Les poissons en France

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ain't no stoppin' us now

Sue needed 2 more pansies to finish planting up the pots on the top terrace and so we went to a garden centre yesterday ... foolish! ... except it was me this time.  Whilst in the garden centre I saw two Kaki trees.  I first knew the fruit as Sharon Fruit but they then seemed to become Persimmons.  Here in France they are called Kakis and they are delicious.  We buy them in Lidls and they have been 49 cents each for a couple of years but have now gone up to 59 cents!

Seeing the trees in the centre, I thought 'why don't we grow some?'  On our way home from Cahors we pass through a tiny village and we have noticed for a few years the crops of Kaki on at least 3 large trees.  So we know that they will grow here.

Once home we discussed the possibility of fitting a Kaki into the Grand Garden Design.  So, no sooner said than done.  We jumped in the car and went off to the garden centre where we bought the last trees and, lo and behold, a Kaki tree in better condition and cheaper!!!
The tree will be planted in a sheltered spot behind the Porcherie next to the Fig.
We are hoping for some exotic fruit salad next year!

We made a bit of a detour on the way home with the tree and investigated roads and views we haven't experienced before.  In the course of one of my 'projects' I have found some old photos of St Germain and also an app which allows me to 'merge' an old photo with a new one.  So this necessitated taking an up-to-date version.  This was duly done but we had also seen a view of the village and valley from the hills opposite us and we explored.
The views were lovely but also the tree colours were breathtaking.  There always seems to be one weekend when it is THE weekend of colour.  After this peak moment the leaves will tumble and the cold will turn them brown but this memory will help us through winter.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Brownie Points.

John has scored these in abundance in the last few days. He has finished reseeding the courtyard. As you know he initially applied rough compost from the recycling centre, then a layer of our ordinary compost (which we buy continually) followed by the carefully measured grass seed and then a top dressing of compost. This has all been done by hand with the utmost precision. Yes, his back is killing him. Furthermore he has been cementing the floor in bedroom 3 in the mornings whilst waiting for the courtyard to dry and yesterday I couldn't believe my eyes he was sieving the soil he dug out of the holes for the trees in the back field. What a good boy.
Meanwhile I think I qualify for some Brownie Points. In the last couple of days I have planted 200 tulip bulbs,250 narcissus bulbs, lifted and dried a lot of cannas (too many to count) planted a bed of pansies and started to lift the dahlias for storage. Well if you don't pat yourself on the back nobody else does!!Hopefully it will all be worth it in the spring.
ps    Fighting a losing battle!

Within an hour of rolling the compost on my grass seed, someone was digging it up!  We thought there may be problems with Cleo (our cat) using it as a toilet, but no, it was the squirrel who thought it looked good for hiding walnuts!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Filling in the Holes

Our trees for the back field were delivered yesterday and we decided that there was no rush to plant them. Priorities for me were lifting the dahlias and cannas and for John to continue the preparation for reseeding the courtyard. However rain stopped play, it was not forecast, we were more concerned about the minus one which is forecast for tomorrow morning. In true English fashion we had a cup of tea and reviewed the situation. The sky was very black and it was raining slightly but John decreed it was perfect tree planting weather!!

First move your tree, or should I say fit your truss. I couldn't help John at all as I could see the funny side of him disappearing behind the tree and then finding the hole in the middle of the field without falling down it. We had to cut the pot away as the tree was too heavy to deal with any other way. Four barrow loads of compost/soil/manure mixture later our little cedar of Lebanon (yes one of those enormous trees, but they do take 200 years to get that size) was planted.
We celebrated his arrival with a 2 euro bottle of bubbles - who needs an excuse.

When you all say why is he still working on that bedroom ... trees, lawns etc. is why.  John

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Bag Lady

Sue has been closely watching the weather forecast and morning frosts seem to be getting nearer.  So, even though flowers are still blooming, she has started lifting the geraniums to dry and store then as she did last year.
We had to go to buy more bags (and I'm hoping 100 will be enough.  We never do things by half!)

Sue's efforts have been rewarded as, this morning, we have our first frost.

Meanwhile, despite my efforts to now concentrate on working on the house, I have been preparing the courtyard lawns for reseeding.
Normally we have to go to the Recycling centre a number of times to fill plastic boxes with compost, but we have been lucky this time.  First of all we were at the decheterie when we met some English friends who brought home a trailer load for us, and then yesterday JJ helped me with his trailer and we went twice .  But still not enough!  We'll be there again tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Autumn Activity

All creatures here seem to be frantically busy preparing for winter. We have never seen the colony of bees in our wall so active and "our" red squirrel is a constant source of amusement as he rushes around collecting and storing walnuts. Unfortunately he is choosing to cache them in my flower pots as it is easier to dig than the dry earth. I won't find him so cute if he digs up the pansies when he is hungry in January!! The humans have been harvesting walnuts as well.
John has finished digging the holes in the back field and the trees are due to be delivered next week. I have had to modify my ideas as the trees I originally wanted are not available. It would seem that all trees here are grafted on to a long "trunk" so that they look like lollipops for a number of years  until they start to mature. I wanted the trees to look like 'proper' forest trees and grow like wild trees but the nurseryman told me that I had to accept that this is how trees are grown here.  So when in Rome/France.......

 The weather forecast is indicating that frosts are on the way (although it keeps changing its mind) so I am frantically lifting and moving plants before it arrives. However the garden is full of colour and it is hard to pull up plants that are still looking good.
Activity has even extended as far as bedroom three where John has started to fit the shower.

However we decided that we needed a break from all this work and took a day off yesterday. John has been keen to visit a sculpture park near Limoges for sometime so, as it was the perfect sunny autumn day for such a visit, we set off. We stopped for lunch en route and feared we would never actually get there as we were replete and felt like just going to sleep - must have been the food not the wine! However we pushed ourselves and the journey through miles of deciduous woods was a delight. When we reached our destination it was a cross between a Scottish loch and Rutland Water. 
We thoroughly enjoyed the walk but the sculpture park was very disappointing. As you know we like contemporary art but all the pieces were untitled and the "trail" had no signage.
 However the toadstools were fascinating.