Of The Joys (And Hard Work) Of Taking Care Of An Old Farmhouse In The Auvergne

Though spending the summer here in the Auvergne involves a fair amount of going to the various market, cooking, eating and drinking, it also involves a huge amount of work on the family's stone farmhouse.  In addition to regular maintenance, there are bigger, unexpected jobs that need to be taken care of.  The summer of 2013 will be remembered for all the time spent digging a drainage ditch to (hopefully) keep rainwater away from the back of the building.
This little project involved four days of heavy digging, pick-axing through a ridiculous amount of rock and wrangling meters of perforated pipe into the ground.  Luckily, our son was willing to spend a significant amount of his vacation to help his father.
One advantage?  Both my husband and son now know all french terminology related to drainage. That's one way of learning a language, I suppose.

An equally back breaking job is pruning the giant elm trees that grow on the property.  The branches still need to be cut into firewood, but that will be today's job.

While all this hard work is going on, I spend my time weeding and planting in the garden. Easier said than done, since the high altitude and cold winters in the Auvergne can be rather unkind to plants. But each year, there are more blooms and so I continue to enlarge the flower beds every summer.
I was particularly happy to see that the many seeds I had spread last year actually resulted in some beautiful pink poppies, like the one below.
This year, my friend Alain gave me a shoot from his jasmine, which I planted against one of the stone walls so it will be protected.  I hope it will take.