All Posts · Garden in the meadow · The Barn


No rain today. The clouds scudded past all too quickly. Its been almost two and a half months with all but three days of rain. We are desert. The air is filled with choking dust from the combine harvesters. The river near our home is dry and our farming neighbour has to travel further every few weeks to fill his water tanks for the cattle.

We luckily saved rain water over winter. But even these barrels are now finished and the geese and ducks are given a limited few inches of water to preen in. No floating and diving about now allowed in this heat. We must all nurture our water supplies. The council has placed a hose pipe ban and our vegetable gardens are wilting. Luckily our tomatoes are under an oak tree. The shade is helping and the plants are somehow flourishing.

The sun here is so hot, washing gets bleached where it hangs over the line. An annoying yellow mark. I try to bring the clothes in by mid morning or at least hang some of them in a shaded area.

But the weeds are thriving. An endless onslaught by wild nature on our efforts to tame her. We have friends arriving from England next week. I had hoped to present them with an idyllic French barn, with lavender and roses in tubs, picket fence and hanging baskets. Instead we have a building site, piles of earth now topped with thistles and brambles and a tangle of overgrown straw like grass surrounding our home. Deadline looming, we are blitzing it. Today I completed mowing everywhere and shearing down the worst weed areas. The vegetable garden grass banks were so overgrown I had to take a scythe to it.

If you have never had to scythe down dry grass, I can tell you it’s extremely hard work. It’s also quite dangerous. Two years ago I stabbed both my feet. Over enthusiasm not recommended. This time round I took it slower and kept my sweeping cuts more controlled. It’s the only way to cut through the tangled mass of grass stems, wild roses and tough weed stalks.

Long term we are levelling these banks for mowing. Hand cutting not feasible as I get older. They look pretty in spring with sways of white flowers but come August it turns to an overgrown mess if you have no time to keep cutting it back.

A quick pause to grab cold water, I found two lizards sitting in our washing up bowl, seeking some shade. Adding a little water, I left them to cool off till evening.

Back to the mowing, I finished at sunset, raking the defeated grass into a giant haystack. It looked sort of ok. A final rake to clean up and then that annoying fight with the electric cables getting into knots as you try to reel them back in.

Next time I am using my new Briggs and Stratton petrol mower. Good enough for Wimbledon, good enough for French meadow. We WILL have stripes! This mower is awkward, quite heavy even though it’s small and I hate rotary blades. They rip at the grass. Glorified strimmers. In fact I could do with a tiny mower just to deal with the banks. Might be like mowing with a teaspoon but at least it’s manouverable.

And tomorrow? Well as Scarlet would say…It’s another day. Probably another very hot day too. 😦

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