Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Where does the time go?

Well, this week is galloping by; where has it has gone, I say with a sigh?

I spent  Monday morning cleaning the house, which endeavour I followed up with trying to cut the top of a very wide fir hedge. The petrol trimmer is quite heavy and in no time at all, my right arm was ready to give up completely! After that, I made more plum jam and picked lots more beans and courgettes. I am picking tomatoes every day, but I have certainly not got a glut of them. There are plenty of green ones, so it could still happen! There are plums, plums and more plums; the four trees and the ground are just covered; I have decided there is only so much one person can do, and that is, of course, if you have the time - and jars!

David arrived  on Monday evening with his chain saw and cut all the branches off  the very large, fifth, plumless plum tree for me. We are led to believe it is too close to the quince which is why it has no plums, and why, in turn, it caused the quince to throw a tantrum this year. The quince leaves were covered in spots and ended up all over the ground and the fruit started to drop. The nursery told me it was blight and the dry weather had a lot to do with it. Quick treatment seems to have saved the day, but the plum had to come out to let the air through. David then attacked a fir,  which we had also decided must exit the garden. I have no idea what kind it is, but it's one of those low growing ones and extremely spiteful. it is always hard for us to consider removing trees, but this one has thousands of tiny little prickles and quite honestly, as there were bits dying off in places, it was not only lacking in beauty, but it was quite ugly! David then brought his trailer around, so I could spend Tuesday packing as much as possible into it.
The fir on the extreme left is the one now cut down.

What remains after David and the chain saw!
The plum tree before cutting with the quince hidden to the right.

The stump of the plum remains behind the bits of fir. You can see the quince further back with only half of its leaves. To the left of the quince is a medlar and even further left is a fig tree which is heavily laden with fruit -that is an annual wonder!

Tuesday just seemed to go on and on. Odd shaped, or long branches had to be cut into yet smaller pieces, as my instructions had been get as much as possible in the trailer. Any wood that was worth keeping for the fire was  kept aside.

Trailer load number one.

David then collected it after work and returned the empty trailer for the second load on Wednesday. Phew…….. I then had a quick shower and ran up the road to a neighbour  for a previously arranged aperitif. It was at least an enforced rest, and after a couple of Pastis (Ricard), I even regained enough strength  to lift the glass with my right arm!

After an early night I awoke at 01h30, only to be fed up by 05h00 , when I got up and made another batch of jam. Then back to the trailer I went and loaded it up for the second time.
Load number two and final. David was surprised that I had managed to do it in two loads despite him telling me to keep packing it in!

I then had to go to Montemboeuf to collect a parcel which I missed from yesterday's delivery; I was in the garden and did not hear the postman. After arriving at Montemboeuf, I was told “oh no it is at the mayor’s office in Vitrac”. On arrival at Vitrac at 11h00, I was told I was too early and it would only be there at 11h30……… I ended up going into Chasseneuil to do some shopping and arrived back at the same time as the postman. Our usual postlady is on holiday which is what caused all the confusion. She knows where to find me when I don’t answer the door!!

Tomorrow, yet another neighbour is going to arrive with chains and tractor. I hope with luck, we can pull the tree roots out. Oh dear, more tidying up on the way. While typing this, the weather has suddenly changed, the clouds have built up and it is drizzling. The garden will enjoy it even if it is only a little, but I have a car full of rubbish which I want to take to the dump this afternoon and David will also arrive to collect the trailer. It could rain any other day…….

A little later – All rubbish has gone to the dump and yes we did  get wet!!  I am so spoilt with all the help I get from friends and neighbours.

P.S. Just as I returned, friends from the next village arrived  with a whole set of CD's for me to help with my French.  No rush I have been told.  I can even take them back to the UK for winter. I just have to keep trying.


  1. How lucky you are to have friends and neighbors who help with garden and linguistics!

  2. Yes, where does the time go? It's scary - the years seem to fly by from Christmas to Christmas ...

    ... on the smallholding I don't have TV and minimal connection with the 'outside world' - often I lose a whole day in a week, I'll think it's Thursday when it's Friday ...

    You really have been busy but, as Froggy says "Time is fun when you're having flies" ... :)

  3. Marjie I am so very lucky..... Diane

  4. Graham, Froggy is so right:)

    The first two years I was here, I also had no TV or ADSL, I know exactly what you mean by weeks going AWOL. I did have French radio but as I did not understand it...... Actually I quite enjoyed it, if the world had blown up around me I would never have known!

    Nigel is the one who suffers, the time for him just crawls waiting for retirement! Diane

  5. I know time just seems to fly by when you have the summer off. I have to start back to work on Monday and the kids start back the next Monday! So I'm enjoying as much cooking and blogging while I can....and didn't get done many things that I had planed on doing!

    You must be ready for a rest after all that work!

  6. Oh dear... save those lovely branches of the quince for grilling... they leave a lovely fragrance!!

    Looks like you've gotten so much accomplished... you must be proud of yourself (and grateful for those great neighbors).

  7. Wow, so very busy, yet you got a lot done. Taking trees down and the clean up after is a Lot of work.

    I hope you are picking some of those unred tomatoes and makeing friend green tomatoes. One of my faves.

