23 May 2012

Lagging in gray and green

I've always found jet lag to be worse coming to France compared to the little bit of jet lag I get when I fly from France back to the U.S. That's the conventional wisdom, too. It has to do with traveling in the opposite direction of the sun — from west (North America) to east (Europe).

It also has to do with spending the night on an airplane and not getting a good night's sleep. When I fly to the U.S., the very long day that I spend on the plane turns into night, and bedtime, when I arrive. Our flight over to Boston from Paris, for example, took off at 4 p.m., and we arrived at 6:00 p.m. We spent the evening having dinner and catching up with our friend Bob, who put us up for the first two nights, and then we slept from midnight until 8 a.m. We were nearly back on schedule by then.

I'm not sure why this piece of farm equipment is just parked
out in the vineyard. Maybe it broke down.

Coming back on Saturday and Sunday, we had a 7 p.m. flight. We slept just an hour or two on the plane, and we were on the ground in Paris at 8 a.m. We had a full, sleepless day ahead of us, especially because we had 6 hours to kill at the airport before catching a train back to Saint-Aignan. Taking a nap was not really a possibility.

Sage in in bloom in the back yard.

This morning I was awake at 4 a.m., but I went back to sleep around 6 and had a hard time dragging my groggy body out of bed at 7:30. Yesterday afternoon I snoozed from about 3 until 6, despite my best efforts to remain awake and active. All the gray skies we're experiencing don't help. The rain has stopped, but the sun hasn't yet broken through. Sunshine is the best antidote when you're jet-lagged.

This picture would be a lot greener if herbicide hadn't been
sprayed up and down the rows of vines.

One thing about all the rainy weather that has descended on the Saint-Aignan area since early April — everything is certainly green. We needed the rain, because drought conditions were threatening. Now we need warmth, and MétéoFrance is promising us temperatures in the 70s F over the next three days. The grass will grow even taller. There are shoulder-high weeds out in the vegetable garden plots.

Even the vines on the old stone hut in the vineyard seem
to be late. Lack of sunshine is probably to blame.

We won't be able to plant tomates, aubergines, and haricots verts until the ground dries out enough to be tilled, so the garden won't be an early one this year. Yesterday we were remarking to each other on the state of the vineyard out back. The vines seem to be a month behind where they were a year ago, when we had a dry, sunny, warm spring.

With some sun, the vines and tendrils will grow pretty fast.

After the grass dries out enough to be mowed, we'll go to one of the local outdoor markets or to a plant nursery and buy the tomato and eggplant seedlings we decide to plant. Walt will grow green beans from seed. I think I'll try again to grow some okra from seeds — I brought some back from the U.S. Planting okra proves how optimistic I am, because okra need hot, sunny weather in order to thrive.


  1. Hi Ken... it is a crop duster that is lurking like something out of Star Wars. They need still days to use it, so the current windiness is not helpful!

  2. Welcome home. I believe congratulations are in order. Diane

  3. I don't get jet lag flying to Australia these days - I used to get it really badly. One theotehr hand, I never used to get lagged flying to Europe, but I do now.

    I think it has to do more with not getting lagged on holiday because you're excited, but having it all catch on with you when you get home and aren't pushing yourself to do stuff.

  4. Instead of tilling the ground why not make some raised beds. Easier to weed etc. Use compost or a mix of soil/compost. Home-made is best if you can get it. Tilling brings up weed seeds creating more work.

  5. Anonymous, how to you keep weeds from growing in the raised beds? What do you use as edging? Boards and stakes, concrete blocks...? Sounds a little complicated to me. I'll just run the rototiller.

    Simon, good points, but I've also had deadly jet lag when flying from the U.S. to France for vacations years ago. Nearly every time. Same this time. And I'm on permanent holiday here, remember...

    Thanks, Diane. Life goes on, or resumes, even with our new legal status in New York state. It doesn't yet transfer to France.

    Tim, Walt said there was a repair crew out there in the vineyard, swarming over the engin this morning. I can see that it is a machine used to spread herbicide down the rows of vines. Typical grape-grower's equipment.

  6. I hope the sun shines on your happy honeymoon soon. I can't promise to send good weather your way because we're having a rainy spell here.

  7. Interesting comment about jet lag. I always find it to be worse when we come back to the US from Europe than when we go. We recently spent a month in France, and when we got home it took about a week to fully overcome "jet lag." Yet when we had gone over, we woke up in the morning the day after arriving fully refreshed and adjusted to the time, even despite losing an entire night's sleep.

  8. I need more jet lag, because I need more traveling to Europe :)

    We've had our 6 (I think) tomato plants in for a couple of weeks now, and it has been pleasantly warm all of those days except one cool one. This weekend we're expecting this lovely 70s-ish weather to hit 95 for a couple of days-- yuck:( But, I guess that the plants will like it. This is my first experiment with tomatoes in 15 years, I think. We have two kinds of cherry tomatoes, two kinds of plum tomatoes (not on purpose), one heirloom 80-day regular 'mater (Cherokee something-or-other), and two other regular size ones. One is cultivated at the U of Arkansas, and meant to withstand very hot temps, which we usually get in the summer (I think it is called Arkansas Traveler).

    I hope you get some good sun soon!

  9. Ken

    I believe that the weather is playing with your mind. If it was sunny and a little bit warmer, you will be out in the yard early in the morning and toiling w/o thinking about jet lag or being sleepy.

    "Let the sunshine in" :-)

  10. Just what I was thinking about jet lag, Judith!

    Perhaps Beaver, too, has a good theory about how the weather is playing a psycological game with you and it is not really jet lag?

    Regardless, welcome back.

    Mary in Oregon

  11. I don't get jetlag when flying to the US from France. But, oh boy, going to France means several days trying to adjust.

  12. I've counted — I've had time on flights over the past 10 years — and I've now flown across the Atlantic 67 times in my life (that's one-way trips — you can tell because it's an odd number and I started in the U.S.). So I know jet lag, which is a personal thing and affects an individual differently each time. There's no denying it, though, at least not for me.

    The temperature hit 24ºC today, so mid 70s F. Nice. All the windows are open and we're wearing shorts and T-shirts.

    Thanks for all the congratulations. I had a talk with our neighbor this afternoon. I didn't get congratulations from her, but I did learn some interesting news about one of her grandsons...

  13. Must be difficult to work on it with the vines so close... and no way of towing it out! Tricky...


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