21 June 2019

Choses vues chez la voisine...

We have a part-time neighbor who hasn't come to stay in the hamlet in a while now. She lives in the Paris area, and she has inherited her late husband's family home here. She hires a man to keep the yard mowed and her rose bushes in good shape. Here are some things I've seen on her property recently.

In a fairly big windstorm last week, one of her trees fell down. Or at least half of it did. It's a willow. I wonder if she even knows about it. A neighbor who lives here full-time, as we do, told me yesterday he had gone to look at the big limb on the ground. He said the trunk of the willow tree seemed to be rotting from inside out. It couldn't stand up to the strong winds. I've seen at least two other big limbs broken off trees out around the edges of the vineyard.

With recent rains, the pond out behind the part-time neighbor's house has a good amount of water in it now. Sometimes it goes completely dry. In olden times, before there were so many people living on the land and sewage mains were put in, these ponds, called fosses, were used for waste water and sewage disposal. They are holes that were dug to contain that waste, along with rainwater. Now they just collect rainwater.

The other day, as I walked by with Tasha, I startled a big heron that was standing in the fosse. Now I know why. It was hunting frogs that have invaded the little pond. Not far away, there's a larger pond, called a mare, which is out behind our house, and it is full of frogs right now. They croak and chirp in a loud chorus on warm mornings. I guess some of them have crossed the dirt road and colonized the fosse. Maybe they make the land crossing when the weather is rainy.


  1. Ken, the frogs will also cross at night and on damp/wet dewy mornings... if they then breed in that fosse, the young that reach maturity will always return to there to breed.

    1. Thanks. For all I know, the heron has eaten all the frogs by now.

    2. May well have Ken... herons are here to keep the frog population under controll... else we'd all get sleepless nights.

  2. Replies
    1. I'm lucky to have noticed the frog and lucky with the camera.

  3. That frog photo made me smile. Ribbit.

  4. I had a willow come down once in a storm, and the man who came to cut it up described it as a 50-foot weed. He said they're shallow-rooted and tend to disintegrate more with age than other trees. But they are pretty.
    Now I understand the origin of the term fosse septique.


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