All the ingredients, in the wrong place

the rock pileI was doing a quick lap round the farm yesterday; painfully aware that I’m not posting chirpy blogs about rebuilding projects.

Everything seems to be 100 metres in the wrong direction; the stones, the soil, me.

I’m indoors working when I should be out there shoveling.

So here are some results from my quick lap.  I was admiring first the huge pile of stones that the builders have removed from the walls of our renovation project.

Whoppers. Perfect wall building stones for the garden.

The little cellar below the house is proving to be a much bigger project than any of us anticipated.  First up they made a hole in the floor of my office as we were planning a spiral staircase.  And the vaulted ceiling had a surprise cubic metre of rocks holding it up. That had to be removed. Gently. new door to basement

And then we realised that the opening for the staircase would have to be so large that I’d have no floor lef in my office. So plan B was to make a hole in the wall in our main basement for access.  And that’s a perfect solution.

basement stoneExcept the walls are not three feet thick here, but six.

If you are a fan of architecture it would have you slathering.  The yellow stone is the old exterior of the house, built in the 1700s.  That was when you could just use rammed earth to hold your walls together.

But when they came to extending the house, it was the 1800s and a more enlightened building regulation rule must have come in.  Mortar.  The walls are actually held together with lime.

Either way a lot of rocks and stones have to come out just to make this entrance to what I think is becoming a very expensive and frivolous bathroom.

All this because Madam likes to take a bath!

Chastened, I have hastened away from the builders and went to inspect the other perfect ingredient for wall building and gardening –  the top soil on the tarp. soil on tarpThe stuff dug out of the swimming pool.

This too, I calculate, is exactle one hundred metres away from where I want it to be.  Stones on the east side of the farm, soil on the south.

And both of them incredibly heavy and annoyingly difficult to get into the right place.

I had a supervisor for the inspection.  He wasn’t that pleased about all the wet grass he had to leap over. I didn’t bother to mow this side of the lawn as I wasn’t expecting to go anywhere near it all winter.

hunting catBut Artur’s antics made me laugh and that was one perfect reaason for being outdoors.

He decided to stalk me.

Oh yes, that beguiling sweet looking critter is actually a lion in the Serengeti, and I’m not a medium tall human, but a wounded baby gazelle.

All the way back up the steps he crept, and then hid behind a not very large eragrostis grass. Crouch mode, tail twitching, eyeing my close at hand work boots.

The conversation went something like this:

I’m going to attack you.

But I can see you, you aren’t that well hidden.

I am the beast of the mountain, I will pounce, attack and kill.

I’m twenty times bigger than you and standing on a path watching your every move.

Arggh – and then out he leapt. It was most impressive actually as he clung onto my boot and made a playful show of dragging me down to the ground. And then gave up when he realised that it wasn’t that tasty.  And wounded baby gazelles aren’t supposed to laugh.

Mind you, I had to be wary for the rest of the walk round as he was a haunting shadow the whole way.  Chuckling, I thought he was not so much the lesser spotted Ardeche mountain lion; but more like the easily spotted wellington boot attack cat.  But it made my day.