  8. Oh my, you are certainly keeping busy and have so much energy ! Well done for getting all that loaded onto the trailer ! We've also just recently had to remove 2 trees from our garden (gum trees) -always sad to see them go but in this case, also necessary. It's wonderful that you have the support of so many friends & neighbours.

  9. Lyndsey, I have to say when I worked I used to go there to have a rest!!! People ask me what do I do all day on my own - I wish there were more hours in the day!! Diane

  10. longpast remembered. There are no branches coming off the quince. The plum has been removed to save the quince. Diane

  11. Gaelyn I have not even thought about grilling green tomatoes. I am trying to keep up with the ones that are ripe plus everything else at the moment. I am bottling and freezing but as the latter is now full..... There is no point in buying another freezer as we have one in the UK. We are going to have too much 'stuff' when we make the final move anyway. Diane

  12. Bo I have to agree with your comment, I love it to. Diane

  13. Lynda I hate taking trees out, but as you say sometimes it is necessary. Gum trees can become quite dangerous if they really get big. I know we had to remove a few close to the house when we lived at Ruwa in Zim. I would never manage without the support and help from my neighbours and friends. Diane

  14. How wonderful it must be to have such lovely neighbors. I'm amazed by how much you were able to accomplish in such a short period of time. You keep so busy you have no time to miss Nigel :-). Your home, by the way, is really charming. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  15. I felt exhausted just reading your post, so no wonder you were worn out!

  16. I am exhausted just reading about your activities so far this week! Also very impressed as I think your husband must be.
    By the way I love the photos in the sidebar of your garden.

  17. Thanks Mary. As you say I don't have time to be lonely when I am on my own. Nigel keeps telling me to slow down, but if there is work to be done..... Diane

  18. Lindy thanks for the comments. I have to admit tonight that I feel exhausted. I aim for an early night and hopefully a good nights sleep. Diane

  19. Jan I am sorry to exhaust you as well:-) Diane

  20. Looks like you have a fairly large yard, and your house looks comfortable and lovely.
    Work, work, work, time for a visit and another apertif.

  21. Wow you have a wonderful place, and lots of fantastic friends too!!

    Makes me feel very idle.. I have not motivation to do much at all, looking for another job at the moment to keep me occupied.

    I wouldn't even know where to start to make jam, or prepare the sauces etc etc,

    How great to be given the cd's to help with your French .

  22. What a wonderful productive time at home! I know it is tiring but you feel oh so good when it is all done. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

    btw, our plums did amazing and our tomatoes not that great.

  23. qui a été quelque chose que je voulais vous demander, comment est votre français?

    You sound like a busy little bee, that does remind me I have to start on my garden this weekend picking up leaves etc and filling the Venter :)

  24. Mya we have just under an acre so it is plenty big enough for me to look after:) Diane

  25. Anne with as much fruit and vegetables as I have in the garden here one soon learns to make jams pickle etc. It makes great Christmas presents.

    Hope you find a job soon, not easy at the moment in the UK!

  26. Velva, I have four plum trees and the branches are on the ground with the weight. I have done as much as I can with them and even the neighbours don't want any more!! Diane

  27. Philip my French is useless but I generally manage to get by somehow. I only started learning at 62 and as my memory is not good...... Nigel did French at school and also has a good memory. Although his vocabulary is small his grammar is very good. Once he lives here he should quickly learn more words.

    Good luck getting your garden ready for summer, meanwhile I dread winter approaching:( Diane

  28. Summer is almost over and I'm not productive at all... I didn't learn to cook much.., anyways, almost weekend, have one!

  29. Lani you have a good weekend as well. Diane

  30. Getting rid of ugly trees is good for the soul as well as the garden.

    I made green tomato chutney once. It was delicious. You couldn't taste the tomatoes at all but the other fruit and spices in it were yummy !! I think it was either a Good Housekeeping or Womens Institute recipe.

    Since having our greenhouse, we get ripe tomatoes now so my supply of green ones has disappeared.

  31. Jean I am glad the trees are out but the problem is the roots and the stump from the fir......

    I may end up with green tomato chutney but they still have a couple of months to go to ripen. Diane

  32. What a huge and daunting task this must have been Diane. I LOVE quinces but since a young girl, have not seen many around. It seems that they are one of those forgotten fruits which everyone ignors.

  33. Joan I did not know much about quinces till we moved here and had our own tree. I now go nuts over quince jelly and quince jam which I have made every year since we bought the house here in France. Thankfully although my tree has had a rough year, I have a friend with a tree that is loaded so I can get as many as I want from them. Hopefully now the plum is out the quince will recover completly. Diane

  34. Your garden will look clear and tidy soon and you'll enjoy it lot more now that a few undesirable trees are gone!
    I wish I had that kind of help too!!
    My garden looks miserable and overwhelmed by weeds... Or so I see it!
    I much prefer going photo-hunting but the weather too is miserable!
    Have agreat day, Diane!

  35. Noushka you are right about the weather, it has cleared a bit here but not sure how long for.

    I have been very lucky with all the help that I have had over the past week. Problem is now I need a digger and I don't know anyone with one of those!!

    Have a good weekend. Cheers, Diane


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