Sunday, April 27, 2008

Building a Wall - not just any wall, a stone wall

We moved to the house a year ago but there are still many parts of it that's not completed (by the way, for those of you coming this summer, you'll be pleased to know that the guest bathroom is now done). One of which being the wall.

This weekend, Xavier's father, Rene (real name revealed cos after this post on the decoration ceremony, he doesn't want to remain anonymous on my blog) and Michel (how do you call someone who is the brother of the wife of the brother of the father of X ? we'll just call him ton ton Michel, like the Girl) are over to help build the stone wall. Not just any wall but a stone wall.

At this point, I should talk about this DIY bricolage here in the French countryside. When I first moved here & X talked about working on this house, I envision painting, sanding, screwing on a bulb or maybe hitting a nail in the wall to hang a painting. That's about as much bricolage that I can muster. We all know what X does for a living so he is not professional but yet he has built the chiminey, laid ALL the tiles in the house, built an entire mezzanine floor (with some help) & done numerous jobs around the house all by himself which I would have considered work for a professional.

And it's not just him, I believe his whole family is capable of building a house from scratch (not that they have done it of course), they all do their own DIY / renovation projects eg. his brother built his own pool. Okay granted Rene used to own a company that supplies construction materials so he knows a thing or two about this, but still you know what I mean, this is pretty awesome.

Anyway, since this is like the major activity going on in our village, all our neighbours, with no exception, have stopped by to check on the progress. Actually at the rate they are going, I think it should be finished in no time.

Just to prove my point, that is our very own cement mixer.
How many people do you know have one ?

Well since I can't really help out. I do what I can - supply them with coffee, pitchers of iced cold drinks & food. So what do you feed les macons - Meat & potatoes, of course.

White asparagus I'd just bought from the market

Caillette & fried potatoes

Let me introduce the caillette - an ardechoise speciality. It is made of minced pork, liver, blette (vegetable not unlike spinach), herbs, garlic & I can't remember what else. We made more than 200 of these during our last charcuterie session, divide them into plastic containers & freeze. Then when we need, just pop them into the oven for 2 hours & they are ready to be eaten. Rene's caillettes are the best. I don't remember ever buying them from the store & I have not tasted any better than his. These can be eaten hot or cold & generally with fried potatoes.


Beau Lotus said...

I am of course filled with envy as I absolutely dig walls like that and I love DIY men. Mine unfortunately only spends his time signing documents and sending sms/email on his blackberry.

Did you buy an old house? My dream is to buy one and renovate it to my heart's desire - but of course question is who's gonna do it?

petite fleur said...


He bought a stone farm house that is part of a hameau. It was practically in ruins & took a lot of work before we could finally moved in. Remember you said, better watch what you wish for. It sounds a lot more glamorous than it actually is. I'm going to organise my photos & perhaps do a post on the before & after pics of the house.

That's another reason they all do their own work. Getting a professional to do the work is expensive & takes forever.