The winter harvest

Back. So, so wonderful to be back.

And it’s funny how just two weeks away feels much longer when you have endured a huge project elsewhere.

I arrived late last night. Just in time to do one lap in the dark and hope to catch a glimpse of the cat.

I didn’t find her, but who knows where she is when it’s the dusk marauding hour. A tiny bit of anxiety settled about not finding her at all. But thank goodness I was distracted by warming up the house.

Today I found her.

And she had entirely forgotten that she is a family pet. It took hours and I must admit an awful lot of cat food to convince her to come and play rather than just beg.

She did her musical turn while I was plodding past with the rake and in search of more bags. You have to reward her for effort if not for musical accomplishment. 

The cold weather only arrived yesterday. A minus 2C which froze all the water butts and the garden.

The chillis are fine. My goodness they are indestructible. 

And the Black Tuscan kale has grown even in this cooler weather. I’ll pick leaves all winter for stir fries.

I know the frost only arrived yesterday because the leaves where still on the leaves of the decorative mulberry.


Each year I get either a slow fall of leaves over the space of weeks, or this sudden hard frost that finishes the project in hours. 

And even better it wasn’t blowing a gale at the same time. That way I could actually rake up all the leaves from the mulberry without having to chase them all over the farm.

I am stacking all the leaves in the compost bin at the back of the potager this year. I shan’t be repeating the mistake of cramming them into the raised beds and bringing with them a lovely colony of slugs which were hiding in among the leaves. 

It would have been a quick job – except I actually decided to do my loop around the mountain and catch up on news.

And what news. I was tempted to call this post Life in the Plague Village. 

Covid has arrived. 

With a vengeance.

Welcome to the fifth wave.

If the country is boasting 88% vaccine coverage (just checked my app) then the rebels who refuse a jab seem to be mostly found in our part of France. 

The same neighbour who managed to let her horse escape and end up in the pool has also achieved the moniker of Typhoid Mary. She runs the cafe in the village. She caught the virus. So too did her two co-workers. 

But before she got round to finding out why she was so unwell, her children went to the local school and passed on the virus to most of them. 

So the whole village is shut down. Every child in the 31 pupil infants and primary school has to self isolate. So too their parents. And for some reason I haven’t been able to fathom, they are indoors for 17 days.

I rarely venture forth across the valley to the village and I will certainly be giving it a wide steer from now on.

So that’s quite a drama. I have bills to pay and I usually do them on foot around the mountains. But the sawmill owner texted me to warn me that his bill needs to be put in the letter box ‘and don’t even think of knocking on the door – we both caught the virus too’. 


And it’s a shame because he has one of the most fetching front doors in the district.

My booster jab is booked for 15th December and can’t come soon enough.