Archive for August, 2009

Fire bug..Gendarme(Pyrrhocoris apterus)-Macromonday

In English called a firebug and in French very appropiately called gendarme. The young nymphs don’t have their wings devloped yet, which gives them that difference in appearance(smaller bug top left in photo).

firebug(Pyrrhocoris apterus)

Fire bugs(Pyrrhocoris apterus)..gendarme suisse 8-26-2009 12-48-26 PM

nikon D70 camera with AF micro Nikkor lens 60 mm

An entry for Macromonday


Sound – The bells of Nonards

The bells still ring  at the church in the little hamlet of Nonards, echoing across our valley, just to be anwered by the bells of Marcillac la Croze…beautiful!

…love song for esmeralda…

bells of nonards 2

…playing solo…

bells of nonanrds 4

…duet…

bells of Nonards 3

An entry for Sundaystills – sounds.


A home in the barn.

We’ve been staying in our barn for the past five months.

After starting out with the bare essentials and wearing thick skiwear at night to keep warm in front of the wood burning stove, drinking cups of steaming chocolat chaud and cosying up around campfires, we can now say…it is fun! We have a proper home now in our barn with everything we need, NO television, which we don’t miss. We have running water, warm showers, old ladders for our towels, a coffee corner, a fully equipped kitchen where we prepare fresh and simple meals, couches for lounging, lamps for ambiance, books for drowsing,  comfy sleeping nooks, privacy by means of romantic linen drops tied with antique lace…hunted down at local brocantes. We need nothing more…except maybe exquisite sunsets.

…welcome in our barn…

the living room

When renovating, restoring a house, the concept of  “home” changes, even whenstill staying in your home while it is being renovated. It becomes a construction site; the ladders and scaffoldings take the place of comfy couches.  The dusty smells of sand and cement take the place of potpourri. The crunching of debris underneath boots make you long for the soft touch of carpet and barefoot. The days are long and hard, dinners become quick and simple, sleep welcome and deep, mornings early and refreshed…or is early and aching?

The upside of renovating is the anticipation. Much like waiting for that last schoolday before summer, last week before Christmas, the night before your birthday … The road to getting  your home back is a daring crusade.  It is the anticipation that  keeps us going, working through the frustrations, stepping over the irritations, redoing the miscalculations, band-aiding the wounds, kneading the aching muscles. So we need that little corner to unwind at the end of the day. That little restplace where you put side the images of ladders and cement mixers and wallow in soft comfort. That place where you keep the anticipation alive with dreams in warm beds.

…a clear view through our barn…

front door

…full of nothingness…

large barn

…a first bite and a first night in a barn home…

nothingnesstokala catching up on meals

ayiani investigatinga frist nights sleep

…always place for some romance…

my place is on the bed

When Hartman suggested living in the barn while working on the house, my apprehension knew no boundaries. At the time I was snuggly cuddled up in front of the fireplace in our comfortable and lovely home in Touraine, listening to music, sipping a glass of red wine, reading “Dark Star safari by Paul Theroux, while  the rain and cold and wind were safely locked outside.

Hearing things like: ” cleaning out the all the hay and tools and owls from the barn…dusting… repairing floorboards… moving in some sort of bed… firing up the wooden stove for a hot meal, fixing the doors, find a solution for bathroom facilities…” well, it simply made my hair stand on end and I felt the cold of wind from outside creeping indoors. I took a big sip of red wine, nesteled my derriére deeper into the cushions and faked enthusiastic listening, all the while lifting my one eyebrow higher and higher.

But here I am. Here we are. The days are long and hard. We’re living in the barn. Cleaned out the hay, fired up the wooden stove. We shower in a tin tub found in the barn. I use the pedometer to measure the distance to the longdrop at the far end of the garden. We eat colourful and healthy dinners by candlelight, while sipping on full bodied red wines.

My husband knows me far too well…once I grab onto an idea, which may sometimes take some time…it’s sailing off into the sunset. I finally got carried away with our camping in the barn and it was like being a little girl again in my growing up years, building and constructing interesting tee pees and tree houses and tenthouses, furnishing them with what I could find around the neighbourhood, always filling up a flass with flowers for my “centre table”. Nothing had changed, except that myconstruction is now a barn and my glass is filled with flowers from our own land.

