Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A little worry left behind.

As we started packing to leave La Chaise in the tender care of Audrey, Alexandre and Charlie, also Michelle,for a couple of winter months, we decided to have a final glass of wine on the terrace, watch the sunset, hopefully see some bats at dusk.

On my way through the dining room door to the terrace I saw THIS:

YES!    This is a slug, climbing up the electric wire towards the attic bedroom.

Now, if it is true that slugs seek out damp places to hide in dry times....I am worried.  The gardiens of La Chaise are on Slug Watch.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A summer without bees

The summer is drawing to a close - the pools have been covered with their winter baches, heavy dark blue plastic sheets tied with elastic tethers to heavy pegs in their surrounding tiles.  The daily temperature has dropped..

There are still few bees - I can count the ones I have seen on the fingers of one hand.  They were very small.   I have only seen one bumblebee and the only hornet was dead before I spotted it.

The unusually hot weather in the summer days meant we heard less bird-song and more tree crickets.   The birds are now back whilst we hear only the odd cricket in the evening.   The bats have abandoned us - no night flying insects for food, no point in staying here, despite a wonderfully cool, vinous cellar - the one immediately under our bedroom. 

This moth escaped the bats, only to die inside.

Whilst we miss the crickets it is a great pleasure to hear early morning and late evening bird song again.  The cooler weather has also made the birds more bold.  Even when we are on the terrace, with a glass of wine and a meal, they venture into the overhanging grape vines to pick at the ripe grapes.  One evening a female blackbird looked at me balefully as she ventured towards the ripe grapes.  The various finches that are around here are more discreet.

Up there in the greenery are the grapes - the birds are getting more than us

Does anyone know how to make a bunch of grapes ripen more or less completely?   With flowers, such as gladioli, one pinches out the top bud to get all the rest to flower.   That, of course, can be done standing at a table - but overhead grapes?  Our gardiens, Alexandre & Audrey, have confiscated our step-ladder. Probably for the best.

Looks like a grape jelly year.