Put to work in the Jura

Today we return to Georgie’s farm in the Jura to help her with her winter preparations.

But first our farewells to Rick and Liz over breakfast.  We have inspired them to come & visit us in Arabba. They were so keen they booked their flights before finishing their morning coffee.  Their flights are with EasyJet from Geneva to Venice for 6 – 10 February.   We can’t believe it.  The total cost of a return airfare for both of them is €77….yes that’s not a typo!    The bill from our road trip with all the road tolls, tunnel fees and fuel will end up about €350!   You can see why people choose to fly in  Europe!

We also did a quick visit to Sue & Gavin’s chalet, which they have now finished renovating since our last visit in 2012.   They have a small chalet perched on the hillside above the ski resort of Les Carroz with a breathtaking view of the mountains.  S&G currently manage about 43 chalets & apartments during the winter season.  It sees them working likenavvy’s for 4 months over the winter and then enjoying 8 months off which they spend travelling through Europe and returning to their hometown in Wales.   Not a bad life as they say, although it wouldn’t do for Graeme and I….there’s no time for skiing!!

Arriving back at Cret La Chat in the Jura by noon, Georgie had prepared a hearty farm soup with crusty bread before setting us to work.   There’s a lot to do to prepare for the winter.  All the leaves around the farmhouse have to be raked up, trees pruned, farming equipment stored and the snow-blower attached to the tractor.   Looking at the size of the leaf-raking task I was a little daunted!   The farmhouse is set on about 4 acres and the yard is dotted with huge deciduous trees.   I thought our head-torches would come in handy as surely we’d be working well into the night to remove all the fallen leaves.   But no!  Sabine & Georgie are serious “equipment freaks” and they know how to use and maintain their gear.  Here’s some photos of their incredible collection.  Boys who maybe reading this blog should look away now for fear of developing serious gear envy.

So it was predictable that Georgie handed me a massive backpack mounted leaf-blower.  I mean this thing looked like a military flame thrower.   And when I opened the throttle it nearly blew me backwards.   My dear father-in-law, Graeme Snr recently had us smuggle a battery operated leaf blower into NZ during one of our recent trans-Tasman trips.   I’m not sure how Dad’s blower is working out for him, but Georgie’s weapon would blow any leaves at their house in Stone St all the way to the lakefront!

So my job was to blow all the leaves into piles for Graeme and Georgie to pick up with the tractor and bucket.   Georgie explained that having 3 people made the job super quick. Graeme drove the tractor and Georgie swept the piles into the bucket.   She also hooked up all the equipment that needed to be moved.   Graeme was super impressed with their little tractor.  It is designed for vineyard work and stability on steep hillsides. But the most amazing feature is that the whole drive set up can be reversed so that you can attach tippers, diggers and their huge snow-blower to the front of the tractor and have the weight balanced by the engine at the back.   For those who are into tractors….[not mentioning names…Meg, Bruce, Sam & Lisa….] – here’s the video clip go to 3:42 to see the reverse drive demonstration.

Needless to say with such heavy duty equipment in play, we had finished the whole yard by 4pm.  Georgie fed us another delicious dinner and an early night in preparation for the 5am start for the drive back to Arabba tomorrw.   It was so great to see Georgie again and we said our “à bientôt’s” as hopefully Sabine & Georgie will also be able to visit with us in Arabba.

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