05 December 2015

Trees big and small

Yesterday I mentioned the vineyard plots down the hill to the north of our house. The lowest plot is planted in Chardonnay grapes, and the one above it in either Gamay or Cabernet Franc. (I'm not very good at identifying the different varietals.) Callie likes to walk down there, and we do so every other day.


A lot of the woods around here are made up of smallish trees. I used to think most trees in France were fairly small because we are so far north. Now I understand it's because so many of the woods are managed by the local people. Trees are harvested for firewood, or now pellets, on a regular schedule. When the oaks reach a medium size, they're cut down and sawed into logs. New ones grow up fairly quickly. I've seen the process repeated in many places around the vineyard.


The big tree above is one that got a way. It and a couple of other trees around it have grown to an impressive size, as you can see. Other enormous trees around here include pines, cedars, and other conifers. There are tall poplars, linden trees, and cottonwood trees too. One of the tallest trees in the area is the big Deodar or Himalyan cedar in our yard, which you'll see in many of our photos (here near the house, and here, on the right).


There are a lot of small fruit trees all around us too — apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, and figs grow in abundance. The tree in the photo above is a néflier. It grows to as tall as 6 meters, about 20 feet, and in English is called a medlar tree. The fruit is called a nèfle or medlar and is harvested after the first freeze in autumn to be eaten raw or made into jelly. Medlars have been cultivated in Asia Minor and southeastern Europe for three thousand years. I've never tasted one myself. This tree is in the neighbors' yard and the neighbors harvest the medlars as soon as there has been a cold snap in October or November.

14 comments:

Susan said...

Gamay and Cabernet Franc are easy to tell apart. Gamay has 'goosefoot' shaped leaves often not deeply divided into lobes (usually 3 shallow lobes). The leaves are slightly rough. The leaf makes a V shaped gap where it joins to its stem (as opposed to a lyre shape). Cab Franc has leaves that divide deeply and jaggedly (usually 5 lobes). The base of the indentations between lobes has a little tongue sticking up (this is diagnostic for Cab Franc and some of the varieties closely related). You have to look at a range of leaves on several vines to get an overall impression of average leaf form. Quite a few leaves will not have read the identification manual and be doing something they are not supposed to.

Ellen said...

Paul loves nèfles. I don't. The pits are very smooth and Paul tells me that when he was a kid, they used them rather like marbles. Since they are not really round, it makes the game interesting.

Gosia k said...

this wood look like in Poland

chm said...

There is a French expression, J'te paye des nèfles shorten to just des nèfles which means I won't give you anything at all. Des clous would have the same meaning. For those of you understanding French, I just discovered a very valuable site : expressions-francaises.fr. It will give you the meaning and origin of such expressions.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Et des prunes aussi, non ?

Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks, Susan. I'll have to examine some leaves.

Ken Broadhurst said...

One day I'll have to taste a nèfle. Usually, by the time I think of going to pick one, the neighbors have already take them all.

Seine Judeet (Judith) said...

Oh, cool info on the nèfle, and thanks for that site, chm :)
Callie must enjoy having such a nice world in which to frolic :)

chm said...

You're welcome, Judy. I knew you would be interested.

Diogenes said...

thanks for the link chm.

Diogenes said...

Ken, do you know what the logic is for removing the large/older trees from the forests? Providing more light? Just wondering.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I don't think it's the really big trees that are cut down. It's the medium-size ones that make good firewood. Wood is a resource. A lot of people burn wood to heat their houses. In 2003, we saw half a dozen houses for sale that were heated exclusively with wood fires.

chm said...

You're welcome, David.

Kiwi said...

She's such a smart dog. You can tell by her expressions and her body language.