More garden progress

Hallelujah for the rain.  It's not often I say that, but having just laid some extraordinarily expensive turf, I've been mighty pleased to see it. Two weeks after laying the instant lawn, it's rooted nicely, is even more green, and looking just lovely.  Looking around us, I fear it's the last time our lawn will ever be weed free... We share a boundary with a bona fide meadow.  None of this wildflowers from a seed packet stuff - straight up meadow that maintains its flora (and fauna) from self-seeded buttercup, cow parsely, dandelion et al, all helped along by horse muck from when our cheval chums come to stay.

The hard landscaping seems to be taking forever - but that maybe because we decided to DIY with a solitary spade & shovel, rather than get in the contractors.  It's a total about-face from when we were cash rich and time poor in the city.  But it's hugely satisfying to see it take shape.  The base for the hot tub is in, as is most of the retaining wall for the sheltered seating area round the BBQ-come-fire-pit.  Today's project is finishing the wall and laying the slabs, while the weather is good.  Tomorrow forecast to rain, so we'll be having the fun of man-handling the hot-tub into position, in the rain.

Walking: Les Fardelay loop

The ski season is over, and it's time to dust off the walking boots.  After 30 years, mine are finally broken in and really quite comfy.  They look like museum pieces, and when I check out this seasons latest boots in the shops in town, I realise just how much lighter modern boots are.  But mine are not yet worn out, and I'm oddly fond of them.

We have some friends from London staying this week, and today we figured we'd brave the "pluie éparses" (scattered showers) and get out there.  Our best walking books are in French, but happily they come with maps, so we get a French lesson to boot.  

Parking the car in Salvangy, by the ski lifts, we walked along the D29 road towards Cascades de Rouget, following the left turn up the hill.  There are some beautiful views, looking down over the patchwork of Salvangy's roofs.  The road soon runs out and turns into footpath, running further up the hill.  Emphasis on the word up.  The first half of this walk is upwards, ascending 254m in about 2km.  Hard work for a out of shape townie like me...  but this is how change happens & I get fitter!  And we're rewarded though, with stunning views across the valley to the Cascade de Rouget.

At La Célière, we turn right on to the path signposted down to Les Fardellay.  Surface tree roots form natural steps down the hill through the forest, and in time the path emerges into open pasture.  The spring meadow is beautiful, and I want to learn more about the flowers. Swathes of white umbellifers, that I initially think are bullwort, turn out on closer inspection, to be cow parsley.  I've gathered a few dried seed heads, thinking they might make for an interesting art project later.

A bridge took us over a raging Giffre river.  At this time of year it's running really full and fast. Then it's through the meadow to meet up the with road by Les Fardellay chalets, and on to the Cascade de Rouget.  The sheer power of the water crashing over the rock is breathtaking, no matter how many times I see it.  We got wetter at the waterfall than we did anywhere else on the trail - those pluies were happily quite éparses.  From there it was gentle down hill back through the forest to Salvangy to pick up the car.  

Our tech tools tell us it took about 3 hours, we covered 6.5km, climbed 250m, and took about 15,000 steps.  None too shabby for a damp Monday.

 

Neighbours

This living in the country lark brings us a changing landscape everyday. Last month, we woke up to discover a couple of horses in the field next door door. They belong to some folks who live a few doors down from us, and apparently they move around various vacant plots to keep the weeds down. They were ruthlessly efficient weed-munching machines in the few days they were next door to us.  

At the beginning of this week, we figured something else was afoot, as the farmer was adjusting fences in the field just up the lane from us. A couple of hours later, a flock of sheep came obediently trotting up the lane, following the human leader banging a tub of sheep nuts.

And today, a herd of cows arrived in the field opposite.  Pretty brown and white ones, with horns. I'm afraid my cow identification skills are limited. I did spot that one of them though, was a bull. Distinctively different undercarriage.  Thankfully, these cows don't have any bells on them... which is just as well, as those cow-bells are surprisingly noisy. We can hear the herd on the hill above us clearly enough.

I'm kinda hoping we get some goats next...

(and yes, the garden is still a work in progress)

Garden progress

The snow has melted down in the valley and we're now getting stuck into the garden. When I say we, obviously I mean Sid for the digging marathon. I've been plant shopping :). Fruit trees have been procured and will soon be planted in the garden, as soon as the torrential rain stops. There's peach, cherry, apricot & fig - it's a mini-orchard.  The dogwood hedge has been planted, and is slowly coming to life with new green leaves.  

Seeds for the veg patch have germinated, and we're gently hardening them off before planting out in May. The nice lady at the local nursery says nothing goes in before 15th May. It's tempting to do it now, but I'm taking her advice.  

And plans are being sketched with our garden designer friend Kathy for the garden layout and planting scheme.  There's going to be lawn in front of the terrace, some paving to a curved seating circle sunk in to the bank, and a sunken fire-pit-come-BBQ.  Now what to do with the enormous rocks that are coming out of the ground...?

Septi-Contest 2016

The Samoëns lifts closed today (although Flaine stays opens for another week).  It's the first time we've been here for Septi-Contest - the end of the season jollities - so although we weren't skiing, we did drive up the hill to enjoy the fun.  

A large swimming pool has been constructed (using snow and a pool liner) at the bottom of the main access route coming off the Vercland bubble lift.  And the brave (crazy) souls partaking in the event, ski down the slope as fast as they can, and launch themselves on the surface of the water, with the aim of water-skiing safely to the other side.  Although for some, there's an alternative approach of creating the biggest entry splash possible.  Having paid close attention for an hour or two, we can report that the larger the splash, the greater the amusement (the audience get wet) but the less likely the contender is to water ski the full distance to the other side of the pool.  And there's also a special section for ski-born vehicles... even bigger splashes.

The best food of the season (spit roasted pork baps), beers and some banging tunes.  Top stuff for Saturday afternoon in April.  Even the sun came out in the end.  The Sidster studied the techniques closely, so I fear next year, he may be inclined to enter!