assemblage of dry things
each one of these thistle flowers is the size of my palm. the plant itself was 1.5 meters high. enormous. i had seen them on the side of the road on the way into our village. so while my hubby was running errands one day i asked him to stop and get me the flowers. i had in mind a cute basket full of the snipped off flower heads. instead i got two entire plants about the size of a fiat 500.
extra large thistle flowers
i stopped the car to snip this thistle stem because i had in mind that i wanted to make an assemblage of all the dried things i am seeing. only then did i see the one blooming flower in this otherwise dried out stem. i decided to reward its tenacity with a brief moment of fame.
yet another mediterranean thistle/chardon
a collection of small silvery mediterranean fish: daurade/dorade, merlu, merlan, maquereau, sardine
according to jean-luc, the almonds in this little corner of southern france are ready to eat any time after june 24th of each year, plus ou moins. the young fruits are tender and tasty, and will continue to ripen for the next several months until their shells are hard and brown and split open. on the other hand, one must be aware that there are sweet almonds and bitter almonds. the bitter almonds smell wonderful, like marizipan, but are inedible. the sweet almonds . . . well . . . we just finished off a small handful.
young almond fruits
wild (?) poppy
beside the D154, autignac, france
in order to place some limits on my excessive beach collecting, i will often give myself limits for the day such as “only auger shells” or “only striped beach rocks”. “only sea glass” is a common constraint. this was the first time i used “only black or white shells”. i am loving the results.
mediterranean beach shells
le lido, between sète and marseillan, france
roadsides, ditches, vacant lots, and the wild garrigue scrubland that surrounds us are all full of plants like this. they punish any effort to move among them with wicked lacerations and puncture wounds, never mind what it’s like trying to pick them with anything less than thick leather gloves. fortunately, when it comes to the human fauna of this region, and despite almost every cliché about the prickly French temperament, we are almost universally greeted with mediterranean warmth, and physical affection. i will miss the casual intimacy of the double cheek kiss as a greeting when we get back to chilly minnesota.
a particularly evil mediterranean thistle (scolymus grandiflorus)
along the mediterranean near sète, france
prunelle/sloe, géranium blanc/geranium, euphorbe rouge/spurge
the roads here were not made for cars. most of them were made for horses and donkeys and a few were even made by romans 2000 years ago. sometime in the last century the were covered with a thin layer of asphalt. as you can imagine they are not two car widths wide. the best roads, the widest ones, are about one and a half cars wide. so as two cars pass, both cars must slow down and each puts one tire into the side road, only inches from the run-off ditches that line all the streets. and each time we do this, the entire side of the car, and my arm leaning out the open window, is whipped be these meter high stalks of wild fennel.