I seem to have come down with a cold. Great. I guess it's not surprising. My body is fundamentally tired after all it's been through over the past four or five weeks. And now the weather is turning much colder, with snow in the forecast for next week. This week, the rain has stopped but the landscape is water, water everywhere.
We expected to see our part-time neighbor this week, but her house has remained empty and shuttered. In fact, two other houses we can see from our windows stand empty right now. This neighbor is a retired teacher but still active in education projects and volunteer work. She lives in the Paris suburbs and travels a lot. Since the winter vacation for French schools has now started, we thought she might come spend time in what was her late husband's family home. Maybe she's in India or Africa... or somewhere else exotic... instead.
The soil in the vineyard and in our yard is made up mostly of clay and limestone. It's fairly impermeable, so water runs off as much as it soaks in. Anyway, the ground is completely saturated right now, after several months of frequent rain. Puddles like the one to the right are all around. You have to be careful where you step. You might end up ankle deep in muck. And expect your pants legs to be spattered with mud.
Even where there are no puddles, the ground is slippery the way clay is when it's water-saturated. Slippin' and a-slidin' is how we make our way up and down rows of vines. I took these photos at sunrise yesterday morning. The sky was foggy and the sun was an orange ball coming up behind a stand of trees.
There are five or six water holes of various sizes around the vineyard, and all of them are pretty full right now. This coming week, they will be frozen over, and maybe snow-covered. In spite of the cold and my cold, we have to go out today to take the car to our mechanic for some brake work. I hope bad weather doesn't end up scuttling our planned road trip to the Allier river valley.