Mother Nature — or Agent Orange?

I can confirm that it’s now getting pretty cold at night in the Greater Daglan Area, and it stays cold for most of the morning. Today my wife Jan was heading out in her car and realized she couldn’t see out the back window — so she came back into the house to ask where my ice scraper was.

Soon after she left, I bravely went out on my bike for a 30-kilometer ride. I was wearing long bicycling pants, a cotton undershirt, a long-sleeved cycling shirt, arm warmers, an insulated jacket, long cycling gloves, and ear warmers, and I was still cold. It wasn’t until about 11 a.m., and I’d spent a fair bit of time climbing uphill, that I was feeling comfortable and my fingers weren’t numb. Which brings me to winter.

In winter, most of the trees, shrubs and plants around here behave properly. Evergreen trees keep their needles, while the leaves of deciduous trees change colour and then fall off — leaving interesting looking trunks and branches. Out in the country, most plants lose their leaves and die back unless they’ve been protected somehow, and so the land looks clean and handsomely bare. But not ferns.

I think of ferns as the bad boys of winter, because they simply don’t behave. They change from a lovely green to a fairly nasty looking brown, and then stay that way.  Their drab brown leaves stay attached, and the whole plant just sits there. They don’t seem to die back at all until the next spring, when a new crop of ferns crops up.

The result is that in the late fall and the winter, when you’re out for a drive or a bike ride around here, it often looks as if someone has sprayed Agent Orange on the ferns that grow alongside our lovely roads.

Here’s a photo of the offending plants, taken on my ride this morning. View with caution — it’s not a pretty sight:

Fern close-up

A line of ferns, showing off their drab winter coats.

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This entry was posted in Bicycling in the Dordogne, Life in southwest France. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mother Nature — or Agent Orange?

  1. Chief Scout says:

    Rule number 1. No cotton t-shirts on a bike ride. They soak up sweat and you freeze to death. Get a proper base layer!
    Now, back to my day job.

  2. Loren says:

    Merci beaucoup, Chief Scout. From now on … nothing but wool undershirts!

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