Posted by: kathandroger | July 30, 2017

Ratatouille, Rats and wrecked specs.

All of a sudden the garden is in full production. The tomatoes are large and ripening well, and this year we have no sign of the dreaded blight. I discussed the problem with one of the locals last year and he dismissed me as an English idiot when I explained that we did water the plants by a sprayer. His were only watered by a perforated hose laid on the ground, and he never gets the dreaded malady. My contrary mind thought this was all nonsense, as rain comes from above, doesn’t it? The explanation was provided by one of our guests, a gardener, who explained that rain water picks up various bugs as it penetrated the soil, and then when we water from the well, they are transferred to the plants. Sounds reasonable to me, so we water from the special hose and all seems well. The aubergines are in the tomato row, and we have had some whoppers.IMG_3803The garden helper was very pleased with herself.

Ratatouille is one of our favourite things to eat, especially in midwinter, and we, or rather, Kath, makes oodles of it at this time of year. With the ever reliable and numerous courgettes, and the tons of toms, the aubergines and chillies add the little bit of piquancy that we love. We will have to be a bit more vigilante in the garden in the next few weeks. The badger came in and ate all our sweetcorn last year, and I know he is still around by the new hole he has dug outside our neighbours’ house. And yesterday a young guest, Laurie, rushed in to tell me that the goat was in the garden and was that all right? Bloody Moins Dix had jumped the fence and had eaten some of the beans and was tucking into the petunias. He was not flavour of the month when I had to repair the fence just as night fell.

The other animal bent on destruction in Polly. Here are the remains of my favourite reading glassed which I found on the floor a couple of days ago.IMG_3804I reckon to be able to fix most things, but sometimes defeat has to be admitted!

The sheep and goat drink from a series of containers in the field which I fill from the well water via a hose from the well. As they drink, the level of the water goes down and any animal falling in has problems getting out again. Sadly we have found the odd toad that has succumbed, and several newts, but yesterday I was shocked to find three dead rats in the largest tub. IMG_3805Few of us like rats, and I am with the majority, but it was sad to see. I imagine that Daddy rat may have jumped in first and the others followed; or perhaps some sort of rescue party was organised. Rats can swim well I am told, and it must have been a slow and horrible ending for them. The dog was intrigued and took one off for further inspection, but I was upset, and will try and fix some sort of escape mechanism in the troughs for future visits. Let’s try to love all animals!


  1. As a vegetable gardener of more than 40 years both in England (Midlands) and now in the south of Dept 86 I understood that blight occurs when there is a particular combination of humidity and temperatures. Over the years we have suffered from this and lost both potato and tomato crops. We normally spray with Bordeaux mixture, as do the local gardeners, a couple of times at 10 day intervals. This year our weather conditions have been such that we have not needed to do this. Another blessing this year – we have not had an infestation of doryphores ( the dreaded Colorado beetle). Helen in France

    • Thanks for the advice Helen. I reckon gardening is more luck than judgement!

  2. For your escape mechanism from the water trough use a plank covered with some rough textured geotextile. You need to have something little creatures can grip on to, and not too steep as they sometimes don’t have the strength to climb out.

    • Thanks Susan, have installed a fine chicken wire ladder!

  3. Poor little rats, a horrible end as you say.
    I recently read a lovely novel called “the little Paris bookshop” which was essentially a love story based on a canal boat journey. In one of the chapters a young deer falls into the canal and drowns. I don’t know how often that might happen but the description of the hapless creature’s struggle and inability to accept help still haunts me.
    (It was still a very nice book, though.)

    • The same nearly happened to our new pup when she fell into the swimming pool. Luckily I was there and managed to pull her out! Are you getting a new dog soon? Roger.

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