Cherry on the cake!

Sat 9th June 2018

I’m aware that in blogs we send here from our French house the subject of mowing grass is a regular feature, any property owner here with land soon finds out that from March to August everything grows like crazy. We cut the grass and prune trees and bushes and when we return 8 weeks later you can’t tell we had ever done anything. Trying to keep the mowing equipment working is for me a permanent trial, as mentioned before the tractor was loathe to start, eventually I had to give in and visit the local town and purchase a new battery, I’m now 102 euros poorer. It would have been cheaper to buy in the UK but the grass wouldn’t have been cut.

One positive of the mowing is the wildlife, I’ve seen at least 5 species of butterfly, numerous different beetles scurrying away in the grass, crickets and grasshoppers making their escape and at one point today two black kites were circling above me, a sign perhaps that no chemicals have been used on the land for over 25 years.

Over the past 24 hours we have also watched the deer, a hare and hoopoes feeding in the field.

Today when I was mowing a neighbour came to the fence to chat, he suggested that I should do as he does and have goats and donkeys to keep the grass down as he said ” you can sit back and enjoy your wine while they do the work.”

Enjoying wine of course is an easy thing to do here, I’ve been buying from the same local co-operative for at least 25 years, originally they had 4 outlets, sadly one has closed and the third opens on only a few days a week, a sign of the times I’m afraid. We travel to one of their outlets between Ste Foy and Bergerac, buying wine for here and always taking enough back with us to last whilst we are in the UK. As we are such good customers we get a loyalty bonus and every so often are entitled to 6 bottles of wine. Michelle has the choice of these as her taste is for a medium sweet wine whereas I prefer a red, I buy in 5 litre boxes at 12 euros a box.

Our fruit trees are currently laden with fruit and hopefully when we return in 7 weeks time we will have a good harvest.

Why the cherry on the cake? Well about 20 years ago I planted a cherry tree and even though we’ve been told by neighbours how it is laden each year this is the first time we have been here and seen it for ourselves, this afternoon we picked just from the lower branches 3 kilos of cherries which are now bubbling away on the stove being turned into jam.

So although the upkeep of the land can be a pain, there is always the cherry on the cake to look forward to.

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