I can't believe how brilliant the weather has been this summer, we have had blazing June, scorching July, red hot August and now we have had the best Indian summer I can recall for a September, although I have lived most of my life in the UK, so that's hardly surprising.
Oh pity you that decided against a holiday in September and actually October as well because it's still going. But as we have had the pool to ourselves this week, we have been making the most of it and going for a swim most days, still have to work though which is a bit unfortunate but it has been very nice taking an hour out by the pool for a change.
Not entirely sure the farmers have enjoyed the amount of sun we have had, I think they actually like it to rain once in a while, except harvest time of course when they do like things nice and dry. That's when life got a little bit exciting just recently, our local farmer arrived to reap the reward of his toils and to harvest the sunflowers, or tournesols as they are quaintly referred to here in the South of France.
I went out to take a few photographs and when Jacques (the farmer) spotted me the next thing I knew was that I got invited to take a ride in his brand new combine harvester which is a pretty impressive piece of machinery I have to say.
This was actually quite fortunate because quite a few of the guests who have stayed this year have asked me how they collect the crop when it is ready, so now I have a photographic account of exactly how it is done.
I think what was really impressive was the speed at which the machine could traverse the field taking in sunflower heads at one end, separating the seeds from the chaff and then filling the built in hopper with a big pile of them ready for transfer into the skip.
It is all totally automated so before you could blink what was a field full of dried ready for picking sunflowers was now a skip full of sunflower seeds that could be loaded onto a lorry and taken to a processing plant to be turned into Sunflower oil or some other sunflower based product.
So there you have it, that is how you harvest sunflower seeds, pretty neat really.