Some days really can be a particular color. Here in Cadrieu, I most often feel my days as green...and millions of shades of green! Today is my last day before departure. Yesterday was my birthday. Yesterday could only be described as a "pink" day. It was a day of Moon River and Mom, a telephone Happy Birthday from Dad, and some very sweet garden discoveries.
My birthday had to be grass cutting day for me. Friday, I was exhausted from lots of fun in the Lot with Pat and Graeme and Sundays you have a very tiny window for using anything noisy out in the garden.
Before getting down to business, I had to play Moon River to start my day. Of course, I always think of Mom and she was there. It was the memories of all the birthdays when she and Dad sang Happy Birthday to all of us that brought the tears. This would be my first birthday without Mom's voice in that duet. I wondered if Dad would sing a solo?
I called Dad as usual, 2pm France-7am in St.Louis. Happy Birthday began before hello. and then he said: "Guess I should be happy that it's you and not someone else!" We laughed. I told him about my Moon River morning and we cried. He told me he'd thought the same thing. I haven't been able to play Moon River over the telephone to him on this trip. For now, it just doesn't feel right knowing Mom isn't there with him to enjoy it...but, that will come.
While cutting the grass, I ran right over my second red rose in the terrace flower box again for the second time. I stopped and decided that it needed a little attention. So, I pruned it up a bit, dug and weeded around it AND surrounded it with stones so there could be no doubt that there was something special there!
Then I remembered my tiny tea roses in the flowerbox on the lower terrace that I had also discovered had been whacked while I was away. I'd been giving it a little special attention too, so I went down to the lower terrace to give it the same treatment as the upstairs red guy...et voila! We were blooming! It felt like a very special birthday gift just for me.
I remembered how John Edward would always see a pink rose when a loved one was visiting from the other side...I first thought of Mom, then John's and Mike's Momie, Nannie, Vann, and...there were enough blooming there to sweetly cover my whole gang. What a lovely and loving Happy Birthday!
It was a very pink day!
Had you seen me walking home from the 8:25 Cahors-Figeac bus around 9:30 on yesterday morning, you'd have noticed that I'd humped my backpack for my visit with Pat and Graeme. Since I was sleeping over so we didn't have to rush back from our adventures so I could catch the bus home...I needed to bring a few more things with me than usual. Little did I know that there was another reason...Cahors Wine!
The lush aroma and the smoothness of their Cahors grabbed me immediately. I thought about the difficulty of getting it home on the bus, but didn't really hesitate too much.
The fun part was problem-solving with Pat and Graeme on Friday morning about the best way to carry it for the ride on the bus and the walk home...We ended up collapsing the box, putting four of the bottles in a wine bag and wrapping other stuff around it. The last two bottles got pj wrapped and I was good to go.
Funny...six bottles of Clos la Coutale was much lighter than my backpack usually is when I'm traveling to and from here!
You know what that means...even more wine next time.
...and, a very special thanks to Pat and Graeme for even MORE special times together. More about all of this very special day sometime soon!
Out and cutting back everywhere as you saw yesterday, I couldn't help but also capture: a few last hurrahs of the beauties; some before the chop for inside arrangements; and, other treasures to be found.
Grandma's deer plate/vase had only had roses in it in the past, but what about buddleias? Those deep deep purple ones were so pretty and really made the white stand out.
Throw in a little morning sunshine and you've got our magic and visitors popping up all over. What a treat!
And then, there were these two very perfect bird nests hidden among the buddleia branches. The smaller one was so tiny, I first thought it was just a big piece of moss but upon further inspection...I realized it was much more special than that. I love that the birds build their nests in the buddleia beside the barn and the buddleia on the lower terrace. It says that this is a safe and happy place!
I'm heading out this morning on the early bus to Cahors with a pitstop in Tour de Faure.
It's coffee with Jean-Luc and Odile and then on to meet Pat and Graeme at the Gare de Cahors at 11:30. We'll be leaving from there for a special lunch with our friend Clare and a day of exploring together. It's going to be an overnight adventure for me, so I'll be on the run and out of pocket for a bit. But I think I can promise you more fun, magic and special upon my return.
I rarely write two blog posts in one day. While my angel boy above was with me, I'd begun to post almost daily photos and a little story about him on Facebook in addtion to whatever I'd written about him on the blog. I began to wonder if it was too much. I soon discovered that it was just right. He came to me as Twister. He became my TWIST. And now, in his forever home he is Mister Twister!
I didn't realize it at the time, but this little guy had puppy power! Just having him in my life brought amazing things to me.
First, he connected me to Les Amis des Animaux and Lynn Hull. I was amazed that they were willing to drive more than three hours to bring him to me. As I posted the blog and the other shorts on Facebook, I began to get comments way beyond just my own "friendship" network. I reached out and shared my Facebook shorts on the Les Amis des Animaux page and on the page for Rehoming Animals in the Midi-Pyrenees.
Pretty soon I was enjoying contact with: Pam Garwood and "our" sweet and beautiful Vanille (aka Milli Vanilli); Ernestine Varga and that gorgeous boy Moogli; and, Steve Robbins who is Mr. Twister's and Zac's new family.
I also received positive feedback and support from: Donna Pilcher; Harry Fawcett; Eleanor Chivelli; Susan Jennings; and, Linda Walsh. (I hope I haven't left anyone out.) I confess, I enjoyed the "atta girls".
