It's May already. Almost one year since we first arrived here, hot and dusty with a van crammed full of tools, bedding, clothes and ourselves.

Spring here has taken on more familiar hues of cloud filled skies and blue light just before rain. Everywhere is washed clean and tracks are filled with puddles. Late frosts have burnt off new fig leaves, peach blossom and entire vineyards have lost the possibility of this years vendanges. Trees have been left patchy, half their leaves crisp and broken. Our garden was not unscathed but I'm hoping for a long indian summer season for plants sown now to catch up and bear fruit before the end of the season. All was not lost, we picked all our frost damaged roses and made rose syrup with the petals.

There is so much to forage at this time of year: Wild garlic flowers for salads and risottoes, the smell deceptively floral but their taste pure garlic. Nettles for fertiliser for the garden and some pesto and soups. Little L was surprisingly enthusiatic picking them in the rain in a raincoat and ski gloves. Dandelion leaves for astringent salads, chickweed and cleavers for a morning tisane tonic.

Little I and I spent a day herding goats and sheep as part of their Transhumances, their migration toward summer grazing. An exhausting day of directing them along the paths and roads with the weight of Little I on my back, screeching with delight at all of the noisier and more frantic moments.

My sister and her son visited. We celebrated Easter together and with firends on the hill overlooking the village and had a lucky tour of the chapel with it's rare depictions of the Virgin Mary pregnant with Jesus. There is nothing more rooting than showing loved ones around our new home; the hillsides we pick flowers from, the riversides where we throw stones and wade in freezing water, the paths we walk along. Seeing the little cousins playing together (and fighting...) was magical. There were a lot of tears when we came to say our goodbyes.


The work on the house is advancing faster this week with the help of Florent's Dad with his impressive work ethic and appitite for all sort of demolition and construction. The partition wall on the first floor has come down giving us our first glimpse at what will become an open plan living and kitchen area. Also a real glimpse at the work to do before we can live and cook there... We've taken a break on the courtyard to give Flo's back a rest from the excavation of solid clay with the occasional surprise rock buried deep inside.



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