Jump from Spring into Winter and back to Spring again


Haven't made a blog for a while. Not that I didn't have the time, but the long winter cold came in after a few warm days and the prospect of a good start to this year.

However, nothing turned out to be true: after the early spring heat, the cold returned with severe frosts in the night, and France was thrown into a third lockdown.

Even before the cold and the lockdown arrived, we decided to take a day off and get to know the area further.

We drove including the dog and a picnic to the adjacent department of the Orne.

It is certainly nice to see something different than the supermarket, hardware store or garden center.

As soon as we crossed the department boundary, the environment changed already. We spotted beautiful forests, beautiful country houses and a real castle on the way.

It was still early in the year, so there was a breath of fresh air, though.

We brought seats with us, and putting it down in the shelter of the car was doable. The sandwiches tasted good!

I really like the really old signage. So authentic. So French.

What is really French: a castle! We came across a very nice one: Chateau d'O in Mortree

The castle dates back to the 15th century and its former lord was called 'O' (How short do you want your name)

I later read on the internet that this castle is accessible for free in the month of August.

The current owner family still lives there and is happy to give a (limited) tour for a small voluntary contribution afterwards.

We definitely want to do this!

While driving around, through beautiful forests (Parc National Normandie), we came across another beautiful piece of nature.

We saw small lakes and beautiful trees.

We were in Le Champ de la Pierre.

According to the internet a small commune (about 40 inhabitants) where annual medival performances are given.

I must say: it also breathes the Middle Ages. Really beautiful. It dates back to the 16th century!

The lakes were once created by excavations and because of the iron ore that is in the ground.

That is why you will also find the historic 'Le Forges' (1572) that is a kind of blast furnace from the Middle Ages. Of course no longer in use, but can be viewed.

The remainder are the lakes and the beautiful nature, where you can completely relax.

The park is beautifully maintained.

In good spirits, we thought it would be wonderful to enter the spring afterwards.

Nothing could be further from the truth: a severe cold (in France called the 'black frost') set in. This was disastrous for many vineyards across France. (And also for my tomato plants that have already been placed outside ...)

Time for us to sit in the kitchen by the wood stove. It has almost become a ritual during cold winter days. Especially because the wood-burning stove in the living room is less effective and we don't feel like smoke in the house. In the coming summer (which will surely come anyway) we will check the wood-burning stove in the living room and replace it if necessary.

In the meantime, we have also entered the third lockdown for Covid. We are already getting used to it and are no longer surprised.

But it does have consequences for the bookings in the gite: guests from the Netherlands cannot come and the bookings are postponed to later this year.

And the weather does not really give the opportunity to go around the gite.

Except for two days when I was finally able to mow the fields again.

But there is still painting to be done, some things to be adjusted, and not unimportantly: the "farmer's golf£ must be realized.

But it is SO cold and absolutely unattractive to be busy right now.

If I can believe everything, it has not been so bad in France with the weather in the last 30 years. We have that again ...


Now we have finally arrived in the month of May.

Spring seems to be coming. Finally!

The temperature is still too low for the time of the year.

But the birds chirp, fly back and forth to make nests.

And I check whether all plants and trees are awakening from their hibernation.

Every time they make an attempt, night frost comes again ...

The construction of the herb garden is progressing, although I am not yet placing everything in the vegetable garden. Under glass, the yellow butter beans and other vegetables are waiting to grow out of their pots.

And yes: the first blossom is already coming!

I look forward to warm summer days and happy guests.


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