Walls

Walls

We’re making progress repairing the walls of the restanques below the house. Here are ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of the first effort. It’s hot work, especially later in the morning when the sun is overhead. Edward and I drink litres of water. There hasn’t been a drop of rain for 2 months & even deep-rooted vegetation is beginning to dry...
Bats and boar

Bats and boar

It looks like this large wild boar, perhaps 80 kgs, with impressive tusks has frightened off the family of pigs with five piglets, or marcassins (with the stripes on their flanks). He regularly comes at about ten o’clock at night and hoovers up every bit of fruit-fall we’ve gathered from our fruit trees and put out for him. The second photo shows a white blob against the black sky which is either a bat, presumably coming in drink, or maybe to try its chances at the fruit too, or perhaps a moth.    ...
Spraying against the olive fruit fly

Spraying against the olive fruit fly

We’ve started the spraying operation much earlier this year to stop the fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae, or Dacus oleae) laying her eggs in the olives. The spray is a suspension of fine clay powder (between .5 to 1.5 microns) which covers the fruit so that when la mouche turns up she finds a film of clay on the olive which sticks to her legs, so she flies away. The treatment is as effective as chemical spray but of course clay is inert, so biologically acceptable. After harvest, it is easily washed off before pressing. For many years, the treatment has been widely used for the same reasons against the pear and apple fruit flies, and, once the French olive growers association, AFIDOL, finally authorised its use on olives two years ago, they’ve been pushing everyone to use it – because it’s ‘bio’. However, the agricultural co-op where we bought ours say they’re not selling much to anyone else, so it seems olive growers are sticking to chemicals: perhaps on the “stay with what you’re used to” principle. Behind Edward, there is a view of the olive trees in the ‘Vallon’ almost up to the foot of the...
Delicious dishes in the area

Delicious dishes in the area

There are some mouth-watering shell-fish dishes to be found in restaurants near here. The oysters are from from Bouzigues, a little port near Montpelier where you can sit in the restaurant overlooking the beds where the oysters and mussels come from, and they are perfect with Picpoul de Pinet, a dry white wine from the same area. The scallops can be found in the “Oursinado”, a fish restaurant near le Pradet outside Toulon, where you eat under shady pine trees and listen to the cicadas and the sea breaking on the rocks below. The lobster dish is at the “L’Anse de Port Cros”, under palm trees in the port of a charming little island an hour’s boat-ride off the coast – no cars are allowed and it’s like spending the afternoon in the Caribbean. And the bouillabaisse is the traditional fish soup, delicious with white wine or rosé, at “Le Flore” in the Port...

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