Friday, February 9, 2018

January brings....

'January brings the sow
Makes our feet and fingers glow'

A new look for the blog for the new year. The good, the bad and the ugly  well nearly, the good, the bad and a postcript

The good

The garden
No snow for us but rain, rain, rain -  the rain that hadn't come in November fell at last. Though gardeners on my Facebook gardening group bemoaned the wet conditions I was glad to see the lakes around filling up at last. With raised bed gardening the soil drains well and so whenever a sunny day popped up I was able to get out there and work on preparing the potager for the growing season. Feeling the sun on my back really felt good and working in the garden always works its magic.

Frost finally breaking the manure down nicely

Autumn sown broad beans and garlic

A few winter veg left but all other beds prepared for the new season and we have started redoing the paths.

We brought in the year with our French friends. Their friendship over last sixteen years has been so special and a big part of our integration into this community. Always happy to help whenever they can - this month's project the clearing of the last pile of wood from around the property. All cut and neatly stacked thanks to Jean Pierre and his giant tractor operated log splitter.  We also had a lovely gift from our friend, the village Maire, Michel. During the renovation works his team took away scrap metal from the site and sold it for us. By mistake, they took an old hand plough we wanted to keep and ever since he has kept his eye out for a replacement. The plough finally found, he dropped it off and yesterday his men called on the way home from sandblasting on a site to sandblast the plough all ready for a coat of anti-rust paint. Friends - always a good thing.
The group of 10
Looking ahead
Even on the odd sunny days, outdoor activities are limited so time for organising and planning. Felt very noble after having spent an afternoon sorting out files and tidying the office kept company by the French crime series Spiral. Seeds ordered for next season and garden projects planned. The best job of all was planning our holidays. May on the Kent coast with all our children, a long weekend finally visiting Puy de Fou with a group from the village and checking our itinerary for a trip to Thailand in early December. Lots to look forward to.

The Bad

Kevin has really missed January as he has had an awful virus, spending many days in bed and the rest of the time doing very little. The only advice from the doctor was to be a patient patient - which he found very hard. He even had to eat meals cooked by me!

The rain came into the good things category but what has been worrying about the weather is that it has been too warm. My neighbour showed me peach trees already coming into bloom which is much too early. This early blossom can be caught by late frosts. The constant rain also made walking in the orchards more like skating! Just about got around with Schula and Sam running free. When our friend's dog Ellie came for a week and had to be on the lead and she strained to get to the others I was slip sliding away and only just managed to stay upright.

Suffice it to say I am more and more disillusioned and disheartened by the inept and dishonest way this is being (mis)managed.

My orchids are in flower! I finally overcame my reluctance to get my new gardening gloves dirty, one of my Christmas presents, and I made good use of the ear warming headband too on these cold early morning dog walks. Goodbye January - you've been a wet one!

A bientôt

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