31 May 2017

Skies, vines, hills, and trees

It's the last day of May already. It actually feels cold this morning, though it's only about 16ºC / 60ºF outside. It feels chilly because we've already had so many hot, sunny days. Last year at this time we were having heavy rains and flooding. This year, it's dry and sunny.

Above is a view of the Renaudière vineyard, where we walk the dog every day, that I took about two weeks ago. I've been taking a lot of photos since I took all the ones of Saint-Aignan that I've been posting recently. These are some of them.

The hills in my post title include the one above. Because the weather has been so dry, there are thousands of anthills all around the edges of the vineyard. Or maybe they are burrowing bees' nests, as Tim says in his comment. I don't know what nests in them, but I do know that we have hardly ever seen an ant in our house.

A week or two ago all the locust (a.k.a. acacia) trees were covered in big white flowers. The fragrance was amazing. Unfortunately, the flowers fade quickly and are gone now.

Here's a more recent photo of the vineyard. It's green and seems to be recovering from the late freeze we had in April. But I don't know how the grape harvest will be affected. I noticed yesterday that a lot of the apple trees around the hamlet are loaded with fruit. The sour cherries are ripening quickly, and there are a lot of plums on the plum trees too.


  1. Ken, Susan will....no doubt... correct me, but that doesn't look like an ant hill..... I think it might be a mining bee hole?
    The frass around an anthill is usually more spread out.....and the opening kept clear. Here it looks like a little hillock where the bee has dug down into the soil to make her burrow and lay her eggs. These small solitary bees are more important for pollinating crops than any number of hives. I believe that 60% is done by wild bees....only some 6% by honey bees and the rest by other insects.

    1. That's interesting. Walt says he took the same picture and he saw ants going in and out of the hole/hill. It's true that I didn't see any ants in the place where I took the picture, at least not at that moment. I'll go have another look and take more photos.

    2. I googled mining bee holes photos and ant hill photos and they are pretty much identical .. I guess if you see an ant, you can tell what kind of hole it is lol
      If I could, I would border my property with Acacia trees ... they are so lovely..

    3. I just got back from this morning's walk. There are definitely anthills on the road, and I can see ants going in and out. At the other spot, where there are hundreds of anthill-looking things, I see no ants. So I guess those are miner bees' nests. Glad to know it.

  2. evidently a good portion of the Georgia peach crop was lost due to late freeze.....sad

  3. Interesting about the mining bee-- I've never heard of mining bees.
    Very inviting photos :)

  4. "It actually feels cold this morning, though it's only about 16ºC / 60ºF outside."
    We're hoping to hit 60 degrees here in Portland (Maine) today. And it's 60 inside. We turned off the heat a week or so ago, and I can't bear to turn it on now that it's almost June.
    As to apple trees, a few years ago we had something similar happen to apple trees as happened to vineyards in much of France this year. Due to early warmth, apple trees got off to a good, early start, only to get hit by a late freeze. Some apple orchards lost their entire crop that year.

  5. THAT is an acacia? Oh my, I just planted one for the balcony...


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