By Thomas P. Huber
I've got mentioned luscious wines and succulent fruit and delightful dinners. yet there is not more evocative adventure of the 2 valleys than the scent of new-mown hay within the fields at nightfall. If someone have been to shut their eyes, they can no longer inform in the event that they have been in Provence or the North Fork Valley. That candy, earthy smell is a part of the great thing about those areas.
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I believe the Provençal in this case, however, because of one dinnertime scramble. During the summer in all of Provence there is an unwritten rule that one eats every meal outside. Even with the thunderstorms, the rain almost always passes in time for restaurants to dry the chairs and tables quickly right before dinner—a serendipity aided by the fact that we always ate late (at least by Colorado standards). One evening the thunderstorms continued unabated and intensely. Everyone ate at the same time at the inn, as is common in many small French restaurants, so we all waited for the storm to pass, but it only did so late in the night.
It was a striking reminder of the connections between our two places and made us think fondly of the Garden of the Gods and the monuments and canyons of the Colorado Plateau fifty miles west of the North Fork. There are few, if any, red beds in the local area of the North Fork. Most of the bedrock along the Colorado fraternal twin valley is a formation called Mancos shale, a fine-grained, soft rock that often weathers into a sticky, nutrient-rich soil. As with the Coulon Valley, here much of the bottomland is covered in alluvium coming down from the uplands—in this case especially from the West Elk Mountains to the east, which are almost entirely volcanic and drained by the North Fork.
The Land the peach trees that have lived for generations, and the relatively newly planted vines of noble grapes. Successful work on the land also comes from an understanding of the things that make the land an ally and those that could make it an antagonist. Leopold’s “cultural harvest” of caring for the land derives, at least in part, from a knowledge of where that piece of ground sits in relation to everything else that affects it from the natural world. The locals I met knew their spot on the earth like a longtime lover.