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October, 2008:

Halloween Skullfest!

Bit of a Bellebouche tradition to carve out a home-grown pumpkin, previous years we’ve raised dozens of squashes and gourds… they all get put to good use – usually in the kitchen. Other years they’ve gone into piggy crash helmets and carvings. This year a quick google turned up a grisly Skull.

First step, whip the top off and hollow out the guts of the pumpkin. I had a gnarly pumpkin in mind – we probably had about 35kg of assorted fruits this year from the pumpkin patch. This was an Atlantic giant that didn’t get too big… loads of flesh that will end up in a soup in a day or two!

Pumpkin Prep

Then freehand in the template


Not looks a bit like the online source


Now, just hack away the bits that don’t look like an eerie skull.


That takes just a couple of minutes. Time to spark up!

in the dark..
close up..

It was pretty good and had the desired spooky effect.

Next year I’ll try and have a go at something like this… inspired carvings from Ray Villafane

Hey Pesto

The last of this year’s summer harvest was pulled up and brought in before the frost, like last year, damaged it.


Autumnal Artichoke Lunch

Today was a gorgeous autumn day – warm, sunny and beautiful blue skies.  I love days like this.  We decided to go and visit the Lac du Cebron and watch the birdlife for a little while.

Lac du Cebron

We have visited this site many times in the past and enjoyed watching the flocks of birds coming and going across the lake.  There weren’t that many birds today so we decided to take a look at the lake’s newest bird hide.

Bird Hide

This hide opened earlier this year and looks really impressive.  Unfortunately, it was closed until 2.30 and today was the last day it was open for this year.  Oh well, there is always next year.

On the way back to the car, we explored the new walking trail and admired the firey autumn colours.

Autumn colours

After stopping for a welcome cup of coffee from the flasks we had packed with our binoculars, we headed home. A few days earlier I had bought some large artichokes with a view to enjoying them as a starter for dinner one evening.

Today was such a lovely day, warm, sunny and no wind that we had the artichokes for lunch outside.  What a lovely relaxed meal. White wine, fresh bread and garlic butter and spicy mayonnaise for dipping the leaves into.


The artichokes kept us busy, peeling each layer of the leaves off and dipping them into the sauces. Eventually leaving a pile of leaves

finished leaves

and a bowl of the inside hair


Even the neighbours cat enjoyed the culinary delight.


I’m sure the neighbours wondered why their cat’s breath stank of garlic when he returned home that night!

Finally, a plate of cheese – rocamadour – my favourite with a swedish cracker.


The perfect meal to end our outside lunches this year.  The weather is now forecast to get cold and wet.

Here’s looking to spring 2009 and more delicious outside meals.

Bank Problem

No – it is nothing to do with the current economic crisis in the banking industry.


The saga of the lone female

The first night the lone female guineafowl was on her own, I thought it would be best to catch her and put her safely into the stables for the night.  Unfortunately, I forgot that to catch a guineafowl it is best to leave it until they have roosted and then in the dark shine a bright light into their faces which stuns them.

With the help of my father we tried to grab her, but she disappeared into the night  We searched the garden in the dark but she was nowhere to be seen.  We came in, hoping she would survive the night.


Aux 40 Gourmands – Poitiers (35/50)

We discovered this charming little eatery on one of our lunchtime visits to Poitiers.  The restaurant is conveniently found nearby to the Carnot carpark, in the centre of Poitiers.


And then there was only one …

Woke up at 0800 this morning to the unique sound of a guineafowl calling in distress.  After finding the said noisy guineafowl it was then apparent that it was all alone.  The male was no where near.

The trap was still armed, although only with eggs as the local kitten had managed to get itself trapped 3 times just for a meaty meal.   I went on the hunt for the missing male and eventually found what was left of him in the hedge on the other side of the garden from the last victim (and the trap).

From the remains it was apparent it is not a fouine as I had originally thought – it was sans tete but had been plucked and chewed all over.  My neighbour had said he’d recently seen a fox nearby his property and as the remains were being taken in that direction I can only assume this is the culprit.

New plan of action – I have set the trap where I found the carcass and put the remains inside.  Maybe the mysterious animal will return tonight to finish its meal.

Watch this space …

Not Again

After a little episode earlier this year with a predator and one of our chickens, all seemed quiet and normal life resumed. Originally after the attack, I had been locking them in over night but after a few weeks and no sign of the culprit I have lapsed and allowed them complete freedom again.  That is up until now …


The Trouble With Chickens

There is nothing better than a free-range egg for breakfast.  The knowledge that the wonderful golden yolk has come from all natural sources in the garden – whether grubs, flies, worms, beetles, spiders etc etc etc – just makes you all warm and fuzzy inside as you dip your soldier into your egg. BUT …


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