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May, 2009:

Loire Valley American Festival.

A jaunt ‘Up-North’ to Tourraine for the annual Loire Valley American Festival. It’s essentially a Harley Davidson bike rally with added Blues/Rock’n’Roll. Held this year in the sleepy town of Luynes just to the west of Tours.
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Shinyness

Two days in the hole (digging a 9M³ void for a new septic tank – blog coming soon), sun was beating down at a toasty 27 degrees and I felt a bit like Sir Alec Guinness in Bridge on the River Kwai where he has to do a bit of solitary confinement because… Officers don’t dig!  Anyway, a brief glimpse out of the corner of my eye and I wasn’t alone.

Shiny Beetle

We see a handful of these things scurrying around every once in a while… but this is the first time I had a camera on hand to try and snap him up close. The picture only really gives a tiny hint of what they’re like… amazingly iridescent and not unlike a dung beetle!

Learning to fly

Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
The town lit up the world got still

takeoff

so go the immortal words of Tom Petty. And that’s what popped immediately into my mind when Mrs Fod showed me this photograph. Our Christmas Geese are making great progress and this now apparently means flying lessons. They look to us for guidance on all matters bird-like as we are the uber-birds. So, if you run around the paddock flapping your arms they… run around the paddock flapping their wings in unison. It’s all very entertaining.

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If it ain’t broke, don’t try an’ fix it…

… except when it was broke hacked. Very broke HACKED!

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He’s beautiful, blind as a bat and not too lucky in love

…we’ve proven that, at least, his Pencil is Fully Leaded.
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Steaming black leviathan

Not quite the normal picturesque view we enjoy on the terrace….

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Oh no, no Chauffe Eau

Bugger. It Broke.
Rusty Bullethole

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La Brasserie de Bellebouche – c’est ouvert!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating… or in this case… the drinking!

I knocked up a batch of beer a month ago, time for an initial taste test.

Fat of the land label - Winner
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Waste not, Want Not.

After bottling a batch of Bellebouche Ale I was left with a hefty slurry of yeast and the remaining fallout from the brewing vessel. The brew had a long ‘protein rest’ with the cracked corn I steeped it with and threw a large amount of sediment (the ‘Trub’ or Trubescent material) after fermentation was complete.

Yeast Trub Beer

Here’s some of the leftovers seperated out into beer on top, the trub and then a bit of yeast at the bottom, reluctant to throw this away (and noting that the yeast was still ticking away – you can see the CO2 bubbles in it) I decided to make some bread with a couple of spoons full. Here’s how it went

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A Swarm of Bees in May…

… is worth a load of Hay. Or so goes the Nursery Rhyme..

A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July isn’t worth a fly.

So when trolling around the Garden on my tractor I spotted…

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