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Tasha Tuesday

Here's a recent photo (well, two weeks) of Tasha on one of our morning walks. She's doing what dogs do best: sniffing around on the ground. A walk with Tasha on a chilly spring morning. I've done nothing about making a grooming appointment for her. Or for myself, for that matter. I really need a haircut. Tasha is also due for her annual vaccinations some time this month. And I'm due for my second dose of the covid vaccine.I feel like I'm in a holding pattern. Waiting for the weather to warm up...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha

Walnut tree

There is a lone walnut tree out on the vineyard road. The nuts it produces are small and not really worth harvesting. One of our neighbors (now deceased) used to walk out every now and then and pick a bagful off the ground in the fall. Our dog Callie was very curious about the nuts. Birds (or other animules), cracked some of them open. Callie would sniff and sometimes even eat a leftover piece of a walnut, but not very often. Tasha sniffs, but I've never seen her eat one. Lonely walnut tree. K...
Tags: Travel, Our House, Ken, WCS, Tasha, Callie, The Vineyard

Tasha Tuesday

Here's Tasha on Sunday morning. The sky was clear and we had a good walk, even though the grassy areas were wet from melting frost. My hiking boots are no longer waterproof, I found out. Oh well. Tasha looks toward home over the vineyards on Sunday morning. The wind kicked up over night and we're expecting rain to start mid-day. And we've run out of heating oil. I knew we were getting low, and this unexpected chilly weather has been making the boiler run more than normal for this time of year....
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

Frosty Sunday morning

Frost formed in all the usual places on Sunday morning. As the sun rose, the frost started to melt and Tasha's feet got wet when she ventured into the grassy places. Then, as she walked along in the road, her wet fur picked up sand and dirt. I rinsed her off when we got home, but I can never get it all off, so we get little piles of sand on the floor where she sits. Frost outside our back gate as the sun rises on Sunday morning. The sunrise was pretty, though. The sky was clear and there was s...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Frost, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

Winter's leftovers

As spring progresses, albeit slowly this year, there are still some reminders of winter out there. These are carotte sauvage (wild carrot or Queen Anne's lace) flowers, dead but still standing. Skeletons of last summer's delicate white flowers. Saturday was an overall cold day. We started out warmer than it has been at just under 7ºC (about 45ºF), but even with sun out, the day didn't get much above 12ºC (about 54ºF). When I walked Tasha in the late afternoon, a cold north wind chilled us to t...
Tags: Travel, Wildflowers, Anne, Ken, WCS, Tasha

Tasha Tuesday

Sort of. Maybe I should call this a Trio of Trees. You can barely see Tasha standing in the garden path. The three trees are, from left to right, an apple, a tilleul (linden or lime), and a fir (overgrown former Christmas tree). We're still working on the cleaning up from winter. There are piles of sticks and branches in the path waiting to either be stacked for kindling or ground up by the landscaper. I got half of the north forty cut on Monday. The other half has to be cleared of the birch bra...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Garden Flowers Plants

Looking the other way

Here's another look at our flowering prunus tree from the other side, looking east toward the house. The big forsythia is on the left. Where's Tasha? Can you find her in the photo? We're heading into the second week of our new confinement (lockdown). It's not really affecting us much. We're used to being more or less homebodies, just venturing out for food and wine. We're lucky to have the vineyards out back to walk in with Tasha. I'm thinking I'll go to the Saint-Aignan Saturday market next w...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Garden Flowers Plants

Moon over vineyards

The full moon set in the west during our Monday morning walk. The sun rose in the east at the same time. Tasha chased birds. Moonset across Touraine vineyard parcels. We enjoyed very spring-like weather on Monday. I made an early morning run over to the supermarket for a new bottle of butane for the gas grill. I cleaned up the grill and got it ready for its first use of the season. We had chicken thighs and merguez (spicy beef and lamb sausages) on the grill, with broccoli and chick peas on th...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard, Touraine, Moonset

Plum blossoms

These blossoms are on the tree that Ken planted from a pit many years ago. I think it's got more blossoms this year than I've seen in previous years. Maybe there will be a bumper crop of plums this year. Too bad we really can't use them. Plum blossoms on the tree. I looked out the window toward this tree yesterday and what did I see? A female pheasant was strutting around in the grass, picking insects (I assume) from the ground. She hung out for about half an hour, then Bert went outside. He n...
Tags: Travel, Wildlife, Ken, WCS, Bertie, Bert, Tasha, Garden Flowers Plants

