In the first months we came here, we had a lot of rain.
I could barely imagine that we would ever get one day that there would be no rain, or that we would think 'when will we get rain again because the grass is so weird'.
Well, we are currently experiencing nice and warm days: it looks like summer.
In our eyes then, because the temperature is between 23 and 30 degrees and that is for us 'summer' with Dutch values.
No idea how summers will be here.
Since we once heard a statement of 'the grass is doing strange', we assume that the summers here will be drier and warmer than we know.
We will experience it.
The past few days we have been working at the gite again to get the land around it a bit neater. This has not happened for a few years, so there is a lot of work to be done.
Wild blackberries in particular grow everywhere and before you know it, everything is full of these terribly proliferating spines. The fruits are delicious in the fall, for jam and for cakes, but the plant itself is a nightmare.
It is also wonderful to see how the grass has not yet reached the stage of 'acting weird'. (Yes, on some areas where there is a lot of walking or where sporadic grass grows through the clay)
I can climb the lawn mower almost daily to shorten the growing grass again.
Oh well, it has become my hobby and I really enjoy doing it, despite the enormous distance you have to drive, bumpy and not really at a great speed ...
While you are chugging on your lawn mower along all the plant life and trees, you discover everything.
Blossom of an old fruit tree on the property. No idea what it will be.
But it is beautiful.
While driving and cutting across the grassy surface, you suddenly smell a kind of onion every now and then.
As far as I know, no onion has ever been planted on this land, so what should it be?
I went on an investigation and came to the amazing discovery that a lot of wild chives grow on the grassland.
Am I happy with that! I have always searched the supermarket for fresh chives, because I love to use them in dishes that Erik likes because of his diet.(He may not have onion but chives)
Now I have a very large field full to cut fresh.
That made me think, about the huge piece of land on the side of the gite (which we walk over to our own house)
This is on some parts at an angle and there are also parts quite bumpy to go over with the lawn mower. It is simply very much to mow. And I don't feel like having this mowed by a local farmer.
I prefer to see this piece of land transformed by us into something more beautiful than just farm grassland.
Because of the wild chives and the sweet scent of clover and other spicy crops, the idea came to mow a kind of 'winding path' with 'islands' in which wild flowers and herbs are sown.
This way, not only we, but also our future guests, get a nice walk, but also a fragrance, a color and a picking garden.
With these days of warmth, it is great to be outside.
Enjoy the sounds around you, but sometimes you also hear something strange.
I always heard a steam whistle, which blew twice. As I thought, every hour of the day.
I couldn't recognize it and thought, 'Who is using a steam whistle. Is it possible to indicate this before lunchbreaks or something like that (although nobody is working because of the lock-up, so that is strange) or is it a random thing.
I didn't understand it. Now I don't always hear everything sharp so it could actually be anything.
According to Erik it was a bird that called.
But that seemed even stranger to me. A bird? That says 'choo-choo' in a monotone low way and almost 4 times in an hour?
In the end I searched the internet with 'choo choo' and 'bird sounds'.
Yes: Erik was right. It is indeed the sound of a bird. According to Wikipedia, it is a pygmy owl. (Otus)
It will not be possible to discover it through the trees because it seems to be rather small, to a maximum of 25 cm. But its sound is very characteristic.
Have you ever heard of ELO's song "Mr Blue Sky"?
That's kind of like my "steam whistle" that turns out to be an owl.
You THINK you hear something, in my case that steam whistle. But it is in reallity something else.
Just like in the song 'Mr Blue Sky'.
The song features a heavily vocoded voice singing the phrase "Mr. Blue Sky".
A second vocoded segment at the end of the song was often interpreted as "Mr. Blue Sky" but it is actually "Please turn me over" as it is the end of the side, and the listener is being instructed to flip the LP over. (before the CD period)
So, maybe this little bird is calling for something. Maybe he or she wants company. Or is just enjoying the warmth as well, just like I do.
Incidentally, this song was also featured during the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
How unfortunate that this year, 2020, these Olympic Games will not take place because of the corona virus.
Confinement (lock-up) also takes longer in France.
It has been extended until May 11th.
It remains to be seen what will happen in the meantime.
The measures may become less strict in certain regions.
We too are affected by these rules. Tourism is one of the things that is not currently possible.
Together, in all countries, we hope that 'normal life' will gradually return to normal.
Although this will never be like 'pre-corona' again.
Like Mr.Blue Sky, and the choo-choo owl, we will have to listen to the right words.
Even though no one really knows what the right words are to describe what's going on right now.
Sometimes it's also like the weather: suddenly the birds stop singing and if you think it's a Blue Sky gently announcing summer, something ominous like a virus appears.
Then you stand still, hold your breath and you are left wondering what is going to happen.