Hibernation is over!

Time goes fast! It has been about five months already since we moved here.

I have never spent a winter in as mild climate and yet never felt as cold as this year. Trouble is, that houses are built to protect from the heat rather than from the cold. During the very coldest period in early February, we were luckily in Bordeaux. The house was without any heating for two weeks, and when we returned, it was so cold that even inside the house we could see the steam coming out when breathing!

It took us almost a week to get the house heated to somewhat bearable temperature. I was very happy that I took enough winter clothing with me, included two pairs of leg warmers. One pair for the legs and other for the arms 🙂

Naturally this winter was the coldest in years in this area of France…

We have burned 11 cubic meters of wood in the fireplace, that being our only source of heating. By the way, as a scandinavian, it feels quite odd that the most common wood to burn here is oak…

People (including us) have suffered from burst water pipes and lot of plants outside got damaged during the couple weeks of cold. The weather this winter has been very popular subject in the news and in peoples discussions 🙂

Excellent thing is that winter here is very short. Already in late February we had over 20 degrees to remind us why we came here in the first place. It is now mid March and the last week was very hot! The whole life changed over one night. It is difficult to describe how wonderful it felt when we got the heat! The body and the soul just soaked in the warmth from the sun and it felt like something was giggling inside 🙂

As in every spring in any country, one gets burning urge to build and grow something and energy level increases tremendously. We started with taking down the curtains from the conservatory to be washed and that I could clean the windows. It might sound like a small thing, but I promise, it wasn’t! There are 20 curtains and 14 two meter high and 1.5 meter wide windows in there. Now the curtains are washed and almost all windows cleaned from the inside. To get them cleaned from the outside is going to be a nice challenge, since we don’t have a ladder high enough so we need to assemble some kind of equipment to be able to reach the highs…sometime later on.

Next in the plan was to make a vegetable garden. Charlie spent a day digging and turning the earth in the garden. The earth here is wonderful, it is very rich and airy and you can grow almost anything here.

The day after Charlie had made the veggie bed, there were lot of dig holes all over it. It was probably wild boars that have been looking for something to eat. Charlie had to build a fence around the area to protect our coming harvest from any beasts 🙂 Next challenge will be to try to protect the plants from insects and more importantly from the “escargot”, garden snails, which are plenty here. The kind that people eat with garlic 🙂 We have been collected eggshells to be crushed and sprinkled around the plants, since I read somewhere that the snails can’t cross that kind of sharp material. We’ll see…

We haven’t planted anything out yet, since there might still be cold nights ahead, but the conservatory is full of pots with pre-planted veggies. Thanks goes to Charlie’s parents, who sent us large variety of seeds. There are now radish, couchette, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, leek and three types of lettuce growing nicely, waiting to be transferred outside when the temperature allows it.

Food is on the way 🙂