Saturday, August 24, 2013

Periodic puppy pics

The vineyards in our region, like many throughout France, are planted on the higher contours of the river valley. This ensures that the grapes grow on land that drains quickly when it rains; grape vines don't like to have wet feet. You can pretty much see the limits of the river's watershed where the grapes give way to other crops like colza or corn.

Callie waits for me before we head out of the blackberry patch.

At regular intervals along the valley's length, the heights are cut deeply by streams feeding the river. Our house is located on the high spot between two such streams. Out in the vineyards behind us, we can see the precise spot where one of those streams begins. A swale between two vineyard parcels guides water into a very shallow stream bed that quickly disappears into thickets of brambles and small trees. Further down its course, the stream carves a gully into the steep valley wall as it descends toward the river.

These wooded gullies shelter all kinds of wildlife including our local deer and wild hare populations. Sometimes, the owners of the land around the stream harvest oaks and other hardwood trees that grow there for firewood. They cut paths through the brambles and open up the woods a bit for new growth.

Callie loves to explore these paths. In this particular spot there is, in winter and early spring, a gap in the undergrowth that allows us to climb up into vineyards on the other side of the stream bed. As summer progresses, the gap is closed by aggressive blackberry vines, their thorny canes barring the way to anything larger than a small cat.

So this time of year the paths are a dead end for us and we have to retrace our steps to the more open land between the vines. But not before Callie has sniffed and poked and explored every corner.


Pour your heart out! I'm listening.