Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Fire, water and the earth / Le feu, l’eau et la terre

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Fire is part of the natural cycle of Mediterranean vegetation especially the garrigue, clearing the land of dead plants and making space for new growth. It is also very frightening and dangerous. On Monday we were on our way to Roquessels to buy wine and saw smoke on one of the hills near the road, just a couple of kilometres from Gabian. By the time we returned the fire had spread rapidly. We called the fire service as soon as we got home, but luckily they already knew about the fire. It took four hours for 80 fire fighters, 4 water-carrying planes and 2 small spotter planes to stop the fire, fortunately just before it reached the house in the photo below.

Le feu est une partie naturelle du cycle de la garrigue mediterranéenne. Mais c'est aussi dangereux et effrayant. Lundi nous avons vu de la fumée sur une colline près de la route de Gabian à Roquessels, à quelques kilometres du village . Sur notre retour le feu s'est étendu. 80 pompiers et 6 avions ont pris quatre heures pour l'éteindre. Heureusement le feu n'a pas atteint une maison dans la campagne.

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Fortunately this house was saved.
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The view from Gabian – a bit close for comfort.

The sea / La mer

DSC06680 The weather is hot but the sea hasn’t warmed up yet. It was only 16 degrees C at Le Grau d’Agde yesterday.

Le temps fait chaud mais la mer n’a pas chauffé encore. Elle n‘était que 16 degrees C au Grau d’Agde hier.

In the garden / Au jardin

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The tomatoes are growing well and one Yellow Pear is almost ripe. / Les tomates poussent bien et une Yellow Pear est presque mûre.

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Peppers and apricots – we ate the first apricot this evening, the rest will be ready in a day or so.

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A swallowtail butterfly on the lavender

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and a dragonfly near the stream. It was bright blue, but the sun was so strong the colour doesn’t show in the photo.

8 comments:

Michelle said...

I know how you feel when it comes to wild fires. Two summers ago the hillside behind the house burned, just 1/8th mile away. Fortunately the fire went up the hill and didn't come my way! No one and no homes were harmed. The tomatoes, peppers and apricots look great! I do miss having an apricot tree, it's almost impossible to buy a tasty apricot here. And that swallowtail is just stunning, nice shot.

Maggie said...

Fire can be so scary. Years ago, a friend and I drove to California. Somewhere in Arizona we decided to take the path less traveled and it took us right through a forest fire! It was terrifying! On the upside, however, we got two lifetime memories: the fire, and being mooned by a busload of soot covered firemen!

chaiselongue said...

Michelle: 1/8 mile - that IS close, must have been very scary. I'm surprised you can't get tasty apricots - I would have thought your climate would have been ideal for them. If you can plant a tree, they grow quite quickly. Ours has only been there for about four or five years and is quite big now.

Maggie: Thanks for these two conflicting images - the horror of a forest fire and, well, I can't get out of my mind now the picture of the sooty mooners!

Michelle said...

Chaiselongue, you can get excellent apricots here if you grow you own. The ones that I buy just don't compare.

Rowena... said...

This reminds me of the fires in Sicily 2 years ago. I wasn't present to witness any of it, but saw proof of the damage when we visited several weeks later.

I'm looking at your swallowtail and wondering if it's the one that is directly related to the caterpillar that I have on my fennel. I narrowed it down to Old World Swallowtail judging from the photos online, but really can't say for sure since I haven't seen the butterflies themselves.

gintoino said...

Those wild fires are always so scary, specially at this time of year. For the past 2 years we have been lucky, not having any fires near here but I'm always afraid of them in summer time. My apricots are long gone...I'm harvesting nectarines now (the best ones I ever had)

chaiselongue said...

gintoino: Enjoy your nectarines. I'm a bit jealous because our nectarine tree died. I think our apricots are a late variety as all the others here were ripe ages ago. The apricots are very small, but incredibly tasty so we don't mind waiting for them!

HappyMouffetard said...

Gosh - that's scary. I know that the environment has evolved to cope with regular fires, but that was before people came to live there. Frightening.