Spring seems to have lasted about two weeks in the Greater Daglan Area (GDA), from March 1 until today. You may recall that, by the powers vested in us, we at Radio Free Daglan officially declared March 1 as the start of the 2012 Tourist Season. Now, by those same powers, we declare today, March 14, to be the start of Summer 2012.
You want evidence?
Blue, cloudless skies. We’ve had nothing but sun (not counting the nights of course) for several days now, mostly without a cloud in sight. Here’s a view of the sky above Sarlat this afternoon (and I’ll explain later why we were in Sarlat):
Wonderful temperatures. Temperatures during our nights and early mornings still range from cold to cool, but now the low temperatures are always above freezing, and the highs are becoming very enjoyable. This afternoon, in the drive back from Sarlat, the temperature as shown by the car thermometer was 27 degrees Celsius, or nearly 81 Fahrenheit.
Great sights. Because February was so unusually frosty (“Curse you, Siberian cold front!”), our grass and plants are not as advanced as they were last year. But people are planting flowers, like these in Sarlat’s Square du 8 mai 1945 (named for the date of V-E Day, for Victory in Europe, at the end of World War II):
Just for the record, here’s a view of the stone bearing the name of the little park in the centre of Sarlat (which also contains a wall with the names of residents killed and deported during the war):
Cafés in action. A final, solid bit of evidence that we’re now enjoying summer is that outdoor cafés and terraces are in full swing. And that’s where my wife Jan and I had lunch today — at Au Bureau, just across the street from Square du 8 mai 1945. We were on the terrace in bright sunshine for most of our meal, and enjoyed this year’s first bottle of Tavel rosé wine, along with our hamburgers (yes!) and frites. Later, as the sun rotated around the Sarlat sky, we were in shadow as we finished our coffees. (Science note: Latest research now shows that the sun moves very rapidly in a huge orbit around the earth, on an axis that passes directly through the water fountain in the Place de la Liberté in Daglan.) Here’s a view looking upwards at Au Bureau’s sign:
Now, while I certainly don’t want to put a damper on a summer that’s only just begun, I am proud to point out that Jan and I are now pretty well set for next winter, at least when it comes to firewood.
You may remember that I last wrote about our firewood situation on February 8, in a post called “Doing the splits! — Part Deux.” In that post, I showed the firewood stacked in our garage, which prompted one of my loyal readers, Lisa from (beautiful) San Francisco, to ask: “How long will this batch last?” I replied at the time that it would depend on the weather, and how cold the temperatures remained. Well, as it turned out, February stayed cold, and we went through an awful lot of wood. Here’s all that was left in our garage as of this morning:
And then along came our scheduled delivery of firewood, which we fimly believe was the last of the winter of 2011/2012. Here it is, as dumped in front of our neighbour’s garage next door:
This happened at about 8:45 this morning, and within 10 minutes or so Jan and I were in full stacking-and-splitting action. Here’s the how first row of logs looked in the garage, once we had it stacked up:
We kept splitting and stacking, and before long, we had the second row in place. Here’s the full house, so to speak:
Then it was time to clean up all the debris that this firewood generates, from big strips of bark to little bits of moss. We went at it, and before long the mess was bagged and ready for a trip to the déchetterie. Here’s the last bag being tied up:
We think we have figured out how best to organize all this, taking turns carrying and stacking the wood, and using our new electric log-splitter (shown off in my February 8 post) to split the larger logs. (Jan’s comment about the splitter this morning: “This was the best 199-euro purchase we’ve ever made.” I agree.) So, total elapsed time for all the stacking, splitting and tidying: 1 hour and 40 minutes.
And speaking of organization, check this out. We now have our four bicycles (two road bikes, two hybrids) suspended from the garage ceiling, to allow easy access and preserve their tires better. Here’s our own little haven of biking:
Very soon, it will be time to bring down a bike and go for a ride. I’m thinking tomorrow afternoon should be a good time to start. After all, it’s summer.