20 March 2014

Digging in the dirt under sunny skies

I didn't finish working on the computer yesterday, but I made significant progress. I copied all my photos off an external hard disk onto the 1 GB disk inside the Acer CPU. That was 350 GB of photos, and the copy operation took at least four hours. I didn't sit there and watch, so I'm not sure when it finished copying. Finally, though, my photos are back up on our home network, so that I can work with them easily.

You can just see Walt sitting in the sun outside the back door of the house.
The afternoon temperature today will be near 20ºC / 70ºF.

But the biggest news from yesterday is that we were able to start getting the garden ready. Until now, the ground has been just too soggy. The last time it rained, however, was on March 3. We've noticed neighbors down the hill, closer to the river, out with their tillers turning over the soil, getting their gardens ready for planting. Down there, the soil is sandier and looser, so it dries out faster, I assume.

We'll do more yard work today. Walt plans to mow the grass. For me, there's another garden plot or two to till up.

As I've said before, probably many times over the course of the past 8½ years of blogging, most everybody in this part of France has a vegetable garden. It's just part of the culture. It was one of the first things we noticed about the Saint-Aignan area when we arrived here in June 2003. We started our garden in 2004, and it was an immediate success. The biggest disadvantage of living on this particular plot of land is that our soil is rocky clay, and very alkaline. Grapevines do well in it, but not much else. Drainage is poor, and when the ground is dry it's like concrete. We've been amending the soil in our garden plots for 10 years now, adding leaves and kitchen-waste compost.

This spot in the back corner of the yard was where the man who owned the house before us kept
his compost pile. I've grown greens and potatoes in this rich, loose soil over the years.

When I took the cat to the vet's the other day, the vet and I chatted about the weather, of course. We found a tick on Bertie. The vet said we'd need to expect to see a lot of ticks and other noxious bugs and insects this spring and summer, because we had almost no freezing weather over the winter to kill them off. She said, as if it were obviously the case, that we must be out in the yard a lot these days, getting our vegetable garden ready for the growing season. That's a safe assumption in this area at this time of year.

Callie the collie likes to run after the ball when we throw it, but she's not very good about bringing it back.

Callie enjoyed being outside in the dry, warm weather yesterday afternoon. I'm not sure what she was looking at when I snapped this photo. I think she might have just been looking away from the camera, or maybe a bird had made some noise up in the tree the dog was sitting next to. Today, she's going to the groomer's.


  1. Happy spring to you both!

  2. Thanks Nadege. Hope that that earthquake the other day didn't shake you up too much.

  3. Tilling up the garden in 70 degrees sounds heavenly...as does sitting in the sun reading a book!

    Mary in Oregon

  4. Your kind of soil grows better tomatoes than acidic like I have. We've got sunshine here too- yay!


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