Wind and Rain

Sandwiched in between the April days of wind and rain, were beautiful days of sun and bright blue skies. We grabbed those precious moments to hitch Vanille to the caleche and wander the nearby trails.

The first of May saw Mark setting up the scaffolding and starting work. Gods willing, we will finish Tòti this summer and take a trip in the autumn. The dream!

Photos by Mark Balogh unless otherwise noted

I began the decoration on the front wall and seats. Choosing a color and design was difficult and I`m not sure I like what I`ve done. I`m hoping that once the sunflower gussets are in place, the shutters on the side windows are painted the same red as the door and the design under the side of the roof is lime green and gold to match the design around the door, it will all make sense. Tòti is quite a complex canvas! We are lucky to be able to work under a roof for the months of May and June. The West System epoxy has arrived. Mark has assembled the scaffolding and started sanding the roof in preparation for the fiberglass cover and paint. We are waiting for our friend Joel to install the side windows and shutters that he has finished. I will have plenty of painting to do. We are praying for warm, sunny weather.














I’m reading a wonderful book that you might enjoy if you have a horse:

HORSE SPEAK: An equine-human translation guide: Conversations with horses in their language, written by Sharon Wilsie and Gretchen Vogel

I have a loving and respectful relationship with Vanille, but this book is full of important information. I am reading and rereading it slowly, and trying the exercises a little each day. It is easy to understand and the photos add even more information. I highly recommend it!

I have had a few fantastic afternoon trips with Jean François, Mark, and of course, Vanille power. The luxuriant green of our world, sprinkled with many brightly colored wildflowers is heavenly. It’s as if Mother Nature has thrown confetti from the skies to celebrate the spring. Our pace is turtle pace which is calming. When we are clopping along, life outside our small bubble seems to disappear. We wanted to know how Vanille would react if another horse joined us, so our neighbor came along on her lovely endurance horse. Vanille was not at all bothered, she perked up her ears even more than normal but that was all. It was a good test. Each time we go out there is another new encounter. Sometimes there are enormous double trailer logging trucks, groups of silent cyclists or motorcyclists revving their motors and doing wheelies, a couple of very quiet people who just appear out of the forest, chainsaws, etc. For Vanille these are all things to become acquainted with and calm about. She’s becoming quite experienced.

We had the blacksmith’s visit last week. He put Duplo composite shoes on Vanille’s front feet. Her back hooves are very solid and she is fine without shoes on those feet. However she is still sensitive in front. The boots we bought last year have proven to be a bit awkward and they take time to attach so we have decided to use the Duplo again since our trips are becoming longer and longer. We are traveling in the caleche for the moment while Tòti is having her roof finished.

You can see from this photo that it was raining and Vanille was wet. We tried putting her in a stall for a couple of hours before the blacksmith arrived to dry her, but she hated it, really hated it. I won`t try that again.

photo by Nancy Norton

Oops, caught hugging Vanille. Yes, I do hug my horse. I breathe deep, feel her soft strength and relax

and so does she.

I’m always happy to receive comments or information. My email address is:



About Suzanne

American living in France. Artist and lover of nature, gardening, all living beings. Married to the love of my life, mother of two wonderful daughters and grandmother.
This entry was posted in Art, attelage, barefoot draft horse, Community, Comtois horse, Gypsy wagon/Roulotte construction technique, Horse drawn vehicles, Lifestyle, Roulotte, Small living spaces, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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