gas H2S was dealt with pretty well. What was left is odorless gases pushed back into the house. They move about depending on wind direction and air pressure. We are building a 'house trap' close to the input (house) side of the tank. This is like the traps under sinks only bigger.

Hopefully that will be the end of chasing septic gases around.

Watch for dizzyness, or vertigo which can be caused by things floating around inside you can't smell.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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I listened to the one with Peter Boghossian. I actually have met him in the real world when I lived down near Portland. It is very thought provoking and from my perspective spot on. One of the things that has mystified me the most is the violence leveled against people who for their own reasons choose not to get the vaccine. But it is only the most recent event with this sort viscous narrow minded dialog it has been going on awhile.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@pswaterspirit hour east always a Portlander. Portland does not look good these days.

I was forgetting both conversations included comments on COVID. I was more struck by the nature of the interactions and some of the wide-ranging topics and depth.

Thanks so much.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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dystopian's picture

Hi Dawn,

Love yer story... sorry too busy in day to get by usually. But what a great adventure! Hope the problems go away leaving you with the fun and bliss. And butterflies. Smile

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Dawn's Meta's picture

@dystopian I got behind on photos and the scheduler was messy. So I was late. But it worked out.

Love your new avatar.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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to read your post this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yesterday I was running late and it's no fun to rush through something like this, (and like the beautiful bubbly) it should be savored. So I am very late with a comment.

You have chosen a huge project, but it's so lovely and seems to me to have so many ancillary positive aspects. I guess, as we all tough it through our huge projects with all of their setbacks, we just have to make sure we don't let the overwhelming problems overshadow the incredible parts.

Best to you across the pond DM

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@randtntx What a nice Friday night surprise. Thank you so much. I was getting discouraged that maybe this topic that is France in general isn't what folks want to read about. It is really a foreign country. Things are different here.

I'm thinking ahead about subjects and I'm thinking about French Halloween. It's not the same.

Or why you don't give Chrysanthemums for house gifts on visiting a friend.

Or how we save electric power in our villages.

Not to mention oh, wines, or markets, or Cognac.

Thanks for leaving a note. Muchas gracias.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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@Dawn's Meta on all things France sound fun.

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Sima's picture

@Dawn's Meta They all sound great, very interesting. I am loving these posts about your house in France, and the changes that take place living there, and so on. My husband and I are dreaming/planning about moving to England or Europe in a few years. I used to live in northern England, so am familiar with that area, albeit it was a LONG time ago... But northern France, Germany and Finland sound awesome too...

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Dawn's Meta's picture

@Sima The very first hurdle to locating in another country is how much money the destination country requires either in the bank or as an investment.

We were looking at Mexico briefly, but there were things which held us back: you can get a 99 year lease on a home but the Mexican state owns the land forever; there is a heavy cartel and gang presence-much more than in the 70s. Water could be a real issue.

Here is a couple who work pretty hard at assessing where a person might find an alternative to the US:

This is a starting point from a five-year old article. Their conferences looks like lots of Republicans. They show that many countries like pensioners because they won't cause financial problems to the host country.

How to move to another country.

There is a real difference between residency (we have a ten year card for France) and citizenship.

Here's a Europe-centered set of information. Yes they try to sell you on buying their books or attending their seminars, but they give away a lot of information along the way.

LIve and invest overseas

The US is a tough country to leave: you can't take your earned Medicare with you. One of the only few countries in the world which doesn't allow portability. The US also requires paying taxes first to the US as long as you are still a citizen. We have to be citizens to get our Social Security income. So we can't divest from the US.

Looking at what it takes to acquire the healthcare system is important. We only needed three months and an intent to stay long term. We are just like any other French person. We have our gap insurance as well.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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Sima's picture

@Dawn's Meta Wow, this is great information. Thank you so much for it! Now I have some more rabbit holes to explore on the 'net Smile

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Dawn's Meta's picture

@Sima through it all. Ask away.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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there is no lack lack of interest in your subject. I find your writing very engaging. So often though, I feel like I'm just running around too busy. I know that sounds like a poor excuse, but unfortunately it is my reality. I suspect that is true for many others as well.

Whenever I am able to clear a small space of time (like the infamous "point in time", it does not exist Smile ) to read, I am happy. So just want you to know, I look forward to your posts.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@randtntx just keeping daily life going. Thank you so much for letting me know.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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