Month: May, 2013

in the nature

teaching louis to make notebooks with extreme success. the cover was made out of a beautiful booklet from the dijon opera house.


under the epoisses moon

after 6 weeks at our first farm it is time to move on and learn some new things. we have three more lined up: 1 in bulgaria with a horse and cart and no electricity, 1 in czech republic with bees and goats and wine, and 1 in italy with a eco house to build and homemade toothpaste. lots of interesting things to see and learn.

to thank our wonderful host in france we made a collage to commemorate our stay.

jeff’s website: http://jeffanimaux.free.fr/

six weeks on and i have finally finished reading the game of thrones series. so badly written but so enjoyable. i’m missing hanging out with my shih tzu friends but have found an alpine snowball dog already.

cloud atlas

picture from a dijon opera house programme

watching all the adverts for cloud atlas made me really curious about the story. when it came out in 2004 i was confused and thought that it was a book just about clouds and the sound of it didn’t really interest me. in 2013 i realised that this wasn’t the case. so i read it a couple of weeks ago and loved it.

the story consists of six characters that are essentially the same soul in different bodies across the centuries – from the colonial past to a dystopian future. the broad time-frame spanned means that the book encompasses all kind of genres, making each section separate and interesting but still tied in to the novel as a whole through the central theme of human nature and its universality, individualism and freedom. the book is like a set of russian dolls, each one opening to reveal a new story inside, getting smaller and smaller until the central story when they begin to slot back together again.

the story is quite a complex one, but its not a difficult read because it is so intriguing and well written – i haven’t watched the film yet because i heard that it wasn’t very good… but whether you have seen it or not this book is definitely worth reading.

edible edible

one of the other wwoofers staying here lent me their food for free book and its great, im going to get one when i get home. it has a calendar of edible plants for the year, good pictures and recipes. it’s also extremely interesting, who knew you could eat beech tree leaves as a salad? i didn’t. it’s a book for the uk, but a lot of the plants can still be found throughout the rest of europe, so hopefully i can memorise some useful things if we get stuck in the wilderness.

allium ursinum

collected some wild garlic on the way home from the farm today and made delicious soup. so called allium ursinum because the brown bears love them. luckily (or unluckily) there are no brown bears in france so we got loads.


big bundle of wild garlic leaves and stems chopped finely





chop the potatoes and onions up finely and put in a pan with the butter and cover in salt and pepper. put the lid on and leave for 10-20 minutes until softish. add stock and cook til soft. then add the garlic and leave until wilted. blend it all together and add some creme fraiche. very, very good.


sunday was the beginning of a week of events about local produce, permaculture and the ‘transition’ project in semur-en-auxois.

as our french is still not good, we went to the only english film that was being screened on the day called ‘transition 2.0’. it was great, all about a project called transition  which is about communities making small actions that all can all work together to try and make a difference to the world around them. they have them everywhere all doing different things and i think once i am home it would be good to try and get involved in something.

this film is also really good. we’ve been seeing the fun and the not so fun side of small scale farming, but so far i am still holding on to my dream of a smallholding and this film has so many great ideas.


wilderness tips

i never used to like short stories because i always thought that they ended too soon and didn’t explain everything enough. now this is what i like about them – they are a short snippet that doesn’t have to go in depth into every detail. they are like eating a biscuit – sometimes you are happy just having one, usually its two or three, but sometimes you just eat the whole packet in one go. maybe i like them more now because i could easily read a story or two on my half-hour lunch which was really satisfying.

this collection of short stories by margaret atwood centres around the themes of loss and love and lost love and loneliness. we read one of the stories – hairball, in my women’s writing class and it stuck with me because it was quite grotesque, but also really bold and sad. after reading the whole collection this isn’t even in my top three of the stories because they are all so good. each one explores the female protagonist’s different feelings of loneliness and i think the title reflects this – wilderness tips, as if the stories are cathartic guides to how to deal with these emotions when you feel like you are alone in the wilderness of the world.


marble club

of all the places in france i have somehow (unknowingly) arrived in a town with one of the only dedicated bookbinding schools in the country. it’s been making me think lots about the future and possibilities. seeing this video today, i’ve been thinking about all the materials involved in making a book and how it would be good to start from scratch with all of them, making the tools, paper and leather yourself. maybe i’ll find someone along the way who knows something about it…

on y va

i’ve been in france for nearly a month now, farming, reading and eating in ran and sun. it is really really great.






all photos taken by louis