The rebuilt oven building, with the remains of a fig and a lilac still there.
Recently we visited Dennis and Angela to discover that they had been rebuilding their bread oven. They live in a fermette with an interesting collection of outbuildings around a courtyard very close to the river Creuse (the buildings closest to the river flooded in June). Projecting from the back of one of the store rooms is an old bread oven. Unfortunately it has been invaded by a fig and a lilac, which have caused the building to fall down.
Dennis has spent the summer digging out fig roots and rebuilding the oven building. The roots go down for metres and unfortunately (for Dennis, not the fig...) the oven is next door to a spring, so the fig has thrived and is proving extremely difficult to kill. Its roots have spread so they can suck up endless quantities of water from the spring, plus the fig is periodically watered when the farmer next door irrigates his crop. I reckon Dennis has another couple of summer's work on his hands before the fig will give up the ghost.
On the back wall of the main barn, facing east, is a large vine with delicious white table grapes (probably Chasselas).
Also benefitting from the well drained sandy river loam and the farmer's irrigation on this side of the courtyard are a large grapevine and some very healthy looking zucchinis.
This summer the farmer has grown maize, and as is traditional for this area he has trimmed it off at a height of about 2 metres. I assume this is to lessen transpiration causing the plants to lose water, to prevent the crop from being so high it obscures the header driver's view at harvest and in this case, to allow the irrigation sprinklers to poke out above and water everything evenly. The farmer has a licence to extract water from the river I think.
The maize crop beyond the boundary, with irrigation sprinklers.