Dry spring

Although it’s been cold we’ve had very little rain this month, worrying for the garden and the water table since February is usually one of the wettest months here before the dry weather begins in April and brings drought until the autumn. The vines survive the drought because they have such deep roots and can always find enough water, but the vineyards look barren now, with the vines pruned and no sign of spring growth yet.

mazet and vines-3


The almond trees are still flowering, though, and the blossoms seem to have survived the cold wind we had last weekend.

almond blossom1


almond blossom-2


In the huge area that was burnt by wildfire the autumn before last – see my slideshow here – there’s proof of nature’s ability to regenerate. Among the still blackened lentisk branches (Pistacia lentiscus) spring new shoots of bright green red-edged leaves:



And the evening light on the village looked warm even if the nights are still cold.

Village February evening

Closer to the rock

It was a bright blowy morning, with a mild breeze and 16 C in the sun, so perfect for a little tour around the vineyards north of the village, near the uncultivated rock in my photos ten days ago.



This ruined house near the foot of the rocky slope looks as though it could be an idyllic place to live, surrounded by vines, wild olive trees and lentisk bushes.  Now, sadly, a fig tree grows in what once was a room.




The lentisk (pistacio lentiscus) is an interesting plant, related to pistachio, but unfortunately not bearing pistachio nuts.  One can be seen to the left of the house in the top photo above.  The resin, mastic, is used in Greek and Turkish cooking.  At this time of the year the plants are covered with red berries and I’m trying to find out whether these can be used in cooking.