Yesterday when I got up at 5 a.m. it was raining. It rained steadily for 12 hours. That put 15 mm (more than half an inch) of water in our rain gauge, bringing the total rainfall over the past 20 days up to 93 mm. That's nearly two inches. It has fallen gradually, meaning most days have been damp and gray. Meanwhile, it's not raining today — at least not yet. Just give it a few minutes.
The pond out back is overflowing, with the extra water running in a torrent down the tractor path behind our back gate. It's runoff from the vineyard plots and the gravel road that feeds the pond then continues downhill to feed the Cher River. A few months ago, the water level in the pond was about as low as we've seen it in the 15 years we've lived here. Not any more. All the water holes out in the vineyard are full to the brim.
However, Friday morning was glorious, I must say. Being able to take the camera out and snap pictures of a beautiful sunrise reminded me of why we decided to move here in 2003. I took the photos in this post that morning, just before the clouds closed in again.
On another subject, we've managed to find a gîte rural (vacation rental) to stay in for a four-night road trip in March. We've been cooped up too long — cabin fever. The gîte is in a little town near Moulins in the Allier département, just 2½ hours' drive southeast of Saint-Aignan. We'll leave on my birthday in early March and, of course, take Tasha with us. The house we're renting allows dogs to stay for no extra charge.
Besides Moulins (pop. 20,000), other nearby Allier towns we hope to see are Vichy, a famous spa and resort; Saint-Pourçain, a wine village; and Souvigny and Bourbon-l'Archambault, both known for their Romanesque churches and medieval châteaux. The royal House of Bourbon called this area home. And Callie, our recently departed border collie, was born in 2007 on a farm near the town of Montmarault in the same area. The last time we were over that way was when we drove there, first to meet her, and then to bring her home, eleven years ago.