Eye of the Hurricane

I am certainly grateful for my life at the moment. The world is going nuts, with extreme havoc being wreaked for the pettiest of reasons. Sometimes I can’t believe what is happening, even just outside my gates. Inside, though, I garden away. Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to do.

Jacques and bulldozer

Here is Jacques, just outside the wall, playing Tiananmen. The dozer, when it did move, went in the opposite direction, fortunately.

They are putting curbs along my little country lane. For the moment they stop at my property line, but for how long? And why are they going in in the first place? Julien tells me sometimes projects happen simply because money is available.

The news in Vendee is that the ground water is becoming depleted. This can happen because of drought. It can also happen because of urbanization. The subdivision just outside my walls is a fine example of this. The houses are required to channel rainwater runoff to the street. Thus the curbs, which channel the water to who knows where, probably the ocean. Needless to say, if the water is conducted entirely along paved surfaces, it is not sinking into the ground. So this ground water issue is largely of man-made origin.

I have an old house. I drain nothing to the street. The water that is channeled away from the house goes into an old well, the better to feed the water table. The neighbors don’t have that option and probably have not gone to the trouble to disconnect drain lines, to send the water to gravel sinkholes. As the countryside becomes suburbanized, things will only get worse.

As you can see, summer is happening. I think I may have been expected to thin those tomato plants, but I am still too amazed that things just grow here. This never happened in California. Maybe I’ll get around to it.

Right now I’m too busy weeding. I have begun to tackle the briar patch. Just this morning, the mess in there was quite dramatically brought to my attention.

Last night being quite warm, we slept with the windows open. At 6 AM, Jacques’ small but mighty nose and ears detected a cat invasion. Last night he got into it with a barn owl. I went out to find the two of them barking at each other. Who knew barn owls made noise? This morning, Comète, from across the street, caught the attention of my little protector. When I went out, Jacques had Comète pinned in the briar patch, snarling and spitting, but basically too afraid to move. I finally got Jacques on the side opposite the gate and the little sport killer made a run for it. I guess Comète decided it wasn’t so fun being on the prey side of the sport, because he didn’t stop. His owner came by later in the morning, asking about him. Well, when Comète finally returns home, I hope he spreads the word about the killer Westie down the street. Cats are another thing I want outside my walls.

It’s a cruel world out there. We are destroying the planet. We are forcibly displacing millions of people and harassing them when they become refugees. We rip children from their mothers’ arms, simply for political gain. Torture and human trafficking are bigger than ever, at least in my lifetime. It’s not that I do nothing about it, but any of those things seem proportionately so little. So I’ll deadhead roses and protect the lizards from the cats. Inside the walls — don’t say Maginot Line in this house, okay? –it’s safe. It’s a start.

12 thoughts on “Eye of the Hurricane

  1. I like the way you juxtapose Jacques efforts to ethnically cleanse your garden with the abhorrent goings on in the outside world. I also like your tomato tangle. Leave it be. But then that is what I feel about the uninvited interference in this ever shrinking world of ours which becomes the root cause of exactly the abhorrent goings on to which I refer …..

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    1. Cats are sport killers. They should be kept indoors, if at all. If you want to call me the Donald Trump of cat haters, fine by me. In fact, I’m a step ahead of Trump; I already have my wall.

      Actually, I don’t hate cats. I hate their behavior. I did give Comète a safe way out, after all. And it’s not ethnic cleansing if the result is that all the beings that cats kill can live in safety. If cats somehow became pacifists, I’d totally change my mind. Would Jacques? I don’t know.


  2. As for domestic cats, they get fed yet kill millions of birds every year.
    The problem with “development” and construction is that once nature is paved, it doesn’t go back to nature when the buildings are vacant or crumbling.
    I wish Macron would see how precious the land is. The only way to protect it is with nationwide policies to promote infill or renovation rather than greenfield development. Otherwise we’ll end up with too many subdivisions and no more crop land or forests.

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    1. A national policy would help. But local governments could certainly do more. At least around here, cronyism is the order of the day. The folks in the mairie see the commune as their personal piggybank. When the subdivisions go in, it’s easy money for the contractors. Infill and renovation are money, but it’s not easy. The « renovation » of the inner cities is old-school slash-and-burn urban renewal, not sensitive to the context at all. Yes, I’m thinking of the new medical building, built with no doctors in sight, that takes up ⅔ of the only park in town. The thing with national policies alone is, there is no such thing as a « one size fits all » type rule. And there is always a loophole. Any national policy needs local will for decent enforcement. It’s vexing.

      There is a blogger in Albi who carefully and knowledgeably researches the mess that has been made of their downtown. They have done some things right, like turn historic buildings into lovely social housing. Other things, not so much, and downtown is dying as a result. I wish I could remember the name of his blog. If I can find it, I’ll add it here.

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  3. There was legislation allowing communes to tax property owners who put down hard surfaces. I remember because the maire of the local town taxed the notaire who had made a hard parking area in front of his office…they were not from the same political party.
    However, the cronyism you describe makes use of such penalties unlikely…….

    I do not like the habits of cats either, though with the dogs there is little likelihood of any taking up residence here. Jacques has the right idea.

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    1. Are you serious? That’s it, then. When I can finally afford to landscape, I’m putting in gravel.

      I think if we spend more time here, the cats will get the message. There are two, one in each of the houses across the street. If only they would stay there.

      BTW, my best wishes for Leo.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cat lover here, and I can tell you that I whole heartedly agree. Domestic cats should be kept indoors. Period. Most homes in France do not screen the windows, correct? So it’s problematic there. Here, we have no excuse.


    1. Screens are a new thing here, but they are starting to show up. I have been finding prefabricated retractable ones, too small for my own windows. I want to do the garden next. Then I’ll return to the screen issue. Maybe by then custom-made retractable ones will be an option.


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