Secondly, the power of the puppy made my friendship with Annemarie Kremer and Gerard Niet an even closer one. They shared their "Lou" and their time with TWIST and I almost daily. We both learned a lot. They say it takes a village, but for us...it was a pack of wonderful friends.
I'm beginning to feel like I have a whole new pack in my life. (I even discovered "stealth anmimal lovers" in my current friendship network.) I love it. I already know that friendships are taking hold and I look forward to what lies ahead upon my return to Cadrieu in the spring.
Even though there's going to be 5000 miles and an ocean between us, I'm just as far away as the Facebook pages and plan to be keeping up. There are some favorites of mine that I want to be keeping an eye on from the states. There are always those that pull at your heartstrings...Of course, Vanille tops my list and I so want to see Moogli find his forever home. Unlike Mr. Twister, they are both in foster care giving you their paw and saying: Adoptez-Moi! Then there are a couple I keep up with and have been watching for a while:
There's Baxter who can be seen at email@example.com. He's a beautiful boy who is 6 years old and weighs 27 kgs. He's had all his vaccines, ID, neutered, and de-parasited. He's good with everyone...cats, dogs and kids. He's a little shy and needs confidence.
Poor guy was all set to go to his forever home and it all fell through at the last minute.
Check this sweetheart out. Look at the depth of the sweetness and love in those eyes.
You won't be sorry.
And then, there's Lulu who I've been watching even since before I left the states to come to Cadrieu for these two months. Look at him run and those ears flying in the air. He might take off at any minute! You can find Lulu on the Rehoming Animals in the Midi-Pyrenees site. He's a tiny guy who weighs only 4kgs. He was born with a fused spine, so he struggles to walk but it's never stopped him. It doesn't affect any of his bodily functions...
...AND he now has a wheelchair purchased through donations that can help him get around even better. He's calm, barks to let you know he wants to go out, and is just a lovey boy.
How can you not admire his spunk and zest for life? He'd be an amazing addition to anyone's family!
And so, as I head home to the states to get our plans in place so Sammie Cat and I can return in the spring...I wanted to say a HUGE MERCI to Les Amis des Animaux for the TWIST, new friendships, stronger friendships, AND to make a final plea for these and other very special four-legged children who are still out there looking for their forever homes.
Mr. Twister doesn't have to stand at the window hoping that his forever family will drive up to take him home with them.
Let's find forever families for the rest of these sweeties too!
See you in the spring!
...and then there's "cutting back". Yesterday and the day before were days of cutting back. It is a lot of work and can be a painful process when you look at nasty twisting pieces that had once been flowering, lush, and beautiful.
But, heading back to the states next week; getting all of the buddleias cut back was at the top of my to do list. The starkness can be shocking, but...
...the true beauty of the Chatette and the magic of her stone shine through!
I'd learned on Monday, that any work in the front needed to be done early before the sun got too high. My last job for Tuesday was a big one...the lower terrace. Out at 7, I finished up some odds and ends on the front of the house and then...
...moved to the lower terrace.
I was very proud of myself. By 9:30, pushing 10am, I was as done as I was going to be. I had quite a pile of branches against the back wall, and many of the prettiest features of the Chatette and the terraces were shining through.
By getting this done now, all of the many spring projects are going to be easier to begin and complete. As you can imagine, I have quite a list. But, leaving knowing that we'll be back in 6-8 months in March/April helps.
One more pass of the lawnmower and I'll be leaving feeling "complete".
When I first purchased the Chatette in 2002, I had a picture in my mind of a place surrounded by buddleia and millions of butterflies.
The butterflies came in droves and so did the hummingbird moths.
I went to work over the years, continuing to paint just that picture step by step. I purchased and planted various colors of buddleias, but soon found out how easy they were to grow from cuttings. Then, I discovered them popping up all over the property. Soon they were seeding across the road along the wall. This year, they are now blooming lushly. And, as Evelyn and Jean pointed out...only in front of my property!
We've become Buddleia Alley!
It really is beautiful. We are even MORE surrounded by butterflies. But, I can imagine that the department road crew is cursing me madly with all those volunteer buddleias out there to be cut or killed.
With less than a week to departure, I am already out there pruning my babies back everywhere. I'd already had visions of buddleias higher than the roof of the Chatette! We were on our way...but I'll share the pruning results soon.
Having a terrace that is both uncovered and covered running the length of the back of the Chatette is a treat and very practical. It is as close to a perfect party space as you can get in my book!
One of the things I most enjoy (and sometimes feel like I need a party or celebration to do), is opening up all the windows and doors of the Chatette and feeling it as a living, breathing, happy place.
And, Friday night it was!
You never really know what people are going to want to do when company comes. I knew that my time here at the Chatette with Pat and Graeme was going to be very short. I'd already consulted with them by phone about Friday night's apero party, but we still found that Friday took on a bit of a life of its own.
After a grocery/apero party run in to the Intermarche, we headed over to La Pause for a coffee and to be sure we made a reservation for lunch.
Groceries home, we turned right around and headed back into Cajarc to cross the river and go to Saujac for a favorite view of our place from the other side. Fuller trees made those shots more difficult to get, BUT Pat and I were undaunted.
From there it was up, up, and up to the Belgian Cross (Croix de Belge)...
...a wander through France profunde to get to the Gouffre de Lantouy and then back across the bridge to Cajarc and La Pause for our wonderful lunch together.
And, it wasn't even noon!