Our French Country Home

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Garlic, sunflowers, maize and wheat

It's a very busy time for the farmers at the moment. Our friends who own the garlic farm have finished harvesting their garlic and it has all been suspended on the rafters of their open barn or hangar to dry sufficiently for making the tresses to be sold to locals and visitors alike at the market. The work involved in cleaning each bulb, plaiting 20 of them into a good, fat tress and then hawking them around to all the local markets, is incredible.

We have had a hot, dry month - good for the garlic harvest and then fortunately in the last week a couple of good downpours that has meant the maize is growing in leaps and bounds. The sunflowers are just beginning to flower and in a couple of weeks the fields will be picture-perfect for taking those post-card type photographs that the south-west is famous for. The wheat and barley is truly golden and ready for harvesting during next week. The lanes and back roads will become busy with heavy farm machinery and we will have to drive with the expectation of turning corners on tiny back road and coming face to face with a monstrous combine harvester.

Our own garden is producing well at the moment; we are eating potatoes, beans, beetroot, cucumbers, artichoke, brocolli, carrots and lettuce. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen and when they do we will have plenty. The melons and the cucumbers are doing well in the greenhouse. The flowers and the lawn aren't looking so good having suffered badly in the drought of the last month and I can't bring myself to use a lot of water on them. The biting insects are feeding off us humans again - the usual summer complaint.

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