A weekend of merde here at PumpjackPiddlewick

The weekend brought the sounds of playing children, sawing, lawn mowing, and ‘merde’. And I for one couldn’t stop laughing at the sounds of spring.

It was a gorgeous sunny weekend. The sort that begs you to be outside. So I was. Pumpjack was even seen more than usual, leaving his writing cave to join me in the garden to see the latest venture, talk with our neighbour over the stone wall and of course walk Chewie.

And all our neighbours seemed to be out as well. With low walls, and hedges, it is easy to see across and give a wave. A jaunty ‘Bonjour. Ca va?’ ‘Ca va, et vous?’ ‘Ca va.’ was called for each time a new face was seen. (Hello, doing okay? Okay and you? Okay. – note, not a literal translation.)

Time was spent in our garden divided between digging and reading. Digging is hard work, and the sun was shining. There were needs for rest, fairly often. And that need had nothing to do, honestly, with a good book on the go. Or the pleasantness of sitting in the duck enclosure with a chirruping, happy Beepbeep.

A happy Beepbeep is easy to achieve when digging has been involved. As digging of course means worms. And worms mean a full little belly for the Beeps. For such a little thing, that girl can eat!

The other ducks generally stop when full (though will never turn down an offered wriggler). When replete, they simply wander off to lazily forage. Possibly have a snooze in the warmth of the sun. Beepbeeps on the other hand will be right there with me, through thick and thin, underfoot and nearly under spade, in hope that there is one little wafer more. Honestly, I don’t know where she puts it. She is one of those French women that never get fat ducks.

Our Hugelkultur raised bed now has its topping of mulch and soil. It is patiently sunning itself, settling, and awaiting the planting of potatoes this week. Almost all of the veg patch paths have been cleared of weeds, ready for their bedding of broken tiles. And, the soiled (read merde) hay from the duck’s bedroom has been hauled out and placed around the raspberry canes. Which by the way, were pruned correctly this year and are looking beautifully fresh and healthy. Finely.

But as usual, I digress. I was talking ‘merde’. Well, maybe more ‘of merde’. Or both.

Merde, if you have never read/heard it before is, literally and figuratively, how you say ‘shit’ in French. It is an exclamation, like in English, when something goes wrong. It is also what soils the hay in our stable, what is deposited in our duck baths, and is in both cases used to fertilise our garden.

There may be some debate, at least in my head, of which is better duck or chicken merde? Currently, I have no idea. Both are good for the garden though. And as I hope to add chickens this spring/summer to our flock, we may get the chance to determine for ourselves.

Speaking of chickens, and what prompted me to write this post, our neighbour on one side has been building a chicken house this weekend. Lots of sawing and hammering going on at the bottom of his garden.

I have enjoyed sitting, reading, listening to the sounds of his progress. And laughing out loud at various timed explanations of ‘merde!’ (Plus a few other less congenial expletives I won’t note here, but let us say the more vulgar side of my vocabulary has certainly grown this weekend.)

And interspersed amongst the small construction sounds on one side has been another neighbour mowing her garden on the other. As with springs onset, there comes that first day of mowing the grass. And I suspect her grass may have been left a bit long, in time and length. Her mower is struggling with its progress. There have been a few sputtering stops, and one good grinding break down. And a ‘merde!’ of course. Honestly, I was trying not to laugh again, at least not too loud, at the sounds of spring.



  1. My new favorite word is Merde!!!! hugs and thanks Sarah

    1. And here I am teaching you ‘bad’ words. Though it’s not really a bad word here, more an exclamation 🙂 It’s a good one to know as you can use it when you need to be angry or upset about something, but most people around you won’t know what it means.

      Keep well, and lovely to hear your family are being protective of you. It’s a good thing, and I for one am taking note of the good things in my life. Even more so now.

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