As October fades away, the leaves are starting to turn at the French Farmhouse. The walnuts have been plentiful, though they seem to have hung onto their husks this year and removing the walnut is a much more fiddly job. It is always so satisfying when the husk is green and splits, but this year a lot of walnuts have remained on the tree and the husk seems to have dried out, maybe it's because of the hot summer or perhaps I'm collecting them too late?

The figs have been lovely, though later than I would have expected, we even managed to pick some in the middle of October. The damsons didn't let us down and fortunately the trees ripened at different times allowing us a good supply through the late summer. The faithful Mirabelle tree was not so faithful this year as there was not a single fruit! It was cut back in the winter because a few branches had broken under the strain of last seasons heavy harvest so it's not surprising it had nothing to give.

The pool is about to be closed for the winter, I think we have probably left it open too long this year.  The outside temperature made it up to 22 degrees centigrade this past week so not impossible weather for a swim. The pool guy will come and help us sort it out so that it is ready for the winter. Once it's closed that's it 'till the late spring, so in the autumn one tries to eek out pool time 'cause when it's shut .....it's shut!

"The Grounds Maintenance Team" have been in full swing. There have been brambles to cut back, again! Those thorny blighters are not easy to extinguish! Hillary's walk has been "strimmed" and some replanting started. There are quite a few walnut trees here and a hazelnut too, so it would be good to continue the theme and have a nutty walk!

The team spent a long time sorting out the gite garden and drive. We had a pile of stone from the removal of a shed and this has now been used to finish the "roundabout" that I started to create in the spring. The roundabout is a sort of experiment. A few years ago I had visited a house where there was a beautiful stone fountain, the centrepiece of the entrance. We are not yet at this point ourselves and not really ready to commit to a grand watery obelisk, so I decided that a few carefully placed stones would help me choose a position for a future feature at the front of the gite. However we have ended up with more stones that we thought and this centre of attention has grown... and grown! It has a diameter of approximately three metres and thankfully it is in the right spot. You can drive the car around it and in itself it is a creative way to store stone. We have considered planting it, making it into a fire pit, or even an amazing bird feeding station,  but when all is said and done, at the end of the day and in the final analysis....... it looks like a trig point! If google maps re-do their satellite images we may well be re-designated as the highest point in the area!!!!

Walnuts. The one on the left is easy to release from its husk. The walnuts on the right are not so easy.

The gite drive. A local deer approaching the top!  A work in progress, the roundabout.

The gite drive. The start of the roundabout back in the spring.

More stonework at the bottom of the French Farmhouse drive.

Hillary's walk. On the left, cleared for replanting.

Teasels at the edge of the drive.

The Farmhouse October 2016. The lime tree casts long shadows on the house and the shutters are back on!

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