Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Watering, logs and bees.

Upon his watering mission last night, Lester found the plod round the property just too much. Having planted seventeen fruit trees all about the place, I said he would have trouble keeping up with the watering. "Make an orchard" I said, "by putting them in a random clump as nature would have intented. That'll make the watering easier" which seemed a logical solution to where to plant our trees.
"I want them in straight lines...." he said in his 'I am the chief planter around here' voice which he is using a lot of late. "And I want them around the edge of the property" he added.
"Yes but it will make the watering harder. Can't you put them all together in a group?"
"No."


And thus was my prophecy proved correct last night as he trundled the water bucket from tree to tree. Out front there are nine edging the perimeter: 2 peach, 2 apricot, 2 Pear, 3 plum. By the oak out back: 2 peach, 2 apricot. By the bridge: 2 apple, 1 cherry, 1 unknown. It is quite a walk for him. But he found a solution for the furthest ones: he got the water from the Adour. "It's full of minerals and things" he said, "better than tap water. It comes down off the Pyrenees so it must be good". And yes, it is, only I know my husband well enough to expect the news that sometime soon that she has taken away the bucket and that she has made him have wet feet. Only I hope he is careful, I wouldn't like to see him floating off down the Adour. She is a fast and busy river, and would be eager to have a passenger.

Already he is eyeing up the pile of logs captured by the bridge support and is making plans as to how he can retrieve them, one of which is wading across to them and manhandling them back to dry land. I smile and say "What a good idea, but wouldn't it be better to get a blow-up boat or something so you can row across", not wanting to put him off his gung-ho, 'man-provider' mode while all the while secretly hoping that the French will come and tidy up the bridge themselves. Only Lester rarely does anything at Labartere without needing my help, so it is a distinct possibility that moi will be captured into a retrieval of logs adventure sometime during 2009, hopefully when the Adour is in her sleepy state of summertime laziness. Or perhaps he might drop the idea all together, which will be even better!

As for the trees: if we manage to get half of them to survive then we will consider it a bonus. We are organically minded. Unfortunately, this area is rife with humungous bugs. They are big. And voracious. I am not sure we can stay organic, this land may not let us, but we will wait and see on that.

On inspection of the trees, I find myself hugging them and telling them to "hang on in there, we will do our best to look after you". I may, or may not, be losing the plot! Our French neighbours might be thinking the same as they see me hugging, and talking to, our little trees.

But then they may become even more concerned when we get the bee keeping project under way. The beehives will be out by the woodland on the front field and there is no way that we are going to manage to look after them without all the neighbourhood knowing about it. Seeing us walking about in veiled white overalls might just push our neighbours over the edge with us! But the whole bee-keeping project might be put off until later on in the year: apparently bees don't like lawn mowers which I presume also includes tractors, and we don't want Monsieur Prunet-Foch to be stung to pieces while he is lifting off his harvest from our fields in June. Swatting away at the bees while they are telling him to "**** away from our flight paths" will possibly have him fetching up, tractor and all, in the Adour. Which will make her happy as she will then have a passenger to play with, plus a bit of mechanical equipment as well.

First gnat bite. First bramble scratch. First visit from the Gendarmerie. Ooh la la!