Back to Le Shack and a sense of déjà-vu

Hello and welcome to the latest blog on August 27th 2021

No reason for this photo, taken on our trip down, other than it is a beautiful sky.

We arrived back at Le Shack on Tuesday afternoon. We’ve only been gone two months but it doesn’t take nature long to re-establish itself. For those of you who have followed us as we gradually reclaimed this wilderness since we moved in late last year, prepare yourselves – if this was a battle, nature is the undoubted winner.

Access to the cabin is across our field, two acres of sloping land that we allow to grow wild, apart from a track that we keep clear. As you can see from the picture below, the track has become slightly overgrown now so one of our first jobs was to cut it back. The second shot shows that order has been re-stored. Whoever invented the strimmer deserves a medal.

Before….
…..and after.

Our second job was to re-install the solar panels on their stands. We keep this area clear so that we get maximum exposure to the sun. Or at least we used to. As the next photo shows the bracken has taken over while we’ve been gone.

Elsewhere, the weeds have taken over our two small flower beds, the only way into the decking area by the pond is to fight your way through the vines and the pond itself was perhaps the saddest thing of all as it was completely covered in a thick, solid blanket of weed. I can’t imagine all those newts and frogs that we so enjoyed watching as we sat there with a cup of tea or a glass of wine in the evening could live in such an environment, but we shall clear it and see if any of them are still there.

This used to be a flower border, now mostly weeds.
This was the entrance to the decking area.
The pond. Such a shame.

And now on to the vegetables. We never intended to plant vegetables here as we knew that our nomadic lifestyle meant that we would not be here to look after them or harvest them. However, as the lockdown earlier in the year went on for so much longer than we expected we did grow seeds and prepared new vegetable beds. It gave us pleasure and a sense of purpose in difficult times and we were realistic in the knowledge that if we did get back to Olivia Rose this year they would probably all die.

We grew the following from seed and planted them all out before we left – melons, strawberries, courgettes, cucumbers, squash, leeks, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes and potatoes. The potatoes were up and ready for harvesting just as we left in late June so we took a load with us and told our neighbours to help themselves to the rest. We came back to find a few tomatoes had survived, but everything else was lost, withered and dried up to the point where you would never have guessed what they were. It was what we expected, but it was still a shame.

Nature might take away but she also gives and so we were delighted to find that one of our unidentified fruit trees was a peach tree and is now fruiting. It’s not a huge crop but they are delicious.

Small, juicy and with a very furry skin.

Le Shack itself is still intact, although taken over by spiders, as is the composting loo, and a very enthusiastic creeper had reclaimed the interior of the shed. Time to get the shears out. It all felt rather overwhelming on that first afternoon but after a couple of days of cleaning, weeding and cutting back it felt like a home again.

At first there was no sign of the cats and I missed them. Our neighbours down at the organic vegetable farm were feeding them while we were gone so it would not have been to surprising for them to have moved down there. Then Spot turned up one morning, gave me one of those ‘Don’t think you can disappear for months on end and expect me to still be here when you come back’  looks and disappeared again. The next evening she was back with Blackie in tow and now they are here most of the time, purring happily and trying to drink my tea, or eat my lunch if I don’t keep eyes on it at all times. It seems we have been forgiven and I am very happy that they are here. A home with no animals at all doesn’t feel right.

Where’s my dinner?

The weather has turned hot again, around the low thirties, so we do our gardening in the morning and then are forced to do not very much, which is always frustrating. We won’t be here for long as a trip back to the UK is in the process of being planned, along with researching which type of Covid test needs to be done in which country and when – the joys of our new world. And we may try to fit in another short camping trip before we go.

So that is it from me this week. Hope all is well with you all and see you next week – from wherever we might be!

MJ

11 thoughts on “Back to Le Shack and a sense of déjà-vu

  1. Well done with ‘The Big Sort Out’, and indeed with the great display of enthusiasm. We all are getting very excited about seeing you in the UK after so long!

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  2. Wilderness came to mind! You have done a wonderful job of it though, and it is always daunting to see how quick the grass and weeds can grow!! But it won’t be too long before you don’t have to worry about it though.So pleased to see your cats are back with you though. They do give great comfort, but not sure what they will think of you disappearing again so soon….. As soon as we looked at your blog and saw that beautiful sky we both said the same thing, “what a stunning sky”. Our bet wishes to you both.

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  3. I can imagine it must have been a bit daunting to arrive back to all that. If it’s any consolation, this year has been exceptional in terms of summer rainfall and weather generally. We are here all the time, and yet keeping the weeds down and the grass cut has been a major logistical exercise. All credit to you for the work you’ve done so far to bring it back. I hope the pond life returns.

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