I am writing to you from the South of France where our first waves of spring have been very contradictory. The blossoms have been simply spellbinding. Hours I have spent strolling about the land breathing in the delicate scents of fruit flowers only to wake the next day to heavy rains, which have driven the flowers particularly the cascading wisteria to the ground. This season is so brief at the best of times so when a wet spring ends the flowering more quickly, it makes me quite sad.
Lockdown, or ‘confinement’ as it called here in France, meant that Michel dedicated some of his energy to pruning. He certainly let loose on some of the fruit trees, which I agree were badly in need of the secateurs, but it does mean that those shorn trees won’t be offering us fruits this year. Usually that would not be of any real matter because the farmers’ markets and the food markets such as Cannes or Ventimiglia are so splendid and offer us such an abundant choice that we have access to everything we might need or fancy. However, you may have read that there have been unseasonably cold days and nights here within the last three weeks in France. On the evening news, I have been watching clips of vineyards, apricot and apple farms, lit up by flaming brasiers at night. A rather beautiful and poignant sight. However, the agriculturalists have been fighting to keep their young blossoms from being destroyed by the frost by heating the earth and roots of the plants, or the branches.
Many producers have lost up to eighty per cent of their yields. It means that all those vulnerable crops will be in short supply. This year’s wine will be affected too as well as so many fruits.
It is a very hard blow to all those working the land while we are all still fighting Covid.
I know many of you will ask whether our olive trees have survived. So far, so good. An olive tree can withstand a fall in temperature just to -7C or even -8C. Fortunately, it did not plummet anywhere near that low.
Last year we gave over our veggie beds to small trees, planting a grapefruit, replacing a cherry that died and putting in another small lemon. However, with the market problems and what is being forecast as a shortage of produce we have decided to plant a few tomatoes and lettuces etc. So, here we are, a bit late in the season, creating small beds for the veggie plants.
Here below are some photos I have been taking of moments during sping here on the farm.
Before I go, I want to also remind you that my new novel, AN ACT OF LOVE, will be published TWO WEEKS today, 29th April. It has been receiving some amazing feedback and reviews. I am really thrilled. Here follows a link to the UK Amazon site, or please ask your local bookshop to order it in:
If you are elsewhere, www.bookdepository.com will ship worldwide for free. Please do order the book and, if you do, I sincerely hope you will enjoy it. Write to me and let me know your thoughts.
Now for a few photos of our days on the farm. I hope you enjoy them.
I wish you peaceful days, happy reading and good health.
Pic 1. As I write, I have not yet identified this critter. I hope it is not an Asian hornet because they are dangerous, lethal, for honeybees. They destroyed our hives. It is hanging out in amongst the avocado flowers but does not seem to be pollinating.
Pic 2: Avocado buds, coming into blossom
Pic 3: This is Samson on a Dutch stamp! I have only just found out that in Holland as well as in other parts of Europe, you can choose your own images for stamps. Evelyn, a loyal reader and friend, sent me this letter with Samson to greet me. I think our Big Lad takes to the role rather well!
Pic 4: The first buds on one of the vines. Fortunately, our few vines have not been damaged by the frosts elsewhere. I love this tender green tinged with pink. New growth. Hope, spring.
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