P1090730It seems as if spring has been giving us a slow tease for a month already. Finally, it’s official.

P1090573
There’s always a line…until they sell out, which is fast.

To me, it’s officially spring when the asparagus stands appear at the market. That was a few weeks ago. Asparagus trucked in from Spain doesn’t count. I like it picked no longer than the day before. The thing about living in France is that you get full license to be a snob about food. It comes with the carte de séjour.P1090603The wild almond trees are the first to flower. A group of women from the village used to go for walks through the vineyards from early June to mid-July–when the evenings stay light until quite late. They would point out plants on the side of the road, and somebody always had a jam they made from it, or a way to cook it, and inevitably there was a recipe to make an alcoholic beverage, whether sweet, savory, bitter, you name it. Booze was definitely the biggest category. P1090719With my eyes opened to the cornucopia just sitting out there, I picked up some almonds. I got them home, and cracked them open and tasted one. Disgusting. Strongly like marzipan but way more bitter. I went online to read about whether they had to be toasted or treated to improve the taste, and discovered that they are extremely poisonous! They’re full of cyanide! It only takes 10 or so to make you deathly ill. Though I can’t imagine anybody being able to eat 10. Blech. Anyway, it taught me the dangers of wild foraging.P1090596P1090598The buds and burgeons on bare branches start to open into actual foliage, creating a vaguely green scrim around the roadside bushes. One of these days, as if a switch were flipped, everything will be filled out.P1090606The vineyards take longer to reawake. The vignerons are laboring to trim the vines before their sap begins to flow again. Painstaking. Back-breaking. Wish them good health when you sip your next glass.P1090726P1090724The Pyrénées are still covered with snow, and up to 50 cm (20 inches) was forecast for today! Yesterday was T-shirt weather, but by 4 p.m., the storm rolled in and sent the temperatures dropping. Today feels like winter, not spring, though we didn’t get snow. Higher up, though, they did. The ski slopes are only an hour or two away by car/bus, and the local ski club has outings until the end of March.

I never tire of this view.P1070276P1090670Interesting things show up.

P1090604
What is this spiky plant with  red flower?
P1090714
I didn’t have a heart attack only because I didn’t want to end up lying next to this (une coulevre, I think, but I wasn’t getting close enough to check–I zoomed for the photo).

The flora here includes many plants that never lose their leaves, keeping the countryside surprisingly green even in winter. All these photos were taken in the past two weeks.P1090689P1090594And, of course, the dreamy clouds.P1090728

 

 

30 thoughts on “Spring’s Eternal

  1. Beautiful sings of Spring. I love to watch it slowly unfold. The first pink cherry blossoms, then the yellow from the daffodils, then the burgundy and green buds which I enjoy each morning as I look out my window and see the tops of the trees.

    Your photos, except the snake are always beautiful and a pleasure to see. Have a very happy first day of Spring!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so nice to see spring has sprung in some parts of the world. No luck here, but it’s bound to happen eventually…I think?…
    Great pictures, the views are just beautiful! Happy first day of Spring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, daffodils and cherry blossoms here. Saw some early rhododendron and camellias. We were in Victoria for the day. Just beautiful. Oh yes as well as ocean and mountains…don’t hate me.
    Ali

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  4. We woke to several inches of fresh snow here in Ohio and school called off…..AGAIN!! So grandma (me) sits again with the minions.
    Your snake was simply enjoying the warm sun where he lay. They ARE very good to have around- they do their part in nature on our behalf.
    And your last photo is stunning- sky so blue, clouds so white and the trees so green!! Fabulous contrast.
    I wait….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You asked …What is this spiky plant with red flower?

    Well goodness knows how it got there but I think it is a spear lily (an Australian plant that likes a warm climate). This sort of thing used to happen to us in Italy …remarkable but take a look at this huge link or simply look up spear lily.

    It is possibly not the giant variety.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=photo+of+a+spear+lily&num=30&newwindow=1&rls=com.microsoft:en-GB:%7Breferrer:source%7D&dcr=0&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=bPaaJZxXFi99qM%253A%252CaBx2mjk_7-TJXM%252C_&usg=__O1xsP5WvFX2YmLgpCnV_VG1-yLI%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwigi8DR__3ZAhUpLcAKHVZiB7QQ9QEINzAG#imgdii=bX0E-8C-YinKEM:&imgrc=bPaaJZxXFi99qM:

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  6. I think your flower might be a Yucca – they grow wild here in the South of France and those pink buds will change to white as they grow and flower – keep us posted!
    Also, don’t give up on the almonds, there are sweet and bitter trees around the vineyards – you have to try one (very gingerly!) to see which it is then remember where the sweet ones are 🙂 . An old neighbour gave me some advice – if there are still almonds on the tree in the Spring then it is probably a bitter tree, so look out for the trees that have been stripped in the Autumn by your neighbours or the squirrels!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Spring is my favourite season as it is most welcomed after a long and dreary winter. I am excited for spring to come dreaming of all the plants I will grow. Eating on the patio, birds chirping, flowers everywhere, longer days, spring holds all of my hopes of things to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your posts. They are always so intelligently written. I learn something every time I read your blog. Thank you for that. I do hope to visit Carcassone one day. I read about the supermarche incident. It is a sad and frightening world for many. I am sorry this happened in your area. It will not stop me from visiting one day though. Vive la France!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support. This area depends on winegrowing (an industry in crisis, with falling prices) and tourism. Now tourism also will be hurt, and jobs lost. Even though this is still a sleepy, safe town.

      Like

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