Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Lignes de rive

The broken lines on either side of this roadway (in this case, lignes de rive) mark the edges of the roadway (very helpful at night). Drivers are allowed to cross the line to stop, park, or turn.

A roadway near Rousillon, Provence. Digitized color slide, September 2001.

When I was taking classes to get my French driver's license (twenty years ago now!), I learned that marquages au sol (road markings) are very important. For example, a broad line across your lane at an intersection means "Stop," even if no stop sign is present. So you have to pay attention not only to roadside signs, but to what the markings are on the road surface.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Two make a pair

Rousillon is another well-known hilltop town in Provence. Wikipedia says that it's the second most visited village in the Luberon area after Gordes. The attraction? The town is known for its yellow and red ochre deposits, used for paints and dyes throughout history. I read that most ochre production in the area ceased as tourism increased over time.

A pair of doors in Rousillon. Digitized color slide, September 2001.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Saturday was pizza day

I haven't made pizza in a while, so it was time. I made my standard dough: 333 grams of all-purpose flour, 222 grams (a little less than a cup) of water, a teaspoon of dry yeast, and a pinch of salt. It rises for about three hours. We had some leftover meat sauce in the freezer that I had labeled "pizza sauce," so I thawed it out and added a little tomato paste to it. Then I cut up slices of ham, some fresh mushrooms, and thawed some frozen bell pepper strips. Finally, Ken cut up the last of a Saint Nectaire cheese. After shaping the dough (by hand, no rolling) and adding the toppings, I dotted the pie with a handful of black olives. 

The first of two pizzas. Delicious!

The pizza baked on a stone in a hot oven (270ºC or about 500ºF) until it was done, about fifteen or twenty minutes. As usual, I made two pies for our main meal of the day. The second one got grated meule fruitée, a kind of comté cheese. A green salad would have been a good accompaniment, but for some reason we just didn't.

Saturday, February 17, 2024


While the felling of our tall cedar tree, with its high-wire chills, was exciting, what happened with the branches was no less fascinating. They were all ground into a fine mulch with a machine the crew parked in our driveway. The mulcher ran most of the day, devouring the trees branches, leaving only the trunks on the ground to be dealt with.

I didn't get a photo of the machine itself. The ground tree limbs filled up the truck a few times. You can see the dust accumulating on the deck railing (bottom right).

The mulching process was messy. It left a layer of fine sawdust and small chunks of wood on our terrace and on the ground around the machine. I don't think the crew realized how much wood dust there was on the deck until I asked them to clean it up. It was starting to look like a red clay tennis court. The guy who did the clean up used a leaf-blower to clear the deck. It took him about fifteen minutes.

Friday, February 16, 2024


After the top of the tree was cleared away, it was time to fell the bottom two-thirds of the trunk. It was done in much the same way as the top, with a rope attached to the upper part so the ground crew could be sure the tree fell where they wanted it to, and a wedge removed at the base by the lumberjack. When the trunk hit the ground, I felt the house shake.

The stump will stay in the ground until it rots. I can't imagine what it would take to dig it out.

The crew got to work cutting the trunk into "small" chunks, which they later chopped into even smaller chunks. Those they loaded into a truck and took away. It took several trips to clear it all. I kept two of the sections to use as chopping blocks for cutting up firewood.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Tippity top

It was about at this point (about two-thirds up the trunk) that the lumberjack stopped sawing off the cedar's limbs. Just after I snapped this picture, he climbed up among the branches and attached a rope around the trunk. He tossed the loose end down to the ground and the crew took up the slack while moving well away from the base of the tree.

I wonder if the lumberjack's hobbies include mountain climbing?

Once the all-clear was given, he sawed a notch into the trunk just below the lower branches. The treetop tipped and down it went, landing with a dull thud on the ground below. The ground crew sawed off the branches and mulched them in short order.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The beginning of the end

Here's how the lumberjack and the landscape guys got under way on Monday. The first step was to cut the branches off the trunk of the tree. That stopped at about two thirds of the way up. While the guy in the tree cut the branches, the crew on the ground took them to a mulcher (parked in the driveway) to grind them up.

The lumberjack (red helmet) in the tree cuts branches while one of the ground crew moves them to the mulcher.

While the ground crew worked, the lumberjack hung out in the tree until all was clear below for the next round of cutting. And so it went on through the morning.

Little by little, the trunk is stripped of its branches.

I only took a handful of photos, and no videos. I haven't really learned how to take videos with the camera, let alone the phone, so I have none. More photos tomorrow.