lundi 30 novembre 2015

Please have a seat and play

I found in the attic of our farm an old piano stool. After treatment against wood parasites, new painting and replacing the old material, it is ready for use again.

For this type of work you need some patience to put out all the nails and put new ones. You will need also a small hammer.

The coming winter, I plan to do an armchair.

Missing pieces of the puzzle

I found in a flea market in Belgium a tray made of african wood with ivory incrustations. I got it for a good price due to some pieces missing.

With horn from those funny birds made of it you will certainly see on flea markets too, my personal handyman (= husband) made the missing pieces and replaced them. That's it:

Schmilblick (1)

Long time ago, the French TV presented a game called “Schmilblick”: a picture of a strange object that had to be recognized by the players. This word entered the French vocabulary to name something difficult to recognize.

You can see many schmilblicks in flea markets. Here is one.

Have you any idea of what is this?
Just to help you, it was used by business men travelling and sleeping in hotels.

Do it yourself

Here is another before & after example with this little art deco side table found at one flea market.


It is now ready for use again after sanding, treatment against wood parasites, application of walnut stain and varnish.

Back into business (2)

To continue with the list of renovations, before & after, here is a small chest made of wood, with the so called Spanish style. I got it for free at a flea market in Waterloo close to Brussels. It was broken and the owner wanted to get rid of it. My husband began by fixing a missing and broken plank on the top. Then I had to do something for the blemishes.
I used some walnut stain to colour the blemishes and then applied two coats of varnish. The chest is now back in business and used to store the shoes in our entrance hall.
Well, in the meantime it has been used as well by our two puppies and their nice new teeth. The coffer needs a new renovation!


With a scientist background, and after a life as teacher and then abroad, we came back to France and run the cottage where we met each other, going on with our family dream: make you know our farm situated in the Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park, our forest in Natura 2000 area and our beautiful region as well.

With our children, Erik and Loïc, we can welcome you in French, English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian or Occitan and share with you what we know about astronomy, geology, botanic, photography, bow and crossbow practice, medieval fencing, animal care (rabbit, dogs and cats), Occitany regional history… according to your choices and wishes. After the visit of an amazing geological site or after playing with a dragonfly, you will never look at Nature with the same eyes.

More details/photos about the cottage:

And some nice places close to it:


Together with three world heritage sites around:

Episcopal City of Albi:

Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne:
Canal du Midi :

More on the Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park: clic here

How to reach our small valley?
Several routes are possible. For the first time we advice the following which are the most convenient:

Via Lyon/Montpellier

Via Paris/Bordeaux/Toulouse
Latitude : 43.479051
Long : 2.171363
There is a flag on the front wall of the house

Activities proposed during your holidays

  "In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks" John Muir

1-     Forest trails

Biodiversity in a mixed forest of the Central Massif

       Guardian Trees

        Mosses & lichens


        Miscellaneous plants

        Mushrooms (Autumn holidays)

Our farm and forest in the valley of the creek Le Sant.
The cottage is 300 m downstream
2-       Geology trails

        Black Mountain and its rocks

        Metamorphic rocks trail

        Karst trail

        Granite trails (Lampy & Sidobre)

3-       Astronomy evenings

        From the Earth to the Moon

        Wonderful solar system

        Billions of stars

        Infinite galaxies

       Star-night national event:  weekend end July-beginning August, one subject per year
      ex :
     7, 8 and 9/8/2015: climat and atmosphere of planets
     5, 6, 7, 8 and 9/8/2016: distances in the Universe and comets
    28, 29 and 30/7/2017: exoplanets suitable for life
"look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything better"
Albert Einstein
4-       Local History, Occitany

Albigensian crusade (Cathar)

History of fortified sites and castra

Albi and Castres cities

Jean Jaures

Black Mountain WWII maquis

Occitan, language of the troubadours

 Ruins of the Castle of Lastours
5-       Introduction to viticulture & oenology

Gaillac wines

French vineyards and wines

European vineyards and wines

World vineyards and wines

6-       Introduction to photography

Shooting & printing in black and white argentic photography

       Shooting and digital treatment


7-        Introduction to bow and crossbow

8-        Introduction to medieval fencing

9-   Mountain bike trails

      1 MB for children, 1MB  for teenager, 1 MB for adult,  to borrow

      - La Capelette

      - Le Pas du Sant

      - Contrast

10- Hiking trails

      Le tour du Cerf (easy)

      Le moulin foulon (very easy)

      Le balcon du haut Sant (easy)

      La Capelette (easy)

      Contrast (easy)

Creek trail

Some more difficult trails are also available for trained teenagers and adults.    
For all forest, geological and hiking trails, hiking shoes are needed.
For the Creek trail, plastic boots are needed. 

