La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Closing One Chapter....

I don't know if anybody is still out there, but if there is, I would like to apologise now for not keeping up with this blog.
We've had many exciting plans for our future here and none of them came to fruition, so we think it is time to indeed close this chapter and start penning down the new one in our story. The ink had dried up in our pen and we're looking for another one at the bottom of the clutter drawer. Until that new pen is being found, I'll leave you with the news that our house in Ireland is now on the market !

It is a fantastic house in the most stunning surroundings. Don't believe me ? Take a look for yourselves.
House in Sneem, co Kerry, Ireland

Have a great day,
Patricia xxx...x

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Merry Christmas !

I feel like I've let down my readers. Not only that, I've let myself down by not posting here in a very long time. You know how it goes, you have 'writer's block' or you think nobody is waiting to read a bit of drivel.  And before you know it, months and months have passed.

Anyhow, I just dropped in to wish you all a very Happy Christmas !

Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In Use Again

That's our Wendy house for chickens, that is.

Our oldest and the only original one left (after foxes and mink had a go), Bluebell decided to retract from the newcomers in the coop and settle down to become broody. For the first time in three years.

She sat on two eggs and a few days ago we welcomed a little chick (only one) into the world.

Out came the Wendy house, but this time we've placed it on our patio area at the house, so we can keep an eye on her. We weighted the little coop down with 2 concrete slabs. Yes, it can be windy here, but the reason for this is that our dogs (or maybe a fox) wouldn't be able to lift it up with their noses.

I can't show you photos from the chick and her mama, because they don't venture out yet. I can tell you though that it is a black chick with a white patch at the front.
A bit like this :
Ha ha ha ! Honestly !
Funny that. The first time we noticed this kitten (Pixie) was in the hen house, before she decided to come and live with us for good.
If we didn't have a black chicken in the coop, and if Pixie wasn't a girl....or a cat... alrighty !

What have I been doing over the last week ?  Well, cutting up and dividing pork. Our last two pigs have now found homes into several freezers with several households. I've cut chops,loin roasts, thick pork belly slices, taken out the tenderloins, back ribs, spare ribs and cut 2 legs and one shoulder into manageable roasts. Two legs are curing at the butcher's for ham.
We've made about 25 kg of sausages and hopefully today I can start with the mortadella/bologna/luncheon meat.
I am in the process of dry-curing bacon and some of it will be smoked.  

Not much goes to waste as I have made brawn from the heads, and cooked all the bones too. The meat that was picked off the bones is for the dogs, and I can tell you, it is still a substantial amount that shouldn't be thrown away. 

Thanks for visiting.
Comments are very much appreciated, even if I don't always reply, they are always read.
Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Project : A Mural

A masterpiece it is not...
But when my friend, Jutta said she wanted a mural with grasses on the wall of her physio clinic room, I said, in jest, "I'll do it". And 2 afternoons later, here we are.

Now, you'd better sit in a darkened room if you want to check out the pictures of this project.
The wall is a soft light blue with a spring-like feel to it. The other colour Jutta used on her walls is a light green very close to the blue. And if I had used that green it would not have been visible at all, so I added a brighter green to her original colour to get the desired effect.
Still, looking at the pictures in bright sunlight won't show you much, as I have experienced.

These two photos, Jutta took, with the light in her room off, and on. It gives a completely different feel.

I took this one coming into the room from the hallway.

A few close-ups.

Jutta is very happy with the result and it is just how she wanted it. That'll do me just fine.
Now they only have to finish off their new-build, so they can start enjoying it all.

It has been raining heavily on and off and it feels bitterly cold (I'll have to start wearing socks in my sandals again), The few veg in the garden are starting to curl up on themselves from the cold, as if they want to return to the soil. Can't blame them.

Keep well !
Patricia xxx...x

Friday, June 02, 2017

Gypsy No More

Oh, the kitten is still here, but since she is settled now we decided to ditch the name Gypsy.
Bert thought the name Pixie suited her so much better, and he is right.

We still don't like you, but we tolerate you. Just don't come too close !

I'm only concentrating on this water. Mine !

They've gone !

I'm the youngest and I always get my way.

Pixie is cute, friendly and funny. And she has a gap between her front teeth, both top and bottom.

Have a great weekend !
Patricia xxx...x

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Lawn

Slowly emerging from the depths of building rubble and hardcore, we can finally say we have something resembling a 'manicured' lawn.
There is nothing there that hasn't popped up by itself, mainly wild grasses and 'weeds' and we are okay with that.

What I love about a manicured lawn is the contrast it gives to the wild and rugged landscape beyond.
We can now use a regular lawn mower for the first time instead of a strimmer.

Obviously in a few areas around the land we (the royal 'we) still use the latter.

Simon, our English volunteer, who helped us out for 2 weeks made short shrift of the long grass around the chicken and duck runs and also near the poly tunnel and around the soft fruit shrubs.

It always gives me a nervous breakdown if anyone else but Bert does the strimming, because you can be sure one or more plants or trees will be cut by accident.

At the moment we have Marcus, from Canada, here and I think if he wasn't getting hungry at the time,  he would have gone on well into the night, he enjoyed it that much.

When I was looking through some photos yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised with what we have done in the four years we've lived here. Obviously, with the help of volunteers and paid labour. 

Just to show you the difference from just moving in in April 2013 (that's my mum, btw) and now.
Third photo is from July 2013 and then yesterday.

It sometimes helps to look back and see the difference one has made, instead of always looking at what still needs to be done. 

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and the coming week.
Patricia xxx...x

Thursday, May 18, 2017

On the Farm

Over the winter months our hens and roosters have been picked off one by one by a fox, until we had only 2 chickens left. We only have one of our first chooks still here, but she's not in these pictures as she's sitting on a nest. Good girl.

This big boy is Sigi and he's our fourth cockerel in the period of a year.  Around this time last year we had a visit from the mink and that beast killed  the boy of that time and four girls.
Our feathered friends are not allowed to extreme free-range in the garden anymore. They now stay in their run with 4 ultrasonic fox deterrents and electric fence, the latter is in the process of being installed.

Ah, the ducks !  We had 3 female and one male. Now we have only 2 girls and himself, Cyril.
One of the girls flew off, came back, flew off, came back..... flew off and never came back.  I think Cyril then went looking for her, because he also flew off and didn't come back either.  Luckily he was spotted at his old home at our friends/neighbours.  It was a full 2 weeks before he could be caught and was delivered back to his girls. Not before we clipped one of his wings though. We managed to do the same with the ducks just after he left for his holiday.

We still have 2 pigs, they've been with us for a year now, but soon it'll be time for them to go. 😩

I'll leave you with a picture of the cutest kitten

Okay, one more then...

Thanks for visiting.
Patricia xxx...x
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