Permaculture Strawberries - and REAL Blog coming soon!

June 11, 2012

Last year we spent not enough time in the garden, due to her indoors spending far too much time studying. It got out of hand. Stuff found its niche. The strawberries in particular spread. Everywhere. All over a south-facing patch of the walled garden that was otherwise occupied by creeping buttercups, the mainstay in our Normandy meadows at this time of year.
We had tried unsuccessfully to grow strawberries in other parts of the garden, possibly less south-facing, possibly slightly damper, possibly slightly drier, to no avail.

But this year, yo! Strawberry jackpot! Protected amongst long grass (not being weeding maniacs) these bright red sensual jewels provide great excitement for small boy strawberry hunts. Some would definitely be eligible for a Strawberry version of the Rorschach [ink blot] test, causing great amusement to all, and most would never make the supermarket shelf.

But oh the joy of field-to-face in minutes (those that make it past a few seconds!) and washed down with pink ALDI champagne :), one of the few times we've given in to something really frivolous! We've no idea what variety the strawberries are, so have given them the honorary name of one of our fave Tweeters, @Permagoddess.

Her indoors has made this Zen spot for a little gentle contemplation. Old granite doorstep on old cornerstones. Turned towards the Laughing Buddha or outwards with a view over the whole walled garden. Few minutes of lugging stone around definitely worth it!

We'll be starting up a Proper Blog soon, provisionally very tackily called Diary of an Accidental Smallholder Abroad. But it does what it says on the tin and will do for now! So long, till then!

Earth Day Efforts in Normandy!

April 23, 2012
Well, we did our bit for Earth Day on 22nd April, and got Very Earthy indeed, muddy even, in our re-rotavated but still rather sticky and heavy patch!

So, here is the first planting of the year, with a bunch of brassicas (Romanesco and caulis) and some tender Appia lettuce seedlings artfully arranged around the outside of the first bed, prior to interior planting of beans and peas ... 

We will hopefully try to protect the lettuce from our voracious Normandy slug population with some organic so...
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Our new girlies!

April 23, 2012
Here are our latest chooks: 4 French hens! White Sussex....and various. We've reinforced the fence to avoid another foxy drive-by, and we shut them up completely in their house at night... Chickens are sold here in France as "Prêt à pondre" (Ready to Lay) - somewhat like Prêt à Manger (not these ones!) or Prêt à Porter (well you'd look pretty silly). 

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Solar tracker in lego!

April 6, 2012
Here's a small boy's vision of an alternative energy centre!
Sally Woods-Bryan (@Echorenovate)
4/6/12 1:44 PM
@lego #alternativeenergy centre, by our 8yr old explaining #solartracker we're making! #lego #solar #ilovelego

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Our very first spring lamb!

March 16, 2012

Et voila! Our very first lamb arrived safely this morning!

After seemingly little effort, to first-time mum, who wandered
around in a daze for about 2h without her little one in tow...
Then we did a very short "force-feed" of little one onto the nipple,
and she has since settled, apparently happy with her lot....
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Snowdrops over, awaiting lambs

March 16, 2012

Snowdrops at Le Vivray have melted away now.
Taken over by daffodils. Awaiting lambs with impatience.
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Follow us on Twitter!

March 11, 2012
Follow us on Twitter as @echorenovate

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Our wind turbines

January 4, 2012

Our wind turbines were made on site, from raw materials, here at Le Vivray. Both are 3.7m diameter design from Hugh Piggott’s book "A Wind Turbine Recipe Book" that can be found at with optimal winding of the magneto coils to match wind and blade design, and a height including blades of 11m. The blades automatically tip out of the wind when the turbine reaches maximum speed (“self-furling”). The turbines give 1 to 2kW each in even very moderate winds, with max ou...

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Cours d'anglais gratuits - infos

January 4, 2012

Vos enfants n’aiment pas trop l’anglais? Vous avez envie de vous y mettre, mais ….? Plus d’excuses - c’est le moment! Venez prendre le thé avec nous, jouez avec nos enfants, participez a nos projets d’écorenovation. Accueil chaleureux assuré dans une famille anglaise qui adore la culture “british” tout en étant pleinement integrée dans leur vie normande! Contactez-nous!

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© 2014 Echorenovate Sally Woods-Bryan & Leslie Bryan Microengineering 

Le Vivray, 61120 Neuville sur Touques, FRANCE