Friday, 14 September 2012

Greening up again

This last week we've had rain. Not huge torrential downpours, but enough 'proper' rain to allow the vegetation to green up just a little before Autumn begins in earnest.
desiccated corn field not far from the house
We hadn't had any rain since the end of July. Week after week we had mostly hot sunny weather --including a heatwave where temperatures went up to 41C-- interspersed with the odd grey day which didn't produce any rain. The plants suffered and water restrictions came into force. Our grass stopped growing and turned brown and sere. In fact, today we mowed the grass [only in the lushest areas] for the first time in 7 weeks.
dried-out ear of corn
Crops have suffered--round us we saw corn [maize] fields bleaching before our eyes until you couldn't spot even a speck of green. Corn needs quite a bit of water so it was very unhappy in the drought. The dried-out ears in the fields looked more like the decorative bunches of Indian corn you see in the US.
Indian corn hanging by our door
We've had to keep a close eye on our pots as well as our young fruit trees and water them regularly. The rest of our plants have had to just take it on the chin. However, our mini-sunflowers have flowered well. On a whim we had bought a couple of packets of seed in the supermarket and sowed them into pots. The results have been better than we expected and given us late summer colour.
bees making good use of our mini-sunflowers
The sun is back and the temperature is nice this afternoon, but this morning it was chilly. We've seen bottles of Bernache from the grape harvest in the south appearing in the supermarket. A sure sign Autumn is on its way.

14 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
Although hot sunny days throughout the summer are most enjoyable, they do take their toll on the landscape. Farmers here in Hungary have also been desperate for rain for some time now and the days here still continue to be warm with very little rain.

Your sunflowers look very jolly indeed. Yes, Autumn shall soon be with us in earnest, but those big yellow faces on your sunflowers will brighten up any day!

the fly in the web said...

The bernache and chestnut fairs can't be far away....

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance - with the sunflowers and the warm sunny weather forecast for the weekend it looks as if we shall hang on to summer for a little while yet.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fly - Just round the corner ... vendange hasn't started here yet though. We bought a bottle of red bernache in the supermarket--just couldn't resist. But it's nowhere near as nice as our local [Loire] stuff!

Tim said...

We saw a sign just outside Clion sur Indre "La Bernache est ici" just last weekend!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Tim - it's yummy stuff :-)

Perpetua said...

Glad you've finally had some rain down there. Will it be enough to save the maize crop? No vendage here, but the apples are falling audibly now. :-)

Vera said...

It is the same here, everything brown and dried off with no rain for many weeks. A bit worried about the grazing for winter as there is hardly any green on the fields at all. Not to worry, rain will turn up sometime. And at least we have a barn full of hay to help us through.
Lovely sunflowers.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - no the maize far too far gone:- at least in the fields directly round us. Some in the valley looks to have suffered marginally less.
We have no apples at all on our mature tree this year :-( and the new tree-a Melrose-is still too young.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vera - I can imagine that the state of the pasture for winter grazing is a worry.
Having not had rain for ages we will probably end up getting far more than we'd ever when the weather finally changes!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Slowly but surely it is starting to green up here as well and our grass has just been cut for the first time in months. You shared some lovely photos.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

How lucky can you get, our lawn looks like a fire has swept over it. No sign of rain here for the moment. Keep well Diane

Niall & Antoinette said...

@LindyLou - it started to improve a little but didn't get enough rain. thanks!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - ours is still looking 'fried'. Since we posted we've had no further rain.