April...yeah...almost forgot about you!
It's already time for the May blog and I realized that I didn't check in for April! Oops...my bad. April...wow - yeah, so much happened in April...
What have we accomplished to this point? - at the house:
1. We have most of a bathroom! Tiles went in last month and Francis and I worked on installing the wallpaper. Then the cabin shower and corner bathtub went in and everything fits (even if it is just barely.) It feels like an accomplishment to have a bathroom that actually looks like a bathroom again.
2. We have most of 2 garden beds in the potager! A lot of work has gone into double digging and amending both of these beds to prepare them for planting. After these are set up, we are definitely going to take a break. They are looking fantastic and I have decided to go with a grid planting system. Yes, this is basically square foot gardening BUT I am not using "Mel's Mix." I don't see the point in bringing in ALL new dirt so I am mixing in compost and coarse vermiculite (part of "Mel's Mix") but I am also using about 50% of our own native soil. The "double dug" method is part of the French Intensive gardening strategy and it makes sense to me so I am using that. Basically, we've tilled the ground about 18-24 inches below the surface and mixed in the amendments and then topped with cardboard week block and compost to plant in. Moving forward, we will not walk on our double dug beds and we will just top them up with fresh compost annually.
3. We have most of the new fence in. Our piquets arrived and we worked together to get a lot of them into the ground. Most of the property line fence that was really bad (up around the potager area) has been done. We stopped at the big gate because we want to find a replacement gate and then continue replacing the fence up until the ditch at the front of the property. We think pounding in all the posts was the hard part and we have the fence wire to mount onto the posts but that's for next month!
4. We've started mezzanine work. The final ceiling beam has been installed and walls are going up. That space was claustrophobic before so we are both really eager to have it opened up more.
5. We have a bird that has moved in and laid eggs!!
What else is new?
1. Still waiting on my carte de sejour. We're not expecting to hear anything about this until after I get back from my visit to the states.
2. Still taking driving school classes. When I am in the states, I'll get another international drivers permit because I have the take the theory test in French and pass with at least a 35/40 so.... At the moment, my practice exams are averaging 30/40 so...I still have a lot of studying and French driving language to learn!
3. Still taking French language lessons. I've been taking weekly lessons from a tutor on Preply and he is fantastic. In addition to that, I am also still using Duolingo on a daily basis to keep working on my language acquisition. It's definitely a challenge to learn a new language but I'm very motivated to try to blend in as much as I can and I think I am finally getting to a point of being able to kinda communicate...like a child but at least I can do that!
4. Our original electrician finally dumped us so we need to find a new one :(
Finding a replacement electrician is top of the list! The electrical work is at a point where it is blocking other work so we definitely need to find someone else and fast...which is a challenge here because the culture is *definitely* NOT like the SF Bay Area - which is a good thing. There is next to no sense of urgency and things are taken in stride so, we're just going to hope for the best.
I have a trip back to the US planned for the first 3 weeks of June so we need to wrap up as much of the garden as possible and set up the rest for a nap while I am away. Thankfully, we managed to get quite a bit done in April and we still have May so, I think the yard will be in a decent position for me to leave for a few weeks. If not, Francis will still be here and he'll get to keep it in check for me!
I think the biggest thing we're looking forward to are the final plans for the kitchen! We need to find an electrician to get in there and run the conduits and wires so we can finish getting the walls and ceilings up but we have a person who is planning out the kitchen for us. The plan is to have things finalized in May and start the build in June!!
Again, for WEEKLY wrap ups, check out my YouTube Channel. It's faster to video record with voice and put together short updates than wordsmith what I want to say on a regular basis. As stated last month, I will try to post a similar summary on a monthly basis for those who prefer reading something.
Thanks for reading and I'll catch you up next month!
I was born at Stanford Hospital and have always lived within about 30 miles of there. This is where I'm documenting my move from CA, USA to the South West of France.