jeudi 29 septembre 2011


I have great news today, « super nouvelles ». In plural !

To begin with I think I’ve located a piece of land I could start my little farm on. It’s not big but the most lovely, lushious prairie, allmost too pretty to be turned and made into an ordered nursery garden. Pity my phone wouldn’t cooperate to get at least a little picture of it. The photo above is from the little village nearby, Rivières.
And secondly, I received (some time ago allready but I’ve been a bit busy with my school project) the new book by the British author Deborah Lawrenson. Her book had allready appeared in the UK but the US launch was a few weeks ago and her American editor, HarperCollins, very generously not only sent me a copy but wants to give two of them away to my lovely readers ! How great is that, my first ever giveaway !

To wet your appetite I wrote a little review of the book that you find below. To try your chance and win a copy of the book send me a commentary with an adjective that best evokes Provence to you. The innocent hand of one of my neighbour’s children will draw the two lucky winners. Good luck to all !

ps. You have a week, hurry up!


In her new novel Deborah Lawrenson tells us two histories entwining, taking place on the same old farmhouse in the Luberon region, but decades apart. There is a young, foreign couple that just met and bought the crumbling farmhouse. They spend a long, hot summer trying to fix the place while the young girl starts to wonder if they really know each other that well. And there is a French family, trying to make a living on the farmstead in the beginning of the 20th century.

Critics praise and rightly so Deborah Lawrenson’s way of conveying colours and sounds, flavours and smells of Provence. She also gets behind the scene, past the « touristy » stuff, the cliché images of Provence and shows the life after the visitors who only know it’s summery face are gone but which I know so well. The quietness of the streets after the summer’s buzz, the mistral howling on the hills and the old houses creaking, the frosty mornings the sun tries to warm with its hesitant rays.

But I must admit that what touched me most personally reading her book is the research Deborah has done about life and labour, history, customs, hardships and poverty of the country in early 20th century, before it became the playground of the rich and famous, the Parisians and the foreigners.

If you like a good thriller that keeps you awake the whole night you will do well with this book. Or if you like to immerse yourself in other cultures and know about other countries, it will do the trick too. In any case it’s a good read and gives a good image of Provence.

dimanche 25 septembre 2011


Waiting for a little surprise this week I wanted to give you a faint glimse of my summer and schooldays.

En attendant une petite surprise je voulais vous donner une petite aperçue de mon été et de ma formation.

One of my working experience farms, Jardin de Mazet in Monoblet, the Gard département

The autumn has officially started and of course the temperatures have fallen though it seems next week will be fine. The nights are chilly but the afternoons can still be hot, though not the days it's raining.
The farm of Mazet is terassed: all plots are small and they cascade from the top of the hill down in multitude of terasses. They grow many medicinal plants. On the background you can see their séchoir, the plant dryer house.
Thyme and cornflower drying inside the dryer .
It's the time of year there hovers in the air a smell of the "day after a good night of wining" as stated one of my collegues. The roads are filled with tractors getting their cargo of grapes to the wine cellar. We at the agricultural school have the "gos fortune" of having a cave coopérative, cooperative cellar just behind the school house, so that we really find ourselves in a constant atmosphere of grapes becoming wine...
The other day we made a visit at the organic agriculture fair in Valence and saw a lot of lovely tractors.
I've also been working in a plant nursery, the Pépinière du Grand Plantier at St. Ambroix, also in Gard.

One wednesday we were at the producers' market in Uzès where I saw this alembic for distillation of rose water.
We've also been a lot outside, doing botany lessons with our professors.
Now we have essentially exams and the finishing of the professional project in store 'till mid-october. At the same time I'm looking for a piece of land to start farming allready next spring. I'll keep you up to date.
Have a nice autumn - or spring if you happen to be Down Under, where the Rygby World Cup has just kicked off. And no, I'm not backing the French team, les Bleus, I'm All  Blacks all the way.
Bon début de l'automne officielle à tous mes lecteurs!