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Our New Housesit in the French Countryside

Submitted by Bethany on Wed, 03/06/2019 - 10:00

Our new housesit is quite a bit different than all of our previous ones because it is in the country, like, straight up rural. The nearest "town" is about a mile away from our house, where the only amenities are a church and a single cafe. We travel without a car (for obvious reasons) so normally we wouldn't apply for or accept a housesit that isn't within walking distance of a grocery store. However, this one comes with the use of Bob's car so we are all set for life in the country! 

You know, except for the part where his car broke down the day before we arrived and has been in the shop ever since... While Bob was here some friends of his drove us home from the airport and to lunch one day, and today one of those friends will be taking us to pick up the car. But since Saturday night we've been living that rural life! Which I must say, is beautiful. This was the view out the bathroom window around 5:30 this morning. It was so gorgeous I noticed it even in my half-awake state and had to snap this picture. 

On the property that Bob owns there are several different buildings, all in various states of repair. Some are in great condition because he has put a lot of time and money into them so far, and some are still waiting for work to be done. The main house is great - there is a kitchen, a fairly large living/dining area, and a half bath on the main floor. On the second floor are three bedrooms and two more bathrooms. Each of the bedrooms has a small sink in them - Bob thinks the previous owner was planning to do a bed and breakfast at some point. There is also a deck on the main house and I can't wait till the weather is nice enough to sit out there and drink some wine in the evenings. 

Something that is definitely new to us about this house is that it is heated by a central wood-burning fireplace! That means if we are cold we can't just turn up the thermostat we have to bring wood in, set up a fire, keep it going, etc. On the one hand, this makes the living room extra cozy and sweet. I love nothing more than sitting by a roaring fire with a good book, and I plan to do so often. 

On the other hand, this means it takes a lot of work to keep the house warm! Joel is planning on lots of blankets/layers and YouTube workout videos to keep us warm. I'll be advocating for fires. When Bob was still here on Monday he went out in a downpour of rain to get more firewood to keep us warm! He is really a tough, hard-working man and we've enjoyed getting to know him so far in our time here.

One of the outbuildings on the property is this big old barn, which is filled with antiques. Bob used to be an antique dealer and though he is mostly retired now he still has a lot of pieces stored around here. On the far right of this building, you can see where all the wood is stored for the fireplace. He gets it delivered a cord at a time by a local farmer, in exchange Bob letting the farmer use some of his lands to feed the farmer's cattle. 

Behind the building you see here are two more cottage like buildings (you can see the edge of one in the back). All three are filled with various items from stored antiques to ladders to two bikes that we plan to fix up and use to ride around the area. If that bed and breakfast idea had panned out these could have made super cute little tiny houses for people to rent! Bob hasn't really done anything to fix up any of these buildings. Also, although you can see the clothesline strung out here, he does have a tumble dryer, score!

However, this next building on the property Bob has done a lot with, and he affectionately calls it the "troll house" (I'll show you why in a minute.) While it dates back to only the mid-1800s it was built with a medieval architectural style. He spent two years renovating it with a friend and now refers to the upstairs as his man cave - there is a movie room complete with vintage theater seats from the 1940s! The space hasn't been used since last summer (it doesn't have heat) so it needs a good cleaning which we are more than happy to do. Once we get it all fixed up I will write a huge "before and after" style post about it - Bob sent me some pictures of what it looked like when he first bought the place! 

Ok, here is why he calls it the troll house. He bought this statue at an auction and now it perches on the walls surrounding the courtyard, keeping a close eye on any visitors. 

Our main reason for being here is to take care of Bob's four cats. He never intended to adopt cats, but he says they "mugged" him about four years ago and made him fall in love. They are indoor/outdoor cats and there is a cat door so they come and go as they please. They are very wary of strangers so only two of them have warmed up to us so far. Once they start cuddling and snuggling I'll hopefully get some pictures of them to share! For now, we are happy to share space with them and care for them - making sure they have food and water is certainly a lot easier than all the responsibilities at our last sit

I am so excited to spend the next two months here for several reasons. A. It's France, duh! B. This rural life will be great for some side writing projects I have going on - my friend Sarah said it looked like an amazing writing retreat and I plan to treat it as such. C. For the first time a host has given us permission to really personalize the space - even reorganize things if we wish - so I finally get to put my stamp on a place and really make it feel like home for a while! 

So what do you think? Would you want to live here for two months? Or would the isolation drive you crazy? Do you have any more questions or want me to go in more detail about any of the property? Ask away! 

XOXO, Bethany 

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