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lundi 27 avril 2015


I've been told dozens of time that too much information kills information .
Even though this statement comes from reliable and experienced people,
I can't help thinking some day I may come across the exception that
proves the rule.

So let's go back to about two weeks ago. You remember my garlicky invaders,don't you ? And you remember how lax and lenient I had decided
to be with those invasive new-comers. Yet, enough is enough !
Taking advantage of my easy-going temper, they started making 
themselves comfortable : once their headquarters set up on the west
side, they headed off to the other three cardinal points ! Overnight
their legions took power and reigned over the whole garden.
The camelias and the hydrangeas which had already gone through
tougher times (  2013 countless storms) started turning stunted !

I had to trigger plan W ( W stands for " weeding " in my own gardening

Mr Google had told me elbow grease was the only solution.Just
thinking about it gave me the creeps. Digging out all those
sneaky trouble-makers meant squatting and holding the trowel for 
hours, then blisters, painful knees, backache , in short all the little
acheys endured by budding gardeners.

Well, I thought after all wild garlic already existed before Mr Google
dominated the world. Secretly praying for an easy way out, I asked a 
neighbour of mine for wise advice. He waved out a bottle of strong
weedkiller and warned me :
" You'd better rush to the garden center, cause there are just a few left
and the product will soon be recalled ! Damn ! Those ecofreaks are
just sermonizers !! ( too rude to tell you the rest ...)

I came back home none the wiser. While browsing through gardening 
reviews, I came across an old wives'cure  to kill weeds : a mixture
of boiling water and spirit vinegar.
Considering the extent of the damage, all the nearby shops would 
go out of stock if I went on a spirit vinegar binge !!

While I was weighing the pros and cons of all those hit-and-miss
suggestions, the wild garlic was having the time of its life ! I had already wasted  too much time on my search of information !

Eventually I came back to square one, rolled up my sleeves and dug out all the garlic !! I took me three days but what's done is done !

A few days later ... long carrot-leaf like stems were growing everywhere.
Guess what ! Wild carrots !! Too late for April Fool's Day trick !!
Just carrot tops swaying proudly all over my once spick and pan
The neighbour came out of the blue, saw the disaster, smiled and said:

" Well, wild carrots and wild garlic, that's a hearty meal you should treat
your green friends to ! "

I seemed I could hear : " A word to the wise is enough " ...

lundi 20 avril 2015


If you browse through a travel brochure of Cap Sizun ( Audierne is the jewel of this region), you'll see that there are countless numbers of footpaths, bridle ways and cycle tracks. For nature-lovers it's Heaven on Earth !
Off season we enjoy taking the dogs along a hiking path known as the coastal or smugglers'footpath. The dogs can frolic ,and we can breathe the beauty of the ocean, when it is raging as well as when it is as smooth as a millpond.
But now school holidays are on and city dwellers have swapped their town suits for casual wear. They are striding along the seashore, cells up, ready to take photos of the most impressive wave, the biggest seagull, the flashiest heather. So we make way for those poor creatures deprived of fresh air all year long ( I'm a bit derisive, aren't I ?).
Thus, we prefer to shelter our walks in the nearby wood. It's totally different but a good place for daydreaming, anyway.
So, the other day we were walking in the wood, at a relaxed pace when suddenly we could hear a bird flapping its wings rather oddly. We stopped dead and pricked up our ears to locate it. We felt we were quite close to it, so we pussyfooted till we caught sight of it : a baby tit ! It didn't fly away when it saw us, but kept flapping its wings more desperately, instead !!
We realized its head was stuck in the bark of a tree. It must have dug its beak too deep into the trunk to get some seeds or a worm, and then got unable to release itself.
My husband tried to pull it out gently, in vain. For a split second we felt helpless. Leaving that poor tit in such a trap meant sentencing it to death :
out of question for the two animal-lovers we are !
Fortunately my husband always has a pocket-knife with him. He took it and little by little managed to widen the split in which the poor birdie was 
"jailed ". Pieces of bark went loose and then... a last flapping of wings, a thankful twitter and our tit flew away to a safest place.

