Posted by: kathandroger | August 8, 2016

High Summer.

The harvest is in. This year the yield of wheat is very poor due to the excess of rain in the spring and the grains not developing properly. The price of wheat is also very poor and the farmers are not happy; no doubt there will be a strike or protest of some sort. But the fields with the huge straw bales look lovely in the brilliant summer sun, and our neighbour has already ploughed one field after a nights rain. Our guests are enjoying the good weather and the noise from the pool area underlines their pleasure.

The second brood of swallows have learned to fly this past week. One family in the bike shed were particularly photogenic, watching the parental demonstration before setting out by themselves.P1000453Thanks to guest Becky for the photo.

There are some strange tricks of nature. I had to look twice on entering the field a couple of days ago: an apple growing on the top of a stinging nettle! Really, this was no “plant”! IMG_3482The top of the nettle had been eaten off by the goat I guess, and the apple had fallen from the tree above onto the rigid stalk. I hope their is no cross fertilization as the resulting apples may have more than a tangy flavour! Incidentally, nettles are not seemingly known to the antipodeans. We have had a couple of incidents of Australian guest walking through nettle patches, and being alarmed at the results.

The old sheep feeder had seen better days and a new one was required. This is one of the specialities of Roger the Bodger, and utilizing the packaging the lawn mower arrived in, and the remnants of a pool umbrella, a new one was made. It is designed to accommodate the small bales made by our farmer neighbour Manu, and the animals seem to approve although it is much too early in the season for hay.IMG_3484The orchard is at last showing some signs of fruition. The grapes look good, the figs are at last forming, and there are loads of apples and pears. Plums are a  less than last year and we have had no peaches or apricots and very few cherries. The present glut, as usual, is marrows and courgettes, and at last the outdoor tomatoes are ripening. We won’t go hungry for a few months yet.


  1. Terribly dry here in the Charente Maritime on the coast too. It has been the strangest of years for crops, as you say the wheat is awful, being a farmer’s daughter from the UK, I know how my Father would be hating this year if he was still farming. Our plums were dismal this year, but we did have plenty of peaches and we have masses of grapes and figs, the latter just a couple of weeks away from ripening fully now. We are overrun with tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and courgettes, the salads have suffered despite my constant watering every evening, it’s just been so hot, after such a cold wet spring! Out of interest we lived in New Zealand for several years, you are right, no one had ever heard of stingy nettles, they don’t get them there!!!

    • Wow Susan, I have just caught up on your blog and you make me feel very inadequate! Our lives seem to have lots in common, but my kids are all grown up now and scattered all over the world! One of the few things I miss here is riding racehorses, and windsurfing, but I guess you are well placed for both of those things. Otherwise life in France is all I hoped it would be, and the best thing for me has been the French. Keep up your good work!

      • Oh no I never want to make anyone feel inadequate! But now you have intrigued me, you used to ride racehorses? So did I! I used to ride point to pointing in the UK. So it seems we have even more in common. Life is everything we hoped for too, I have swapped horses for tennis, it is our youngest daughter’s passion, she is only 9, but is taking it very seriously! Today we are off to the Vendee for a tournament!!! Love to chat more x

      • The problem with dads and daughters is what to do together.Boys are much easier with fishing and windsurfing and cycling. My girls wanted to learn to ride when they were in their early teens, and so I agreed as long as I could learn to ride with them! I first sat on a horse when I was 38. Difficult! No brakes and only those two little bits of leather to hold onto. I was told I had to fall off seven times before I could ride, but stopped counting after 25! The girls had friends at school whose father, Robert Alner, was a great p to p rider and trainer, and I started riding work for him when I was reasonably proficient. That lasted 23 years,and I was there when poor Robert paralysed himself in a car accident. We are good friends now, although I am feeling guilty for not being in touch recently. He allowed me to do some schooling with Daryl Jacob and Andrew Thornton, and I am proud of having led them over the training jumps. I was never good enough, and never had a good enough horse for p to p, and envy you for that experience. My girls and I still laugh about our cross country attempts together, and we all loved looking after the horses-wonderful animals. I am tempted to ride again, but having ridden such good animals, anything less is a bit of a come down, and the old knees would probably not bounce as well as before!

  2. Classy feeder!

  3. I think you must have always had Australians who were unobservant or so urban they had never come across stinging nettle. It certainly exists in Australia.

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