I spent week at La Combe again this year exactly one year after my 2011 visit. The contrast was starling. There was none of the fiery autumn colours of last year and much much colder weather.There was also fewer bird life, the redatsrts had gone, and less fruit. The pear tree that last year would have fed the masses was barren this year.It was an altogether much more challenging environment. I had gone to look after the place and animals last year but this was just a family visit with little responsibilty. I could help at my leasure (and pleasure) and not set the alarm.It was interesting to see that the sown grasses, clovers and alfalfa were becoming more established.I got a lot of ribbing for losing the sheep last year, they had moved to the top of the mountain where the grass is better. This year we brought them down with great difficulty herding them through Pas de Florial and down through dense beechwoods.