June 16, 2008

Watercress tears and bacon sandwiches

I prefer to think that this rain, this incessant gloomy French June weather, is just a sly way to turn my head from the slow-growing, water-logged potager to the imaginary cressoniere at the west end of the spring-fed wood.

Along the wet cobbled path and down the green encrusted bridge, B. and I splash to la fontaine this morning. Here, from behind the patch of leather leaf ferns, the source flows in a wide shallow meander to join Camont's three other rivulets that ultimately run together into the stream that dips under the Canal and pops up to make its way to Mother Garonne... and thus to the sea.

Here, at this elderberry, elm-stumped, willow-shaded patch at the edge of Camont's two-acres, Père Dupuy would tend a long narrow rivulet and string an elaborate scarecrow of plastic bottles and rags to frighten off hungry birds. I was never sure that the birds came near the watercress, but it was the sort of folk art that made me smile.

When Gloomy Gascony floods our hearts and drowns our summer hopes, then the old 'lemons to lemonade' adage must rule. Here at Camont, awash in yet another summer shower, Saint Nick arrived on the good ship Teal just in time to help. Nick is a great nautical guest and always adds his touch to our patch of watery paradise. I turn to my garden planning book to sketch out the fallen tree bridge that will lead to the watercress patch and willow-umbrella'ed elm bench. Since both real and faux cress cohabit in the spring runoff, I am planning a rock edged bank to divert the spring enough and allow us to reseed with organic cress seeds until we crowd out the false intruders.

Bacon loves this water park; he often arrives green muzzled from a romp through the lavoir. Once clean and potable, this part of the spring has sprouted les lentilles, small green algae, and has been tainted by a neighborhood eyesore and ecological disaster of a gravel pit further upstream. Feeling rather like Manon in Pagnol's epic, my battles with the town hall to reign in my neighbor's unbridled digging remains unresolved. Where are the Police des Eaux when you need them?

I turn a wet eye toward the house where Peter M. has knitted in the patchwork of an herbier outside the kitchen terrace with tarragon, basil and roquette;
even the wet hen isn't mad sitting in a healthy bed of marjoram.

Elizabeth has had to content herself to painting furniture and flowers;
the calla and hydrangea's have loved this cooler June and show it.

Roses bloom against wet skies but mold within days;
dead heading is a full time occupation this year.

The best solution to this 13 moon weather is what that other old adage recommends..."let sleeping dogs lie."
So along with The Bacon, I wish you a gentle day sandwiched between nappage and snores.

1 comment:

L Vanel said...

What a beautiful post, Kate. Thank you. I enjoyed every word and image.