Posted by: kathandroger | October 5, 2010

Harvest time,maths and hot tub advances!

It has turned distinctly autumnal over the past few days, and with it the harvest is in full swing! The grapes are all picked, the apples are virtually all harvested and the squash are all in the pigsty we have set up as our produce store.  Here they are….

The only problem is that we may have picked some of our squash a bit early. Oh well, we’ll soon find out!

The other thing we are harvesting each day – our walnuts. Last years crop lasted the whole year and we left a lot behind last year, so we may have to find something else to do with them this year, such as walnut oil. The walnut is a very thoughtful fruit as far as collecting is concerned – it opens out when it is ripe and presents itself to be picked out of its shell…

There are only two problems though – the first in the shape of a sheep. Nounous likes to help picking things, though usually that means upscuttling the basket and trying to eat the contents. The second problem is that our trees (6) are all huge and therefore most of the walnuts are out of reach, so have to be picked up from the ground. Here’s one of the trees at the top of the potager

Speaking of the potager, it is looking pretty good at the moment. The winter greens are growing well – sprouts, caulis, green and red cabbages, romanesque caulis – as well as leeks and the remainder of our carrots, beetroot and beans (amongst other things!). Here it is in all its glory this afternoon…

Back to the aforementioned Nousnous. He seems completely unfazed by the events of last week (or maybe its just that sheep really don’t have any memory?!). If anything, he seems pleased that the other 2 males are no longer around and he as 2 young females all to himself. Here he is with his girls…

He even brought the girls down to the woodstore where Roger lured them last week for the last supper (stale baguette). I think he must have been so carried away chomping on the baguettes that he failed to noticed his 3 friends being removed, never to return! Let’s just hope he’s going to be up to the job this autumn/winter and we will have more luck with breeding sheep than we had with breeding Airdale terriers!!

I reflected over the past couple of days how varied our days are here. As well as the garden and livestock, we have been spending quite a bit of time planning for our barn conversions, carrying out various bits of building repairs, butchering lambs…and translating for the local museum. The philosopher Descartes was born and lived in our local town, Descartes. What I hadn’t appreciated was that he also made such a huge contribution to the development of maths and geometry. Descartes created what in effect was a sort of dictionary between algebra and geometry which provided the basis for many modern developments in today’s technology. Descartes and his maths featured recently in a BBC programme called ‘The story of Maths’ and I am in the process of translating it together with the museum curator Sylvie.  Maths seems a long time in the past, but my interest has been rekindled by the programme.

Finally, Roger had a bit of an incident at the swimming pool today. We’d finished our session and stopped off at the hot tub for 5 minutes on the way out. We’d just got settled and one of those elegant, slim French ladies, who is probably about 80, got in. She started chatting to Roger and appeared to be pretty expressive with the use of her arms. I wasn’t paying much attention, but quickly realised that Roger didn’t have much idea what she was going on about (he was saying ‘oui, oui, oui’ and laughing nervously). All of a sudden the lady plonked herself down between his thighs and started pulling his arms around her. For a moment I wondered if I should point out to her that he was actually taken and she should back off a little. Actually I decided to explain that my husband hadn’t understood what she had said! Then it all became clear – she wanted him to pull her elbows together behind her back to give her a good stretch ‘and keep her souple’, rather than making a move for a toy boy! She seemed pleased with his efforts and withdrew to her side of the hot tub! Ooh la la!


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