Panier of Plenty

March 2014

Welcome to the visual diary for March…

From The Forest

Bergerie and mas

Bergerie and Mas Reste

Along the river

Along the river

Euphorbe

Euphorbe

Along the path

Along the path

Below the barrage

Below the barrage

The mountain road is now cut down the middle while we await the completion of works to lay nw water pipes…

Our bridge

Our bridge

Devouring the road

Devouring the road

The ‘Great Grandfather’ wild apple tree in the field across the road is magnificent this year as all the wild fruiting trees on the mountain burst into blossom…

Wild apple tree

Wild apple tree

Clusters of blossoms

Clusters of blossoms

Reaching to the sky

Reaching to the sky

In The Garden

Plum trees in blossom

Plum trees in blossom

Carpet of violets

Carpet of violets

There are violets everywhere now, tucked under the trees that shade the upper terrace and in the flower beds I have been tending for the last year. Marigolds (orange and yellow varieties) have burst out of formation and need transplanting – they seem happy with the warm conditions and rain.

It certainly lifts one’s spirits to see blossoms lining the roads of the region, and often tiny hamlets or villages, as pansies and poppies raise their faces on roundabouts or spill from plant boxes. everything is budding and unfurling…

Mina lurking by the atelier

Mina lurking by the atelier

With the return of our feathered friends, the doormat is diminishing – the coconut fibres being perfect for weaving. I have been leaving offerings of hair, and Frédéric has built new bird houses and perches as Mina undoes his earlier efforts – some have not weathered well and she has knocked out their bases. She is a formidable hunter and surveys all hideaways, as we in turn must try to thwart her plans…

Side of potting shed

Side of potting shed

Customised dwelling

Customised dwelling

Now harvesting: Fennel and the very last carrots and blettes, as we prepare to plant.

Walled potager gate

Walled potager gate

Preparing the potager

Preparing the potager

Sunday 9th March

Sunday 9th March

Morning light

Morning light

Now planting: Spinach, radishes, carrots, parsnips and flower seeds…

Fresh spring grass

Fresh spring grass

Sunday morning walk

Sunday morning walk

Monday 10th March. As almond blossoms continue to open the garden is abuzz – clearly audible today as the roadworks seem to have have halted for the weekend. With our road blocked, there is a background of complete silence so nature can then write her score of birdsong and cascading water, with bee accompaniment. I am back from work, having learnt the basics and moulded 21 goat’s cheeses. I love the precision and the nature of this artisanal work – part feeling and part a natural chemistry that changes with the season as fat levels in the milk vary. As we experience incredibly mild spring days, a new routine starts for me: up at 6am with the first light; around the farm table at 6.50 for the handover; home just after 10am to tend to the house, Célestine and garden, and all importantly, prepare lunch, which today includes fresh cheese, still in its mould…

Late afternoon

Late afternoon

Cognassier (quince)

Cognassier (quince)

Petals start to fall

13th, petals start to fall

Above the pond

Above the pond

Marigolds along the wall

Marigolds along the wall

Almond tree  now leafing

Almond tree now leafing

31st March. Our busiest time in the garden as we are still weeding and preparing beds and starting to plant. Welcome rain has fallen and Primavera and Coeur de Marie flowers now join the pansies…`

Exploring The Region

Sunday 2nd December. A walk along the Mediterranean coast from the Plage d’Art to the port of St Cyprien – bustling in summer it is quiet at this time of the year; locals walk dogs, the odd restaurant is open for lunch, yachts are under repair and the snow-covered slopes of Canigou dominate the view inland.

St-Cyprien, Côte Vermeille

St-Cyprien, Côte Vermeille

Facing the Mediterranean

Facing the Mediterranean

Looking towards Andorra

Looking towards Andorra

View to the Col de Puymorens

View to the Col de Puymorens

Latour de Carol

Latour de Carol

Le Carol as snow melts

Le Carol as snow melts

On The Menu

Frais - avec noix et miel

Frais – avec noix et miel

Goat’s cheese…

Demi-sec

Demi-sec

At Home

The bergerie garden

The bergerie garden

Bergerie garden

Irises everywhere

Growing between rocks

Growing between rocks

Canigou from the belvédère

Canigou from the belvédère

For Nature's spectacles, belvédère

For Nature’s spectacles, belvédère

First rose, mas

First rose, mas

Heading to work...

Heading to work…

'Jazzy', the new arrival

‘Jazzy’, the new arrival

Morning light, Canigou

Morning light, Canigou

Monday 31st March. As the clocks go back an hour to summer time, my morning drive is now in the dark and dinner is suddenly later. Gardening is the major focus as I clear the bergerie flower borders and rock garden before the gite opens for visitors. Rain has brought hundreds of snails out from hiding…

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