Tasha Tuesday

This is the vineyard parcel just outside our back gate. It hasn't been pruned yet. In fact, it may not be pruned at all, but ripped out this spring. One of the guys that works for the owners of this parcel told me last year that one of the parcels near our house will be torn out this year and re-planted the following year. Maybe it's this one. I'll keep you posted. This photo is from a week ago. There are a lot more plum blossoms on that tree now. That flowering tree in the background center i...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

Tasha Tuesday -- birthday edition

Today is Natasha's fourth birthday! Notice I used her full name. She was born in an "N" year and, according to French pedigree rules, her name had to begin with an "N." And so it does. In case you were wondering, 2021 is an "S" year. There was no "Q" year. Tasha on "birthday eve," yesterday. I wish I had gotten it together to get Tasha groomed, but it hasn't happened yet. So here she is in her scraggly splendor, a little unkempt around the edges, but still beautiful. And since we switched her ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Natasha, Tasha

Wall and window

I think, based on the order these photos are in, that this is one of the walls of the medieval château at Loches. But I wouldn't bet my life on it. I think it's an interesting composition nonetheless. A castle wall at Loches, May 2006. We've been having a little trouble recently with Tasha's, um, "bathroom" habits. She's been having a hard time "going" and, when she does, well, the result is wet and runny and not at all normal for her. Sorry.It occurred to me the other day that it may be her f...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Chateaux, Tasha, Southern Touraine, Loches

Let it snow!

A dusting. That's what we used to call this meager amount of snow. But it was fun to watch Wednesday morning as it gently floated down from the sky and start to stick on roofs, tree branches, and other cold surfaces. Our morning low started out just above freezing, then got colder as the day went on. We had snow flurries on and off all day. I built a nice fire in the wood stove and we hunkered down. Our neighbors' house across the road. Snow began sticking to cold surfaces as it got light outs...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood

Tasha Tuesday

Tasha was out with me when I took the photos of the cyclamens. So I took one (actually several) of her, too. It's evident from this photo that she needs a bath and a good brushing. Weeks of muddy walks have taken their toll. Since her birthday is later this month, I may go ahead and make a grooming appointment for her. Shaggy dog. What you can't see is the sand that she spreads around the house. Apparently the north of France is getting some snow today. We're too far south for this storm, but ...
Tags: Travel, Weather, France, WCS, Tasha

Another fog foto

Not more fog, just another picture from Saturday. We actually saw some sun on Sunday (imagine!) and it was nice. And the hunting season is over (for individual hunters, group hunts can still happen) so we don't have to worry about getting shot during Sunday walks. This weekend is the start of school winter vacations and I noticed more than the usual folks walking/jogging/cycling through the vineyard yesterday. Tasha notices them, too, and barks wildly whenever someone passes the house. Fog out...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, Garden Flowers Plants

One year ago today

I'm still lacking in new photos. The weather has been crazy wet and I don't like taking the camera out in it. The river is flooding in the usual places down below. Tasha comes back from her walks soaked and muddy and needs an "undercarriage wash" after each one, mainly to rinse the sand off before it dries and falls all over the house. It still does, but to a lesser extent. Threatening skies over the vineyards, 04 February 2020. I don't know how the vineyard workers deal with the soggy ground,...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

Inside the abbey church

Tired of these yet? This is the interior of the abbatiale (abbey church) at Fontevraud. Construction of the church began in the twelfth century. It's built mostly in the romanesque architectural style. The nave of the abbey church at Fontevraud, September 2003. The people are gathered around the tomb of Eleanor and Henry. This morning our outdoor thermometer reads zero, freezing. I'm sure it's colder out in the vineyards. And it's my morning to walk with Tasha. It's also a hunt day, but now th...
Tags: Travel, Henry, Eleanor, WCS, Tasha, Cathedrals And Churches, Fontevraud Construction

Bird watching

Now that the weather's turned cold, I put the feeders out so that the little birds in our neighborhood will stop by for a meal. One of the feeders hangs from the deck railing just outside the sliding glass door in the living room. We get a good look at the blue tits, robins (the small European variety), and finches that visit throughout the day. Tasha and Bert like to watch. The dog is entertained, the cat is thinking about lunch. We have three feeders. One seed dispenser hangs from one of the...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Bertie, Bert, Tasha

