It's been dry for a couple of months now, with good soaking rain on too few days. Most days have worked up to being hot, even if they've started out cool. Rain keeps being forecast, but not much has fallen on Preuilly. We had 2 or 3 good days of rain in the third week of July, but since then nothing, except for 2 minutes of light rain on Saturday evening. Naturally, this fell just as we headed into the courtyard for apéro.
the mill in the middle of Preuilly.
The grapes are also doing well. We are told that the vine growing over the small shelter and into the Catalpa tree are exceptionally good red table grapes, and so far they have escaped any sort of mildew. We assume a combination of the hot weather and the fact they are out in the open is the reason for this.
Meanwhile, we water from our ever diminishing stream. A couple of weeks ago we met the man who has gardened in our potager for the last 20 years, and he says he has only seen it this bad once before.
Yesterday evening when we arrived to water our 'orchard neighbour' from the third garden was there. Her yellow plum was very ripe and she needed to get all the fruit collected or it would rot. She very kindly gave us about 4kg of plums, as none of ours are ripe yet. The yellow plums are quite an early variety, whereas ours – Sainte Catherine, Abricot Rouge and Canada – are all later varieties. We discussed the lack of water and how low the stream was. She told us that the people who live near the source of the stream have dammed it so as to have water for their garden. I suspected as much, as the drop in the level was so sudden, and didn't recover even when we had some good rain. Our neighbour has a water butt which used to collect the water from the roof of her toolshed / cabin in the orchard, but it is old and has many tiny holes now. She wants to install a new water tank, but has decided not too because of the risk it will be stolen if it looks too new. We want to put up a small shed and collect water too, so we will have to think very carefully about how to make these improvements secure.