The vines and the mile-long gravel road that runs through them.
|Small tomatoes ripening|
So I'm back to where my future is. It is September and the rentrée in France, after all. People are going back to school or back to work. Here, the tomatoes and grapes are starting to ripen. There's a plot of ground that managed to get completely overgrown during the summer, and I have started clearing it so that I can till it and plant some things for an autumn harvest. We have wood to cut and stack in preparation for fall and winter.
|What's been digging in the tomato patch?|
Friday afternoon, when we got back from our short trip to southern Touraine (an hour south and west of Saint-Aignan) and the excitement of the Tours suburbs, Walt went out to inspect the tomatoes and the rest of the garden. He discovered that some animal had been digging out there in our absence.
A good half a dozen of the tomato plants had had their roots exposed by something digging in the soil around their base. What animal would do that, I wonder? Was it looking for grubs and worms? Luckily the plants weren't uprooted, and they seem to be doing fine since Walt put some dirt back over the roots and watered the ground a little.
Friday afternoon, we were paid a visit by one of the vignerons who has parcels of vines out along the gravel road through the vineyard. He's a man who works out there year-round, and he usually is accompanied by two or three dogs. Since we walk Callie in the vineyard every day, we and all the dogs know each other.
...and white-wine grapes are really ripening now.
The vigneron's name is Bruno. He told us that a car had run off the gravel road and plowed into one of his parcels, taking out vines in four rows, including posts and support wires. He lost a dozen or more plants — the posts and vine trunks kept the car from going farther and doing more damage.
I don't think the driver was skidding when the car crashed into the vines.
Bruno wanted to know if we had seen anything out of the ordinary. He said the accident happened Thursday afternoon. He figured the car was probably not driveable afterwards and that there must have been a towtruck or some other vehicle to haul it away. He found some pieces of the car's plastic bumper on the ground, but that was all.
It's time to start making apple jelly and apple tarts.
"I thought you might have seen something during your walk with the dog," Bruno said. We told him that we had been out of town Thursday afternoon and hadn't gotten back more than three hours before his visit. We had seen nothing. I don't know why he thinks the accident happened during the afternoon hours. It would seem to be something that might happen during the night — somebody drinking and driving, in other words, or who fell asleep at the wheel.
I seem to spend several days every year clearing weeds and brambles out of this corner, under the plum tree.
Very few cars use the gravel road through the vineyard. I hardly ever do; nor do our neighbors. Mainly, what traffic there is on the road consists of tractors and the vehicles of the workers and vignerons who tend the vines. A few times a month, we'll see a car drive through — some going pretty fast. In this case, there's no sign from the tire tracks the car left on the ground that the driver applied the brakes before crashing into the vines.