Socked in

This is the view we had all day on Friday. The fog did not burn off and we were stuck under the inversion layer. We're expecting more of the same today. A dark and gray winter's day. The air is still and sounds are muffled. At one point during my morning walk with Tasha, the silence was broken by the faint sound of flapping wings as a flock of small birds flew just overhead. It's a sound I've heard before, unfamiliar, kind of eerie, especially when it comes from behind and gets closer. Once I ...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha

A light dusting

When it got light outside on Monday morning, we noticed that it was snowing very gently. There was no wind, the flakes were small, but it was coming down. Tasha and I had a nice walk in the falling snow. It wasn't sticking to the road and other bare spots, but there was a light frosting on the vine trunks, posts, hedges, roofs, and some grassy spots. It was subtle and beautiful. Monday morning's view from our guest room window. After about an hour, the snow turned to rain and melted away the l...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

Almost there

At the bottom of the path through the woods, we emerge on the valley floor where several agricultural parcels are planted in grains each year. There are some houses, a couple of small orchards and private vegetable gardens, all connected by dirt roads to the paved road that parallels the river. Tasha is ready to venture back into the light. I started walking this route back in 2003 with our first dog, Collette. Callie and I took most of our afternoon walks this way, except for springtime when ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood, Cher Valley, Collette Callie

Not out of the woods yet

Tasha lagged behind me as we continued down the hill. Something got her attention and it needed some intensive sniffing. I'm sure she wonders why I don't find all the smells fascinating. She caught up with me before I got out of sight. Halfway to the bottom. So, here we are in December. A few months ago, I thought November 3 would never arrive. Now it has come and gone, nearly a month behind us already. We've begun planning for our end-of-the-year meals. Not that there's much planning to do. I...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood, Cher Valley

Hi-ho, hi-ho, into the woods we go

To get down to the river valley, Tasha and I walk through these woods along a path that's in some places wide enough for a tractor and, in other places, only wide enough for one person to pass. The narrow part is where somebody cut down the trees (some years ago now) and the re-growth filled in with vigor. On hot summer days, the path through the woods is shady and cool. On dark winter days, it can feel downright spooky. Tasha sniffs the ground on the way down the hill. The temperature on the ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood, Cher Valley

Dog on the move

When we first set out for our walks, Tasha is excited. She bounces around, back and forth, sniffing the ground for signs of whoever, or whatever, went before us. This is the start of Saturday afternoon's walk, not long before sunset. We headed down the hill from our back gate to the path that takes us further down into the river valley. Tasha knows the way by heart. Our route takes us down and around the vines you see on the right, then we head into the woods. Saturday was a pleasant, sunny, a...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

OK, I lied

Another Beaujolais post. Ken came home from the grocery store with a new supply of Beaujolais nouveau for the coming week. Good thing. These bottles come from Super U and are sold under the store's brand. We drank the one with the purple peacock feather label (second from the left) on Saturday and it was tasty. I don't know what the peacock feather motif is all about. The grape variety used to make Beaujolais wines is gamay. Nouveau wines from Super U. The one on the right says "No ADDED sulfi...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Nouveau, Ken, WCS, Wine And Spirits, Tasha, Super U

Bare vines

Fall progresses, nearly two-thirds done by the calendar. The vineyard parcels out back have lost most of their leaves and the deciduous trees are not far behind. November vines. We're expecting a storm to blow in around mid-day. Some gusty winds and rain are predicted, so it will be an indoor day for us, except for taking Tasha out for her walks. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

View from the den

Here's a view looking westerly from the den. The view was opened up earlier this year when we had a big spruce tree taken out. The tree was too close to the house, too crowded between the tilleul and a Himalayan cedar and, most importantly, it was dying. I'm glad not to have the needles raining down on the roof and gutters. Looking out toward the vegetable garden from the den. This morning we're under heavy fog. I went out in the dark with Tasha (so she could do her business) and everything wa...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, Garden Flowers Plants

Tasha Tuesday

What better way to calm the election day jitters than a photo of Tasha in the vineyard? This photo is over a week old and the vines are looking a lot barer out there now, especially with the rain and wind we've had since. But the color is not all gone yet. Tasha among the vines on a bright fall day. I'm going to a new dentist today. