Frog Blog
France May 2009

- Paul


26 Oct. 2012 - Just wanted to added two important notes
1) There is an invitation from the community near the bottom of this page
2) The community's blog (active for many years) is:

16 June 2009 - Most blogs have the new entries on top of the old ones and that is how I originally set up this blog. But since this blog turned out to be a diary of my visit to France I decided to reorder things from top to bottom.

13 May 2009 - I arrived here at the Community of Courtiron Anabaptists (page down) on the 5th of May and the past eight days have been great. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be here. The spring conference (LIVING IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD) (page down) went very well. I'm staying in the hotel owned by the community. At this time the hotel is not open to the public but only used for community purposes.

The main community business is computer related and has ten employees (five employees are part of the community). I've worked a little the past couple of years on some computer software sold by the community business. Here is a picture of front of the main house and the attached business (4 km from the hotel).

A nice company "perk" is that each employee has their own (advertising) car.

The first couple of days I worked in the garden along with two other fellows.

My first job was to remove the weeds from the lettuce (which I'm enjoying at many meals).

There has been a bit of rain so the gardening has slowed down so my new job is going hunting with Olly. We've now made three trips to his favorite spot which is a couple of miles away.

My bike is now the Frogmobile.The net is homemade from a potato sack.

Olly and David and I also took Olly's hunting cat and we went looking for pheasant. I have seen a lot of those around.

We also went to the nearby lake where Olly likes to pull up the tires at the dock and look inside for fish.

Before the conference I helped a couple (from Church Communities in England) move the donkeys to another pasture so the old pasture could be used for parking.

On Sunday morning a few of us went on an early morning safari to visit some of the water buffalo. Here is a bull being "petted" by a fellow from Holland who is a vet and a farmer.

And now for the photos where this blog got its name...

15 May 2009 - Those two frog pictures above are not just stock photos I found on the Internet. Olly carefully set up the frogs on a white windowsill and I quickly took the picture before they jumped!

Christine and David have caught the frog hunting fever from Olly. Today all three of them had a grand time. And they sure are taking me to some scenic frog hunting spots.

We also spent a little time at the nearby playground.

Here is a photo of the hotel and the front part where the community would like to open a bookstore and school in the future.

21 May 2009 - Christine and David and I walked around town last week while Sara and Olly visited the dentist. Sorry but there are no frogs in this water.

Today some folks from the community set up a booth at a large flea market. At my office I have 3D metal items on one wall and 3D wood items on another wall so I was pleased to buy a couple more items at the flea market to add to the collection.

There is a nice ping pong table in a garage at the main house but here at the hotel some of the fellows seem to get a little desperate.

One of the fellows is learning baking and cooking. It is hard to look at his textbooks while waiting for supper.

But we did enjoy eating one of his chocolate assignments!

Of course there are always different varieties of cheese at the table.

24 May 2009 - The community here has lots of opportunities for anyone interested in spending time sharing and working together here in France. You may contact the community via the Community of Courtiron Anabaptists (page down) web page for further information. I'll try to summarize some of the work opportunities here.

In the May 15 blog entry I mentioned the plans for a bookstore and school at the hotel and there are opportunities to help set those up. The community owns two large houses in Marcon which is the small town between the hotel and the main place. These houses have had a lot of major remodeling done but there remains work for those handy at painting or other such work.

There are fields and sheep a short distance from the main place. Here is the wonderful scenery at the sheep pen (some building repairs needed):

A short drive from the sheep is a vineyard which also has a few fruit trees (mowing needed):

The orchard has more than 40 mature fruit and nut trees and is also in need of some care:

The view from the orchard is also wonderful:

I know it isn't very scenic but I just had to include a photo of the potato patch where I've recently worked:

Here are links to two community blogs and web sites where you can view more photos:

Here are some links to area information in English:

28 May 2009 - I'm writing this while flying from Paris to Cincinnati where hopefully I'll make my short flight to Columbus. It was difficult to leave the community this morning (after a visit of more than three weeks) but I'm also looking forward to seeing friends and family in Ohio. Sara and Becky took me to the train station in Le Mans as Becky had a music lesson in Le Mans an hour after my train. The TGV train was very high speed except while going through Paris. At high speeds I could feel the change in air pressure in my ears when the train went through tunnels.

Last night Jonathan and Debbie treated me (along with two other fellows) to a picnic at the lake. It was a little cool and windy but we all enjoyed it anyway!

29 May 2009 - I really did "unwind" in France. This very short video has the proof: Unwinding

Here is a frame from the video:

I never saw ping-pong tables in a park before (would be difficult on windy days).

One afternoon three of the water buffalo got out and decided to spend the day exploring.

They had gone quite a ways from home for about six hours, but when it started to get dark they came running home. When they decided they had had enough they sure knew which direction was home and they knew that was where they wanted to spend the night!

Since this is the Frog Blog I'll leave it to you to figure out if this all applies to Aesop's Fable The Frog and the Ox (or maybe one by the French writer and poet Jean de la Fontaine).

Shortly after I arrived at the community I was offered the task of fixing the office door chime that used to sound whenever the door was opened. I spent hours trying to trace various wires around the attics and cellars of this huge three story house and office, so this task was a very interesting way to introduce myself to the grounds via a self-guided tour. Here is a picture taken just a few weeks ago from a balloon.

Here is the back of the main place.

And here are some pictures of the place a long time ago.

Here are photos of the two community houses in the nearby town:

And I just had to add one more photo of the community hotel where I stayed:

The climate and field crops are different than Ohio. The most common crop seems to be wheat and those fields have distinct tracks (see top of the balloon picture above) used for spraying. The next most common crop seemed to be canola. When I arrived it was in full bloom (yellow). They also grow a lot of the apples for Europe in this region and Microtec provides software for the apple producers. Unlike Ohio I saw a few lizards. Therefore it seems the summers are cooler but the winters warmer than Ohio and this is because the prevailing winds come from the west which is from the Atlantic ocean.

I praise God and am very thankful to have had the opportunity to spend three blessed weeks with the brothers and sisters at Bethany-Courtiron. I'll close with this invitation to you from Derrick:

We have jobs for teachers, plumbers, gardeners, electricians, vintners, waiters, cooks, librarians, masons, carpenters, and cabinet-makers. Whatever your skill, we can certainly use you here.

The Lord has given us the opportunity to acquire a large town house in our village, a smaller two-room home that needs renovation, and a nine-room country hotel just four kilometers away. We're located in central France -- a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world. We have room for families, single sisters, or single brothers.

We have :
-- a vineyard that provides us with wine in a good year and vinegar in a bad one.
-- an apple orchard that supplies all our needs for fruit, juice, cider, and apple sauce.
-- goats to give us milk and cheese,
-- chickens that supply us with eggs,
-- geese, rabbits, turkeys and other poultry provide us with meat,
-- sheep that give us lambs, fleece, and wool every year, as well as a bedside rug when their life is over,

And the sweetest of all are the bees, which put honey on our tables!

If you like wild fruit you can go pick walnuts or blackberries or chestnuts. If you prefer the domesticated variety we have a vegetable garden constantly in need of attention, compost that needs turning, beans that need weeding, crops to plant, crops to harvest, or fruit to process.

Without even looking for it, we have accidentally rediscovered Eden! God is good to the hard-working and the willing. Come and help us live in love,

Derrick (page down)

Some of my other web pages:
Christian community
Spreading God's Word at various universities
Behold The Lamb! (The Story of the Moravian Church of the 1700s)
Encouraging Bluegrass Gospel Jam Sessions
Business: TurboControl Systems


Paul Breneman
PO Box 399
Bellefontaine, OH 43311 USA