Phew – It’s hot!

| 19th July 2022
Phew it’s hot, but you won’t catch me complaining…
We’ve just come back from a fabulous holiday in France to discover that the figs are ripe and fit to burst, the bees are busy scooting around for the final forage of the season and our sweetcorn plants are reaching for the sky.

But before we tell you about our time in France, check out our latest film below showing how we make ice lollies to keep our chickens cool in the heat…

We have just had a wonderful time staying at Les Hirondelles, near Cognac in south west France, we’d been plotting this holiday for a couple of years as we’d previously met Karen and Paul on a different holiday and had been following them on Instagram ever since. The two gites, along with Karen and Paul’s home, have been created from restored smallholding buildings and still have original features that point to the self sufficient history of the properties. Be that the fastenings on the internal walls of the stables, the traditional pigeonry or the shelves that would have kept rabbit enclosures, it doesn’t take much to imagine how previous owners produced their own food. Karen is keeping many aspects of this alive in her beautifully kept potager, a French kitchen garden. Check out this melon that I spotted!


Whilst the gites were well equipped, lovingly cared for and most importantly cool, the swimming pool was a favourite spot for me. I spent many hours reading in the shade and finished my final 15km of my virtual Channel Swim for Diabetes UK interspersed with a spot of sunbathing.

However, what makes Les Hirondelles truly unique are the beautiful gardens that have been curated throughout the outside space. These have been created as a lush and fragrant welcome for people and pollinators alike, it’s like a living art installation.

Bees, both solitary and honeybees, butterflies, moths and many other insects are feasting on the nectar rich plants that are thriving from every corner, local swallows that the gites are named after, swoop above dipping down only for a quick sip of water from the pool, whilst doves and their young nest under the eaves of an open barn.

If you are looking for a peaceful retreat for your next holiday, check out Les Hirondelles and tell them that I sent you!

As the sun continues to shine, we’ve got some lovely courses lined up, including Full Day Bee Keeping and A Day at Hen Corner. Join us as we make the most of wonderful seasonal produce with Making Scones and Jam and Introduction to Pickles and Preserves.

If you have little ones with you over the holidays, do check out our range of Family Courses.

Looking forward, we start a new series of Online Bread Classes in September and our business start up Become A Bread Angel – Start Your Own Micro Bakery

Adult events coming up:

Making Scones and Jam Thursday 4th August (last session of the year)

Full Day Bee Keeping Friday 5th August, Thursday 18th August (last sessions of the year)

A Day At Hen Corner Tuesday 23rd August (last session of the year)

Introduction to Pickles and Preserves Tuesday 30th August

Full Day Making Sourdough Tuesday 13th September

Family events (Summer Holidays):

Family Feathers & Fun Tuesday 26th July

Bees for Children Tuesday 2nd August, Wednesday 24th August

Other news:

  • After last month’s swarm collection and splitting a larger colony, we are now managing six colonies of bees, all making honey
  • Our figs are so plentiful, we’re eating them with yoghurt for breakfast and salad for supper
  • One of our boy chicks has started to practice his ‘cock a doodle doo’ – fortunately we’ve found loving homes for both him and his brother

Jobs for the week:

  • Pick more fig to make delicious Fig & Orange Jam 
  • Keep watering the melons
  • Practice putting up tents for our youth group camp…

Thanks for joining us on the journey, have a super summer!


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iamthesunking 19th July 2022 at 2:21 pm

I am stunned that the pesky squirrels didn’t steal the figs! What’s your secret?

Sara Ward 19th July 2022 at 2:54 pm

The secret is patience! It’s taken many years for the squirrels to realise that unripe figs a) don’t store when buried like nuts and b) taste horrible anyway.
They haven’t attempted to snatch the ripe figs – probably too swashy & sticky!


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