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Daffodils on February 2!!! That is unheard of but that is exactly what is happening all over the Dordogne. Look around and everywhere you see little flowers popping up. The lawn is littered with tiny white and yellow daisies, daffodils and crocuses are lifting their heads as if to say hello and even the odd tulip has been spotted. Yesterday, I was quite surprised to notice the magnolia was starting to bloom. It is way too early. We really have not had much of a winter at all this year. I can count on the fingers of one hand, the number of days it dipped to below zero (Celsius, that is) here in Journiac. We even had a 16 C / 60F day last week and they are predicting another this coming weekend. What is happening? The local farmers are very worried as this too warm winter will affect their crops, some vines are budding before having been pruned. What if we get a few days of hard frost? The buds will be killed and the fruit will not materialize. The old folk are complaining that it has not been cold enough to kill the germs and thus a lot of diseases will spread. Likewise, they are predicting lots of insects and bugs this summer. Oh dear! What can we do? Not much but admire the beautiful flowers for now.

We did have one big winter storm – it lasted for 36 hours about 3 weeks ago. But that was long enough to uproot an elderly and sickly, rather large, ornamental apple tree in our garden.IMG_20160111_153549-3IMG_20160115_101106-1


This is what remains after Stuart had spent two days clearing the branches and about another 3 rows of logs. It was a very large tree. On the day it happened, it was raining and we had gale force winds, very unusual for Journiac. I remember looking out the lounge window and remarking that the tree looked rather unusual, it seemed closer to the ground. Yes, well, it was, in fact, much closer to the ground. It was on the ground, completely uprooted. Our neighbour, Monsieur Lalot, a cattle farmer and lumberjack, very kindly offered to come help chop the tree up as Stuart’s chainsaw was not powerful enough. He spent several hours, chopping up the tree for us. Then it was Stuart’s job to discard all the branches and start moving the logs into a dry area where we keep the wood. There is so much wood. Just some huge logs left now that will need maneuvering off the lawn in the next few days.