Week 42 (16–22 October 2023)


Worry not: this is not about another fall. It's also not about the cry given when a whale is sighted, perhaps from the north-eastern Scottish pronunciation of "whale". It's about fall the season, a.k.a. that time of years when leaves fall from trees, a.k.a. autumn.

Red things. Starting with vines, and now trees (linden and others) are yellowing reddening.

Rain. A LOT OF IT. It was a real épisode cévenol this time, with 250ml rainfall in 2 days. Rivers at the highest I've ever seen them and torrents everywhere, in places where there hadn't even been streams. The well thing that we waterproofed back in March is overflowing.

Power cuts due to the above. Lights suddenly die along with the wifi, and the cuts can last for several hours. But unlike in stormy weather when we turn the router off1 but can still watch movies we've downloaded, without power we can't use our projector. So it's books and candles. There were two this week, the longest lasting two hours.

Getting coldish, we made the first fire in the stove on Wed 18.10. Warms hands and hearts.

Garden (work): some late-season weedwhacking. Clearing brush for planting in the spring, next week we'll spread 20 cm of mulch over the plots to enrich the soil over the winter.

Garden (wildlife): I am happy to announce that I've fully tamed the neighbors' cat Milo. He follows me when I go to the garden and purrs when I scratch him. Also wild boars: they haven't done as much damage in the garden as in other years, Saturdays and Sundays are punctuated by gunshots from hunters.

Garden (food): the very last, sad-looking tomatoes cucumbers eggplants. Now it's green peas leek swiss chard (it's also pumpkin and squash season but we haven't planted any so we get those at the market). But also Sichuan pepper (fragrant! Beware of thorns when harvesting, dry the fruits then remove the small back seeds and keep the flesh—red—for seasoning, it's numbing not spicy, Sichuan cuisine usually pairs it with chili), olives (we missed the green olive harvest, they're almost all black already, picking them next week), walnuts (picking and drying them for next year, and cracking the remaining walnuts from last year), chestnuts.

Chestnuts! We've made a few more roustides since the first. Went to the castagnades in Joyeuses: lots of people, lots of chestnuts and chestnut-related things. Chestnut pies, chestnut soup, a chestnut museum, a chestnut dessert contest, half a dozen roasted chestnuts stalls. Falafel wraps with chicken, ceps, and chestnuts. And art and books and wine, and medieval attractions (trebuchet firing). By now we've tried three varietals: précoce des Vans (locals call them les premières because they're the first to ripen), pourette (the one they often use for chestnut cream) and bouche rouge. There's 65 varietals in the AOC.



We started watching the second season of Our Flag Means Death (currently airing) and we're loving it as much as season 1 so far. We initially picked up this show because Taika Waititi: we never regretted watching anything he's involved with (see also: Reservation Dogs). Plus OFMD season 2 has a great soundtrack.



  1. or it will burn out if lightning falls on the hilltop above the house, attracted by a 19th Virgin Mary statue with a lightning rod on her head