Saturday, 5 January 2013

Spring already? Surely not!

It's all a bit worrying. We're only just into the first week of January and yet the first patches of snowdrops are through and today at 1300m we spotted some Liverwort (Hepatica Nobilis) in the beech woodland above the Col du Portet d'Aspet

OK, so we are currently enjoying the most glorious, warm, sunny weather thanks to a fantastically stable high pressure area, but I think the plants and flowers are going to get an almighty shock when Winter does reappear, which surely it must do at some point over the coming few weeks?

In the meantime, we have been making the most of the glorious weather and had an outing up above the Col du Portet d'Aspet today. We were all prepared to don the snowshoes but it was quite clear on arriving at the Col du Portet d'Aspet that there simply wasn't the snow up there to warrant putting the snowshoes in our packs! We made our way up through the beautiful beech woodland......

... and it was only when we got up onto the ridge at 1500m that we found snow and even then, it wasn't deep. The views were however spectacular as always.

Up on the top, we had a brief pause for a slice of pizza from the boulangerie in Aspet - not a bad lunchtime view!
We were only out for 2 1/2 hours but that's the beauty of where we live now..... it's so easy to just 'pop out' for some good exercise and amazing views!

The drive back down to Aspet was rather more eventful than we would have liked though, as we hit a large patch of black ice and ended up doing a very very scary 360 spin which very nearly landed us off the side of the road. Thank heavens for the wide muddy verge just at that point and the lack of traffic on the road. It was one of the most frightening experience of my life and unsurprisingly not something either of us would like to experience again :-(

But back to the good stuff .....the roadie got another airing on Thursday when we got out for a lovely 70km/1100m+ ride which took us up through Aspet and the Col des Ares before dropping down to the Vallée de la Barousse and back via Barbazan and Sauveterre. The last time I did any proper hills was way back in August, but my legs felt surprisingly good, despite the knee niggle which I have had before on the bike. Full stats on the usual site.

Back at home, we have been doing more apple tree pruning and I believe we have rescued another tree that was in danger of being overwhelmed by mistletoe. It's the big tree on the left in the photo below - the smaller one on the right cannot be saved and is going to be pulled out to make way for new stock;
Here's the 'after' photo. Hopefully it will reward us with a good crop of apples this coming autumn!
The fantastic weather is set to last through to mid week next week, so more outdoor action is planned. Watch this space.

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