Monday, 26 June 2017

Looking to the Far Horizon

Despite the fact that this sort of intensive monoculture is responsible for quite a few of our modern environmental woes, I do love the visual effect of a good crop of wheat. This one was taken between Richelieu and Chinon last year. Our region is the largest cereal producer in Western Europe, so you have our local farmers to thank for all that delicious French bread you've eaten while on holiday here. It's the flour from central France that makes all the difference. Flour from elsewhere just isn't the same. That's what terroir is all about. The question is, can we sustain it?

The harvest this year has started, with canola and barley being taken off apace. The wheat won't be far behind. It's a race to get it all in after this hot weather and before the rain and wind starts this week.

Here are two pictures taken on the weekend of this year's crops.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Aussie Canola

The 2017 Touraine canola harvest has just started, but this photo is of a field of recently harvested Australian Canola. Susan wote about the differences in harvesting techniques here a couple of years ago.

I dislike canola harvest season, because although it removes the smell of cabbage from the landscape, canola seed spilled on the road can be very dangerous. Run over the seeds and squeeze the oil, and you could find yourself upside down in a field.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

One Year On

It was twelve months ago that many in the UK voted to become a 19th Century backwater and leave the European Union. I won't tell you what Susan and I think about that - you'll have to guess.

To mark that event we are holding a picnic to celebrate what being a European is all about: inclusiveness, removing barriers, fairness and friendship. If you're in the area the picnic is in the picnic area at Chaumussay - not the one near the bridge, the one hidden the other side of the "main" road by the station. (Along the track on the left in this pic).

We had a picnic last month attended by about 20 people, but would love to see many more there this time. Bring your picnic, some seats (although there are picnic tables scattered across the area) and a plate of food to share, and join us. Language skills are not required, there will be conversations in both English and French (and probably quite a bit of Franglais from both sides of the language barrier).

After the picnic we will be "arting" -  at 2.30pm, we will be heading off to visit some local artists. If you have a classic car (or even just an older car) bring it, and we will travel in convoy. Susan and I will be in Claudette.

Friday, 23 June 2017

It's Too Hot To Write

It's been hot.

Proper canicule hot, with daily highs around 37C (99ishF) and lows about 20C (70ishF). That means the house has become thermically loaded and doesn't really cool down before the next onslaught of sunshine.

The other night we had the all the windows (and shutters) wide open to try attract the merest suggestion of a cool breeze and attracted a visitor. He(?) may only have been tiny, but the flapping of wings is actually quite intrusive.

Daubenton's Bat (I think).

We like bats. Their appetite for insects is how come we can leave the window open at night.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Opium Poppies

Poppies have been loving the hot dry weather we've been having lately. And it's not just the Field Poppies. I've seen lots of Opium Poppies in gardens this year. Here are some from Ferrière Larcon last week.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A little known view in Cheverny

Many people visit Cheverny for the chateau and see little of the village besides the main street when walking to and from the ticket counter. In most villages in France, one should always take a little walk off the beaten track if you have the time, because you never know what you will see.

For some reason, this really appeals - nothing extra special, but pretty and very typical of the area:

The blue sky and sunshine helps...