La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, 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 we did and 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, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Latest Project - Guestroom

I've been neglecting the blog world and I have a good excuse. We've been busy.
So yes, the guestroom. 
It's an okay room in general and doesn't need lots of work but there was this useless and lost space near the en-suite bathroom that I thought could do better.
My mother, Irma, arrives later today with my 8 y/o nephew, Mathias, in tow (or is that the other way round). They fight (argue, a bit) when they have to share a bed and bedding and he is getting a bit too grown up to sleep in the same bed as grandma.

To surprise him we made an inglenook bed for him in the forgotten corner of the room.

As luck would have it, the measurements corresponded with an IKEA kiddie mattress (160 x 70 cm) and a bookshelf for underneath.

And then I set Bert to work.

Nil, our last volunteer, painted the wall behind in a turquoise blue. and the woodwork white.

The wall stickers I bought a good while back in Lidl.

What have I been doing ?
I made the curtains.

And a duvet cover for Mathias.

Nil made the design for the hot air balloon and the boat and cut the fabrics for them.

As a side note. Nil has left us in the meantime for  another hosting place and it is her birthday today.
Happy Birthday, Nil !!!

Mathias can enjoy this for one week only. Then his 5 y/o sister Sarah arrives and she'll turf him out onto the air mattress and take possession of this inglenook bed.

I made a duvet cover for her too. And my sewing machine has been playing up big time while I was in the process of all this sewing malarkey.

I haven't even started on her Cinderella dress yet !

Looking forward to a month of family visiting ! I have however, no idea when I'll be back on the blog as there will be lots to do.

Take care and enjoy the summer, if you have one.

Patricia xxx...x

Thursday, July 07, 2016

The Survivors ...

are safe for now.
But not before that dastardly mink paid a second visit in broad daylight. We were just on our way to get the survivors to a safe place when we heard the commotion. It ran off, after some serious chasing by Bert, Nil and me.

The dogs had to move out of the garage to make room for these two.  

The Wendy house for chooks was easily moved.

They have gotten over their initial shock and it is obvious in their behaviour that they feel secure now.

The boot room has been emptied (of destructible-by-dogs-things) and the dog beds placed underneath the stairs. Xena, the cat, likes this setup.

A mink trap has been placed in the chicken coop at the suspected entrance. Fingers and toes crossed.
Now we'll have to put our thinking caps on, how to secure the chooks in future, which will involve a lot of  hard labour.

Patricia xxx...x

Edited at 9 am to add. We trapped it !!!!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

An Eerie Silence...

....has come over the hen house and run. But I  am inwardly screaming, pinking away a few tears.
We always say goodnight to the girls and Arthur the 3rd, when they are settled high up in the rafters of their home, before we close the door. We didn't clip their wings, just so they could find higher ground in case of an emergency.

This morning when Bert went to say good morning he thought to himself that it was so quiet. Normally there is a lot of racket going on while Arthur is chasing the girls for a bit of nooky.
When he opened the door he was in for a shock. 
Two hens have escaped the carnage that happened during the night or early morning. A consequence of the tiniest hole that would accommodate a mink !

This is the least offensive photo of the carnage.

Mammy hen and baby where safe in the Wendy house. The question is for how long ?
And what about the two survivors ? I can't possibly let them sleep there again tonight.

I am quietly screaming !

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Yesterday's Little Visitor

I can't believe it's been just over a year since this one came into the world.
Kaemon is the grandson of our dear friends Yvonne & Sigi from Blueberry Hill Farm

Yesterday, Yvonne and Kaemon paid us a visit.

Utterly adorable little fella !

Patricia xxx...x

Friday, July 01, 2016


Lemongrass is hard to come by in this corner of the world and you can't really do anything without it if you want to cook some of the most flavoursome  Asian cuisine.
The main supermarket in the nearest town doesn't always have it in stock and when they do I seem to have the last packet of 2 measly stalks.
One day evening (when other people visit the pub) I was browsing Pinterest  again and saw a way to propagate lemongrass from shop bought stalks. It is always worth giving it a try, don't you think ?

Thus I bought 2 stalks of the lemongrass when I next noticed them in said supermarket (yes, the last ones again). I sliced juuuuuust the thinnest slice off the bottom of the almost woody end. Plonked them in a jar of water on the kitchen worktop by the windows.

I checked them every hour the first day to see if they were sprouting roots yet. It took a bit longer but not much. I religiously changed the water every two days.

Roisin helps with the checking for roots. The first thing you'll notice is the grass starts to grow, green, before the roots pop through.

After a week or two you'll notice a good root system developing.

The fresh green bit near the roots is a new stalk beginning to grow.

"You're boring me now"

Yesterday, Nil potted them up for me in organic compost.

And now I'll water and wait.

Enjoy the weekend !
Patricia xxx...x
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