The month of May has evidence of more creatures!
What have we accomplished to this point? - at the house:
1. Mezzanine is basically done. I know it still needs all of the finishing work but this feels like a huge accomplishment. The beams are all in, the walls and ceiling are in, and it basically just need the electrical and some wall paper (which we are leaving to the pros).
2. Fence wire is up. This was Francis' excuse to get an air compressor and some new toys to go with it! I do have to say that it made the job MUCH easier and we'll be able to use the compressor for a ton of other stuff in the future. For this job, we used a staple gun to secure the wire fencing to our posts. You can barely see the fence in most cases but it does look pretty good when you do see it.
3. Garden is planted. I have finished 2 double dug beds. They have been planted but I am having mixed results with the plants. I did also buy some instant gratification and planted a few store-bought plants. It's hard to say what's going on here because our existing soil is heavy clay and quite compacted. The area was also a general dumping ground for who knows what so... Ultimately, this year is an experiment and we aren't even there fulltime yet since we're still living at his parents' place while renovating the house so... I dunno. I did choose to go back through and add some slow release fertilizer because the direct seeded plants seem to be struggling but I plan to get a soil tester when I get back and we'll see what's going on.
4. We have baby birds in the barn! The mama sparrow (we think that's what she is) has hatched 3 eggs. We read online that, once hatched, they leave the nest in about 2 weeks - which seems really fast but, sure enough, after about 2 weeks, the nest was empty. We know that all 3 were successfully raised but, unfortunately, we did find a deceased baby in the barn. I chose to bury it under the compost corner so it won't be bothered anytime soon.
5. I'm starting up my first aquarium over here. Back at the apartment, I've started my first planted aquarium over here. I really got into planted aquariums and shrimp keeping during the pandemic so I am taking what I learned and applying it to a new tank here in France. So far, it's got the hardscape, it's been filled with water, and I even have a few plants in it now. Since I'll be going to California for 3 weeks, I'm not adding any livestock yet but it could REALLY use a clean up crew right about now!
6. Compost corner is available. It needs a bit more finishing work but the 3 bins are in and they can be used if we want to. I cleared out the space, laid down some carboard to help prevent weeds, and also put a layer of 1/4 inch mesh to deter the burrowing creatures. Hopefully we'll get some good compost from this corner and I also would like to set up a worm compost area in the future!
7. Kitchen is almost ready for cabinet work!! Thankfully, we found a new/replacement electrician who had some time to squeeze us in. At the end of May, the kitchen is almost ready for the cabinet work to begin. I'm heading to the States for 3 weeks so I hope to return to an almost done kitchen! That would be pretty cool!
What else is new?
1. We have several other creatures moving onto the property as well...or maybe they were there first! We've seen some pretty large holes popping up here and there. Unsure what is making them but they appear to be single use because I cover them with cut weeds and the holes don't reopen. We've also seen the turds of rabbits, a badger, and probably a hedgehog! Francis knows that I am quite the animal lover so he's gifted me a "nature cam" that works on batteries and a micro SD card and we'll be setting that up in the garden to see who is coming to visit.
2. I've received my Carte de Sejour! This is something we weren't expecting to receive until after my return from the US but it came remarkably fast. So, with the carte de sejour, I can stay here for, at least, 1 more year. I need to go to 4 civics classes and prove A2 level French by year 2 but I have been studying with a tutor and he thinks I am already at A2 proficiency so I am hoping this won't be an issue. I am also still taking driving theory classes.
3. I've been set up with medical care for my Type 1 Diabetes. My Dinno Sante nurse managed to snag me an urgent appointment with a diabetologist so I am finally set up to have my diabetes supplies covered. For those who don't know, I have Type 1 Diabetes and we have been paying for all of my supplies out of pocket while we navigated the French medical system. Thankfully, it is MUCH better than the US system so, now that I have been properly onboarded, my diabetes care is 100% covered - which is amazing to me!
4. I'm researching as much as possible about chickens! I'm heading back to the States for much of June but we are hoping to get chickens as some point in the future so I am starting to research that so we can try to get off to a good start. We've split the garden area in half so we have a great chunk for the veggie stuff and a decent amount for the chickens to. I think the chicken area is around 6 meters by 14 meters but we only plan to have a MAX of 6 chickens and, more likely, just 3-4.
I'm off to the SF Bay Area for about 3 weeks! I leave on June 7th, and return on June 26th. While I am gone, I am hoping that Francis is able/willing to take my car to the shop for a much needed service. I'm also hoping that significant progress is made in the kitchen and on the electrical, since the electrician said he had some availability this month.
While I am out in the bay, I am planning a weekend trip to Oregon to see my BFF and will be local to the bay for the rest of the time. I'll be staying with family, seeing some friends, getting a few errands out of the way, stocking up on random stuff that I can't (reasonably) find out here, and eating my way through the Bay Area!! You laugh but I'm actually serious. There are definitely quite a few places that I miss and I need to hit them before I leave.
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.