Uncle Fañch and Aunt Ashley

The last few weeks have flown by in a flurry of hammers on nails, kindergarten lesson plans, baby coos and little calf moos. So here is an update on everything that has been going on at and around Fern Island Farm.

On September 25th Julien and I left the market a little earlier than usual so that he could go with Camille to the hospital. By dawn the next morning Mathilde had arrived and Fern Island Farm’s population grew by one. Making her debut one month early, the tiniest new Guillou just couldn’t wait any longer to grace us with her beautiful blue eyes and tiny grasping fingers. First time grandparents Annie and Jean-Yves are completely smitten while Uncle Fañch can’t help but smile in awe every time he sees his little niece. Mathilde has already been out in her all-terrain stroller for several walks at the farm and loves bathtime above all else.

The other big project at the farm is still the séchoir, the immense building at the entry of Fern Island where the hay will be dried and stored. Last month Fañch found out there is a deadline for receiving funding for which he has to have the majority of the building completed for instead of being able to take his time on it this winter. The last couple weeks have been long ones for him as he hammers away to build the final walls and pours concrete to fill the gaps between cinder blocks. Hindering his progress even more is the all-expense-paid trip to Ireland he currently finishing up (poor him). Several months ago he had been asked by another Breton musician to accompany him to perform at this festival. Fañch gets home tomorrow and I know he is anxious to finish up on the building.

Calving seasons is just about finished with only a couple more cows remaining who have yet to welcome their wobbling offspring into the world. I think this is one of the best seasons at the farm. One of my favorite things to do is walk into the pen with the calves and wait patiently while they build up the courage to come lick my hand or rub their head against my boot. I tried to upload a couple of pictures of them but it’s not working for some reason. I will try again soon!

Unfortunately I haven’t been spending quite as much time as usual at the farm because I took a post teaching English in an elementary school in Quimper. Every week I go visit the kindergarten class, the 2nd grade class, and the 3rd grade class to work on forming and advancing their English skills. It has certainly been a crash course in classroom management (read: what to do when a student crawls under a desk and won’t come out or when your 3rd graders call you out for saying a bad word in French when you didn’t even know it was a bad word). So far I have enjoyed my twice weekly lessons with the students despite a few minor discipline hiccups. They are very excited about learning English so I am looking forward to seeing how I can help them progress from now until the end of June.

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