…something of everything…

gallery

…relax and offload…

cushions and curtainsview on the shower corner

…brushing teeth and then off to bed…

the teeth-brush-cornera lamp and a window in the bedroom

…old wine barrel rim, a tin tub, a new shower curtain, chains and bit of elbow grease and voilà…a perfect shower…

time to get cleana perfect shower

…kitchen corner…

a barn kitchen

…washing up, hanging tools on an old chicken coop door, and of course a coffee corner with it s cups and plates and nick-nacks…

rinsing and hangingwashing the dishestime for coffeeplates and bowls

…let’s see what’s in the pantry…

preparation corner

le petit coin

done!

reworked, revamped, a new sanitary systems, modern comfort in an old setting…

Modernizing the longdropLongdrop at coin Perdu

…switch off the light and don’t forget to wash hands…

switch on the lighta mirror image


Brushes – Macromonday

I started cleaning our barn this morning and stopped with a brush in my hand, thinking it could make for quite a nice photo…the brush I mean, not me…

I use a lot of different brushes when cleaning and I love natural bristles. They don’t scratch and at the end of their days, they make me feel good – seeing how derelict they look in old age, I feel comforted that I at least still look a bit better and last a bit longer…after the same amount of work!

…young and healthy…

brush 2

…ready and able…

brushes 3

…firm and willing…

brushes 4

…soft and gentle…

brush 5

All photos with Nikon D70s camera and AF micro nikkor lens 60 mm

An entry for macromonday


The open road.

I didn’t have time to hit the road with my camera, so I hit the archives instead. The following series of photos are from last Febrary holidays in the Cape, South Africa.

We drove down fromJohannesburg in the north to the Cape in the South, through the extrordinary Karoo with its delicious Karoo lamb meat and dry, captivating, almost desert like atmosphere, its heartbeat steady and undisturbed.

…looking into your future, on the long,  empty roads in the Karoo, Cape

looking into the future

…sizzling heat on the Karoo roads…

south african heat on the open road

…entering the winelands of the Cape at De Doorns…

entering the winelands in the cape

…the open road leads to school…

the open road leads to school

…the road along the coast to Gordons bay…

gordonsbay

…knights of the highway(Africa baboon)…

knights of the open road


An entry for Sundaystills


Ripping out the first floorplanks’

After knocking down all the interior walls, we were so anxious to see the double volume which we were planning into our  house that we thought we would just rip out one floorplank and one ceiling plank to have  a clean view from top to bottom. Did it stay by only one plank?  No. Of course not! The opening was too small to really see and we are far too greedy. Our excitement got the better of us. One plank became two, and then three and before we knew it, several planks were ripped out in the floor and the ceiling and there we stood like stargazers on a dark cloudless night; staring upwards.

…ripping up floorplanks…

ripping up floorplanks 3not light work!

It was great seeing the double volume! Still hight on excitement, we ran right down to the cellar(where we carried out so much dirt!) and once again bent our necks backwards to be impressed by the height of the double volume. We were impressed. Wonderfully high! Open and spacious. Streams of light filtering in through the roof windows.

…looking through to the beams into the opened up attic in the roof…

opening up to the roof 1

…view from the cellar and looking through (which was) the first floor into the roof…

opening up to the roof 5

…standing down below in the cellar, which will become the ground floor living area…

under the ripped up floorplanks(in the old cellar)

I could envision life when it will all be done. Until I bent my neck back into normal position and my brain switched on again, pushing reality to the fore, focusing my eyes on the chaos still waiting. Not one for extravagant optimism, I removed myself from the reality staring me in the face and drove off in our Peugeot bleu for a coffee in town, cruelly leaving the rest of the team-my husband and our two daughters- to deal with reality… It helped.

And to end this episode, like every day here At Coin Perdu: never does a day end without a moment of beauty or inspiration somewhere, making us realize again that all the sweat and hard work is worth it.

…inspiration…

Graphosoma lineatum-Pentatome rayeeMellicta athalia butterfly 1


Lizard (Lacerta vivipara) – Macromonday

While taking a break from loading gravel yesterday, this  little baby lizard came into our circle of relaxation. It amused us for quite a while with its typical child like behavior and I could’ve sworn it loved the attention!

Photos taken with Nikon D70 camera and AF micro nikkor lens, 60mm,1:2.8D

…looking to see if we’re looking…

lizard 1(Lacerta vivipara)

…stopping by Macdonalds…

lizard 2(Lacerta vivipara)

…playing shy…

lizard 3(Lacerta vivipara)

…finally  a smiling pose…

lizard 4(Lacerta vivipara)

An entry for Macromonday.


