Panier of Plenty

November 2013

Welcome to the visual diary for November….

Mas driveway, 10th November

Mas driveway, 10th November

Behind the mas, terrace wall

Behind the mas, terrace wall

The Marronier, Horse Chestnut tree

The Marronier, Horse Chestnut tree

From The Forest

Squirrels (black ones) are busy gathering chestnuts and
stockpiling for winter. There are signs of sanglier everywhere
and ‘la chasse’ season is in full swing, with extra days granted
to hunters and a new law that allows wild boar to be sold..

As high winds sweep up through the valley, leaves have been
whirling and many of the chestnut trees are now bare. The harvest
has ended and the road is once again quiet as autumn fever abates
– it has been too dry for mushrooms.

10th November, warm and calm

10th November, warm and calm

Porte, mas

Porte, mas

Saturday 16th November. Although it is still chilly, the wind
has calmed and a gentle, welcome rain is falling…

17th November. And then torrential rain, ceaselessly, for days…

Mina's scratching post

Mina’s scratching post

Walking to the bridge

Walking to the bridge

Checking the river level

Checking the river level

River under bridge

River under bridge

Hunting insects

Hunting insects

20th, after torrential rain

20th, after torrential rain

Entering the forest

Entering the forest

Forest path

Forest path

View from forest path

View from forest path

Autumn colour

Autumn colour

Foaming after rain

Foaming after rain

River reflection

River reflection

Visiting the barrage

Visiting the barrage

17th November, white foam

17th November, white foam

In The Garden

7th November, tomatoes, mesculun, basil

7th November, tomatoes, mesculun, basil

7th November harvest

7th November harvest

Panier, 10th November

Panier, 10th November

With unseasonaly hot weather, tomatoes have continued to ripen
and strawberries have appeared. The raspberries have also started
producing again and the salad patch is full of baby mesclun mix
leaves. The fennel is nearly ready and green beans dying off as
we harvest the last squash and silverbeet (blettes) takes off.

Days are spent clearing the beds, weeding and cutting, as well
as gathering seeds. The compost is filling with offcuts and
potting mix as we clear out the hothouse. The olives are almost
ready to pick as they turn black – we are unsure of the variety
(the tree was in the garden when we arrived) and have a different
method of conservation to try this year.

Under the pergola

Under the pergola

Happily settled

Happily settled

Mademoiselle Célestine joined in garden activities for a day
– part of an experiment to see if she would settle in her new
environment.

Last harvest of the season

Last harvest of the season

Exploring – Further Afield

Autumn 2013

1st November. Post: Toussaint

Château Azay-le-Rideau, Indre et Loire.

Magnificent trees

Magnificent trees

Château park

Château park

A shimmering world

A shimmering world

Moat view

Moat view

Royal salamander above fireplace

Royal salamander above fireplace

Games salon, warm and inviting

Games salon, warm and inviting

Walking in the woods, in the grounds of a private château near St Maure de Touraine, paths lead to étangs that are completely obscured by trees. A haven for birds and animals, they offer magical views as the mirror-calm waters reflect passing clouds… interupted only by fish jumping…

Étang

Étang

Hidden by woods

Hidden by woods

On The Menu

Apple tarts cooling

Apple tarts cooling

Tarts to freeze

More tarts to freeze

Pesto – the basil has grown so well this year there is an abundance
to use before the first frost. Slow-baked tomatoes, Provençal style
with olive oil and herbs. Apple tarts with blackberries and spiced
grape confiture. Raclette and tartiflette as the weather suddenly
cools and the icy fingers of the Tremontane grasp at the stones
of the bergerie.

Beetroot, walnut, chevre, rocket salad

Beetroot, walnut, chevre, rocket salad

Pâte de coings

Pâte de coings

Wild mushroom bouillon

Wild mushroom bouillon

Artisanal olive oil, Spain

Artisanal olive oil, Spain

At Home

The first snowfall of the season

The first snowfall of the season

Canigou has had his first sprinkling of powder as temperatures
plunge to 6 degrees overnight here and snow falls at higher
altitude in the Pyrénées (600 m). Sunsets have been dramatic
and the trees surrounding the mas flared in a blaze of autumnal
colour before they were stripped bare by winds.

9th November sunset

Spectacular skies

Sunset, 9th November

Sunset, 9th November

Panorama cloud

12th November. Post: All eyes to the sky

The garden around the bergerie is flourishing…

View opposite the bergerie entrance

View opposite the bergerie entrance

Roses still budding

Roses still budding

Amaryllis, Aphrodite

Amaryllis, Aphrodite

A second bloom

A second bloom

As the fire glows in the grate, we have now laid down carpets
on the terracotta tiles and pulled out jackets and jumpers in
readiness for winter – there is no gradual descent into cooler
days, it always surprises me how sudden the change can be…
one day 24 degrees as we enjoy breakfast and lunch on the
terrace, the next, out with a down hooded coat and gloves…

Nesting in a polarfleece

Nesting in a polarfleece

Stockpiling wood for winter

Stockpiling wood for winter

High winds, 22nd November

High winds, 22nd November

23rd November, Spanish border

23rd November, Spanish border

Morning, 26th November

Morning, 26th November

Canigou, from the belvédère

Canigou, from the belvédère

Thursday 28th November. Snap frozen…

Long wisps of mist hover above white fields. Chimneys smoke and
the gauge in the Citroën has given an ice warning – it is -4ºC
and far from the postcard view of the South in November. Thousands
of leaves tumble in an instant, snap frozen and ‘shocked’ off
the trees.

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