11- Restauration of old objects and furniture

12- Pyrography


Note about pictures:
I am shooting most of the pictures posted on this blog, otherwise the name of the author is always mentioned.
They are shot with two Sony cameras (Cyber-shot G or Cyber-shot Rx100III).
They are on-the-spot and subject neither to any change of the nature around nor to treatment with Photoshop except for some of them which have been cropped.  When pictures modified with Photoshop are posted it will be mentioned.

Equipment available in the cottage for babies and kids

Ø   2 baby chairs

Ø   2 baby beds

Ø   1 bed for young child

Ø   1 playpen       

Ø   1 baby bouncer

Ø   1 baby walker

Ø   1 baby seat for mountain bike

Ø   1 bike for young child

Ø   1 sand box in the garden

Ø   1 safety barrier for the staircase

Ø   1 stroller

Ø   1 plastic bath tub, 2 baby pots, 2 changing mats, toys, books…

samedi 28 novembre 2015

Back into business

For many reasons I like flea markets. My mother taught me that every object has it's story to tell, even if many are no more useful. With some patience and a bit of luck, you can find a small treasure in every flea market. In addition I hate waste and like restoration of broken objects in order to use them back, for their initial purpose or for something else.

To begin with an example, here is a nice couple of brushes in olive wood I found in Saint-Paul Cap de Joux, a famous flea market between the cities of Castres and Lavaur.

Photo La Dépêche du midi

As you can see in the before & after pictures, after cleaning them and with a drop of olive oil these two brushes are good as new. I do not intend to change the cat’s moustaches and straighten them. He is funnier like this. 

Flea markets agenda

As a buyer or as a seller you like flea markets? Here is the link to know the agenda of the events scheduled around here:

mercredi 25 novembre 2015

Bienvenue chez nous

De formation scientifique et après une vie active dans l'enseignement puis à l'étranger, nous avons repris le gîte rural où nous nous sommes connus et le rêve familial de faire découvrir notre ferme dans le Parc Régional du Haut-Languedoc, notre forêt en zone Natura 2000 et notre belle région.
Notre gîte est labellisé "Panda" Gîtes de France depuis 2015.

Avec nos enfants, Erik et Loïc, nous pourrons vous accueillir en français, anglais, néerlandais, allemand, espagnol, italien ou occitan pour vous faire partager nos passions : astronomie, géologie, botanique, photographie, tir à l'arc et arbalète, escrime médiévale, soins aux animaux (lapins, chiens et chats), histoire régionale au cœur de l'Occitanie... en s'adaptant à vos goûts et envies de découvertes que vous pourrez ensuite partager avec vos amis à votre retour.

Après avoir exploré un site géologique rare ou avoir joué avec une libellule, votre regard sur la nature ne sera plus jamais le même.

Photos du gîte sur le site web des Gîtes de France à l'adresse:

Ou sur le site web des Gîtes de France Tarn:
Où se trouvent aussi des informations touristiques sur le Tarn.

Et déjà un avant-goût:

Ainsi que la situation des trois sites classés au Patrimoine Mondial de l’humanité par l’UNESCO autour du gîte :

Cité épiscopale d’Albi :
Ville fortifiée historique de Carcassonne :
Canal du Midi :


Diffusée le mercredi 4 janvier 2017, l’émission Des Racines & des Ailes passe chez nous, dans la Montagne Noire, au pied de la Capelette de Dourgne.

L'avion survole notre vallée située à l'arrière-plan où se trouvent notre ferme et notre gîte (à 0.39 minute dans l'extrait suivant):

Comment atteindre notre petite vallée ?
Itinéraire conseillé pour venir jusqu’au gîte la première fois. En effet, il y a d’autres routes, en particulier à travers la Montagne Noire ; elles sont très jolies mais un peu tortueuses. Vous aurez le temps de les découvrir sur place.

Via Paris/Bordeaux/Toulouse (cliquer sur le lien Google map ci-dessous)

Via Montpellier/Carcassonne (cliquer sur le lien Google map ci-dessous)

Latitude : 43.479051
Long : 2.171363
Le gîte est au bout du hameau de La Rivière du Sant
Il y a la plaque Gîtes de France et un drapeau sur la façade du gîte