Clouds

One of the wonderful things about living in the country, is that you can have undisturbed views on the moon and stars and skies …and clouds. To photograph and paint them, is a major challenge and of course a major delight.

Clouds have each their own atmosphere; a threatening storm, soft and rain filled, stark white agains a cold winter blue sky, grey mists rolling in…then there are the tales they tell; a dragon flying through the air, a ballet dancer in pirouette, a crocodile yawning, an old man smoking his pipe…Who hasn’t stared at the clouds sweeping by while stretched out on a green lawn -lazy after indulging in too  much watermelon – and wondered what goes on up there and beyond.

The first four cloud images were taken at Coin Perdu in Correze. And the last one was taken at the Loire right opposite our home in Montlouis sur Loire, Touraine.

All photos taken with Nikon D70 SLFR and 28-90mm zoomlens.

the explosion

orage 2

…a sunset in April…

sunset in April

…a threatening storm at dusk…

approaching storm at dusk

…sunset and airoplane lines…

sunset with airoplane lines

…a sunset on the river Loire across our home in Montlouis sur Loire…

sunset on the Loire

An entry for Sundaystills – clouds.


Macromonday – Raindrops

After the good rains of yesterday, this morning’s walk provided many opportunities for photos. Drops on plants and fences, water puddles, the snails were abundant and gay in their feasting, the mud stuck optimistically to my hiking boots, making them heavier with each step and I arrived wet and dirty back home. Nothing a shower and good coffee couldn’t fix.

I played around with some water drops on fences and leaves. Back home I realized there wers some dust particles on my lense which shows up on my photos. I was in no mood to go all the way back and redo it all. So it comes down to living with it. I can do that. A lesson for the future:  clean lenses more often.

…water drops on washing line…

water drops on washing line

…water drops on leaf…

water drops on a leaf

An entry for Macromonday.


Elements of life-water, fire, earth, air and ether.

…water…

ruisseau a le pescher

…fire…

fire 2

…earth…

earth 1

…air…

air 3

…life…

serenity

An  entry for Sundaystills.


Breaking down the first walls.

breaking down walls1After deciding that the basement is not the place to start the restoration process, we moved up into the house and and started swinging a hammer to break down all the inside walls. It felt very destructive to break down a wall and my feeble effort at knocking the wall  had Hartman take over the hammer to get the job done at least in our lifetime.

From there on it was quick and relatively easy and the pity on the walls got less and the blows more powerful. Each rhythmic swing would be a blow against the injustice you’ve suffered in the past – maybe that job you never got, or that bicycle in another lifetime you never received…or maybe even the slap on the bottom from your father for your brother’s misbehave. Whatever the reason, the walls got lower, and  all injustices disappeared under the heavy hammer.

breaking down walls 2

breaking down walls 6

The hard work showed up when all the rubble had to be carried out and away. We have become regulars at the dechetterie(dumping site) and the remorque stood at the ready for one load breaking down walls 4after another.

After the day had come to an end, we put down the gloves hammer and like ususal…lit our fire outside and reflected with satisfaction on the day’s work with a glass of wine, while rubbing sore muscles with aAloe Vera hot gel and bruises with Arnica.

We have a daughter who is as mighty with the knife as she is with swinging a hammer. Thanks to her, we had many a great dinner at the end of a tiring day.

 


Macromonday – Scottish thistle

The Scottish thistle(Onoporon Acanthium) is a  wonderful source for photography(and painting!). The cows graze all around them and we walk wide circles around the thistle, but it seems the insects are fearless…

Every stage of flowering has its charm and right now, here in France, they are  in full bloom and  just starting to burst open to set free those feather light plumes…how can we not revel in its beauty, like the insects obviously do!

…fearless!…

thistle 2(Shield bug)

…freedom…

thistle 3

An entry for Macromonday


Fences of Puy d’Arnac

Playing around the area of our mountain home, coin Perdu in Puy d’Arnac, Correze with my camera. Fences are plentiful, as with all country regions, and filled with character and stunning vistas.

…leaking roof…

fences of correze 9

…a flowery peek…

fences of correze 1

…prayer with a view…

fences of correze 3

…almost wine…

fences of correze 8

…old and worn…

fences of correze 11

…uptown…

fences of correze 6

…la dordogne…

fences of correze 7

…grazing…

fences of correze 5

An entry for Sundaystills.