Sitting outside on a windy day, observing all nature’s beauty around me , I finally picked up writing to you all again. Hearing the sounds of the crows, tractors for the “vendange” (wine harvest of the grapes for the famous Blanquette) in the background, seeing a last courageous wasp, even a lone bumble bee flying about, my dogs sitting all around us and of course the beautiful passion flower, whilst we’re sitting under our pergola to be, I know it is time to let the muse in.
The first signs of spring have arrived, birds are singing, lizards are everywhere, and finally the sun has popped up, after days of pouring rain, announcing spring and a soon to be holiday filled, as usual, with loads of visitors. And there is me, puffing around, still under the influence of the flu I had earlier, carrying a basket of immense fatigue and a horrible cough. It’s as if all energy has been drawn out of my body and each one of my cells, is telling me off.
Not many plants bloom during frozen winters, but the mysterious, magical, mystique, evergreen mistletoe (from the Old English misteltãn), with its yellowish flowers (male and female flowers are found on different plants) and white, but poisonous berries, does. It reveals itself now epically, as the cold weather made the leaves drop from its deciduous, dormant host trees. (more…)
Still accompanying my husband during his emergency stay, in a clinic situated in the region of the Montagnes Noires, a place known for its Cathar history and for the Resistance activity here during the Second World War, and of course being November, poppies pop up in my mind.
Our surroundings are getting covered in golden rusts, explosions of autumnal glow. The autumn foliage of our potted acer trees on our terrace, are a constant reminder too, the time of “reaping” has arrived. Golden, crispy leaves, chilly days, the sun bursting through the mist… it is quite clear that gone are the long summer days, and coming are the dark nights of winter. Now is the seasonal signpost in Earth’s orbit around the sun, the Earth is bathed evenly in sunlight only twice a year, on the equinoxes. Ethnic people celebrate this golden season by eating moon cakes and gazing at the moon.
A weird, flying insect has taken up residence in a hole of our terrace stone wall. We’re always very alert, as we don’t want wasp nests, let alone “frolons”/hornets on our terrace (they’re massive, big wasps). We were wondering whether we had to fill up the hole and prevent the insect from coming back (which it did the whole time), till we had friends coming over who had more “nature” knowledge than us. “Don’t touch them, leave them, they are solitary bees!” was the answer we got. We said: “It looks nothing like a bee, more like a weirdo insect”!
This morning we wanted to start our day, as we always do, sitting at our vintage pub table, having our cup of coffee in the first morning glory. This time we had company: intelligent life at the table! I told you, wildlife here, seems to be coming closer to us than ever before, each day offers us a wonder.
In the early mornings letting our dogs out, we are always greeted by hundreds of different species of birds singing their hearts out. At night we have the nightingales’ concerts, blending in with hundreds of toads singing, announcing us tomorrow it might rain. This week we were in for a shock: a young nuthatch struck the kitchen window (a reminder for me to hang even more wind chimes, so the birds realize in time they can’t fly through that barrier!).
Yuccas were always my favourite indoor plants, long before they became the trendy plants they are now. It wasn’t until I arrived in the South of France that I saw them in nearly every garden. No wonder yuccas thrive here, they can be in full sun, but are also able to withstand temperatures as cold as -12 C (10F). You have no idea how useful for humans, this truly magical plant, also known as the Spineless Yucca, Spanish Dagger, Adam’s Needle, Spanish Bayonet and Soapweed or Xompeetro, Perkiiy, Te’ch’ik’u, or Palki in Maya dialects, can be.
For our low-cost, healthy diet, we enjoy an advantageous fun rewarding pastime: time spent outdoors. We get on top of garden freshness, crunchiness and flavour. In my household, we do a generous serve of fresh vegetables, our home-grown, delicious, nutritional vegetables, beat store-bought products every time!