Monday, July 6, 2009

Snails, Cypress Cones, and a Mulberry

The title of this post says much about the grounds around the old mas, or farmhouse.   The snails are found everywhere - the smallest, about the size of a pinky fingernail, like to climb to the tip of grass blades and hang out there all day.  They look like small white flowers from a distance. The larger shells are seen dotted here and there amongst the shrubbery, along with chunks of limestone and flint nodules ( broken occasionally and showing their deep reddish brown conchoidal fractures), as well as various kinds of pine and cypress cones. 

Tall, narrow cypress trees line a portion of the drive. They are also grown as a windbreak around the pool, although I can't imagine swimming while the Mistral is blowing.  We experienced several days of Mistral winds one year, and I can tell you, swimming is far, far from your mind as you stagger around hoping you don't get blown over onto the pavement. The thick stone walls of the mas, built with blocking Mistral winds in mind, has only one small window along the whole length of the back wall, attesting to the strength of the wind.  There is one tall Cypress tree on the western side of the house, deep green against the towering honey-colored stone chimney.  You can pick out the house from above (in Gordes) by  gazing downhill toward the east and searching for that tree/chimney combination. 

The front slate terrace is shaded by a fairly large Mulberry tree. Its horizontal limbs reach up and over a standing adult's head and drop juicy black fruit onto the stones. Yes, kind of messy, but they taste very sweet.  The terrace, with its low sitting wall is a good place to have afternoon wine and cheese, and baguettes fresh from one of the local boulangeries.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reading your journal makes me want to go back to 'our farmhouse'.It also makes me realize how much you saw that we missed. Next time I want to do better with that. Mom