I seem to have lost the ability for coherent thought. So here are a few photos with captions.
The equinox has come and gone, hardly a surprise but it signifies the end of the season for France. Soon the hunters will be out in force, the mushroom gatherers are already an army, the deer are in rut and I need to light a fire every day. The swallows slipped away in the last couple of days and I hardly noticed tied up in the twisted convolutions of my own brain.
The melon is harvested and will be consumed for breakfast tomorrow when the master of the house arrives. It smells delightful and I wish there were more of them.
The viciously spiky Morelle de Balbis or Solanum sisymbriifolium which is almost impossible to pick fruit from has revealed a useful trait. When the fruit is fully ripe and the horribly prickly husk has retracted then the berries fall to the ground. Put a clean piece of plastic or, in my case, corrugated iron beneath the plant for easy retrieval and vila-vila is your salad.
The cats, well, one of them brought in this poor squirrel. I'm not sure how they caught it or killed it, it was unmarked and apparently without any illness. A great mystery and a worse pity.
The pumpkins were harvested and are now curing in a quiet back bedroom. A few Sweet Dumplings and Muscade if it matures in time to come.
And there are still butterflies, I saw five Peacock, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Copper on the sedums today, with several varieties of Whites about the place. There's still hope.
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
I have the stinking headache but each time I step outside to see if the blustery sunshine will help clear my head it becomes galeforce torrential rain and I'm forced to retreat back inside quickly. But there's nothing much else I can do either, a friend suggested eating a chunk of root ginger would cure it. I agreed to try it but actually faced with the prospect I can see chunks of a different sort in my future so I'm giving that a miss for now. What better time then than now to sit down in front of a flickering screen and catch up with the blogs?
And talking of the weather we had some massive storms one of which took the electricity away for more than 12 hours. Not so great for the slightly unwilling hermit, being without internet was really quite a challenge.
Autumnal weather does bring some foraging opportunities though. Hedgehog mushrooms are one of the sorts I'm generally comfortable to eat and although there have been few of my other favourites, the chanterelles, there have been a couple of good sized puff balls.
There's still a bit of pretty wildlife about. There were loads of peacock butterflies around in the sunnier climate of yesterday as well as small torties, commas and whites. I'm fairly certain there were other sorts too but the combination of headache and poor eyesight made it impossible to identify them on the wing.
The deer are in rut again. Noisy for most of the night but rather splendid to view from a distance.
The garden? Yes, it's still there, thank you for asking but I think it will have to wait until another day.
Thursday, 3 September 2015
Some wonderful August weather went out with a bang and a splash of thunder and some really heavy rain. The weather is slowly picking up again but I think the high temperatures are now a thing of the past, it's cool, showery, no longer summer.
The rain has prompted a small flush of fungi. A few chanterelles, some parasols and one cricket ball sized 'Giant' puffball have been found along with some hedgehog fungus at a reliable spot known only to us. I found a few past it ceps today as well but I'd rather have had more chanterelles.
The flower garden is looking autumnal too, the only sunflower finally breaking its bud and showing a small sunny face for the bumble bees.
I've mistimed my harvest of peas and beans for drying, they weren't quite ready before the rains came but now they've been beaten to the ground and soaked they are beginning to rot before they can be dried. I still hope to have a reasonable harvest of Carlins and Irish Preans, not as many Starley Red beans as I'd hoped and enough seed to save from the other beans being grown out. Will there be any interest in seed swapping this year I wonder.
The tomatillos have produced an abundant crop. I'd like to leave them a little longer to fill out and ripen more fully but it's a pleasing harvest to come.
I've been spending a bit of time as a volunteer administrator for the Guild of Oca Breeders, looking after their social media feeds on twitter and facebook. Media feeds thrive on followers so if you'd like to help us please come along and join in on one or both places. Hope to see you there.