We've never taken part in a sea or mountain rescue, but yet, now we have one more string to our bow : forest rescuer !

Stable-lad, budding gardener, why not forest warden now ?

lundi 13 avril 2015


As I told you a while ago, I have swapped my cleaning lady outfit for a budding gardener one. Well, when I used the phrase " budding gardener "
I must admit that I had overrated my know-how...
After reading the uplifting story I 'll tell you now, you'll probably think 
I am a right noob !!

I was bred and lived in Paris for over fifty years and the only greenery islands I knew were the public gardens with their railings, their " keep off the grass "
cooling signs, their beautifully manicured flowerbeds and their benches so much in demand when the first rays of sun let their golden drops warm the

Then you can easily imagine my joy and my amazement when we settled down here. Wherever I lay my eyes, it's green, I mean countless shades of green ( light, dark, apple,sage,..). I've been raving over the least wild flower,the tiniest bud, the youngest shoot, in short I'm keen as mustard as soon as Spring comes !

Last week I noticed the grass on the west side was getting greener and brighter. I had a closer look and I could see minute white buds. Which flowers were about to come out ? White bluebells ? I decided to be patient and let Mother Nature take its course. A few days later I thought my patience had been rewarded. White flowers on long grass-like stems were blooming in the garden. The west side was just carpeted in white flowers. A breathtaking 
view !!
I was over the moon ! Poor me !! What short-lived happiness !!
When I got closer to those pretty flowers, they revealed their true nature.. I knelt down to smell them and I got a pungent, garlicky whiff !!
A bit disappointed and puzzled, I went back home to ask Mr Google for help.
A few clicks later, the verdict was in :

" Wild garlic. An invasive species reproducing prolifically from underground bulbs ".

The only non-chemical option suggested to get rid of them was to remove all bulbs with hand fork or a trowel !!

Considering the army of invaders, I decided to throw the towel ( and the 
trowel, as well) and make do with the breath of garlic breeze. After all, the kitchen windows overlook my so-called white bluebells and their smell will match the one of bay leaves, parsley and thyme I use a lot to conceal my
poor talents as a cook !


lundi 6 avril 2015


All throughout the previous chapters you have followed the twists and turns of my life in the Far-West, and my babysteps as a gardener and a stable lad, as well. I hope you didn't get tired of all those girlish stories.
Anyway, this is my new life and I do enjoy it.

As one of my pupils told me some time ago : " I have always thought that with your style of dress when teaching in Paris, it was a foregone
conclusion : sooner or later you would achieve your dream and become a
cow-girl !". Then he added gallantly : " In those days I only saw your glamorous side. " ( For a split second the phrase " in those days " puzzled
me but then I remembered French pupils often confuse " these " and " those",
so no need to mull over it !).

I must admit that I could count on one hand the number of times I wore a skirt or a dress at work. Were trousers more convenient ? Sure they were, but above all they were the symbol of a carefree way of life.
I belong to a generation of girls who all throughout their school-years were not allowed to wear trousers. We were doomed to Peter Pan collar blouses and pleated skirts, winter and summer alike.So, when we bade farewell to our grammar school "wardrobe mistresses ", most of us raided the nearby trendy shops and filled up our closets with all sorts of slacks : leotards, pirate pants,hipsters, flared trousers, bermuda shorts and so on.. Skirst and dresses were shelved.

I remember the first time I put on a dress and stiletto heels again ( was for my wedding, actually), I felt awkward and when entering the ballroom I had to pay attention to  my gait not to look like John Wayne ( especially in the film :
The man who shot Liberty Valance) bursting into the saloon of a wild west city to eliminate a gang of outlaws.
When I opened my clutch bag to take a hanky ( remember, it was my wedding, so a moment full of emotion and tears of joy), my husband whispered in my ear : " Take it easy, Lucky Luke, don't draw right now, everything will be allright !". I had such a fit of giggles that I nearly lost my balance. I realized that laughing when in 4-inch heels is rather risky, not to say quite impossible . That's when I decided that I would wear flat shoes for the rest of my life because I love laughing, and after all :

Whatever happens, laughter is the best medicine, isn't it ?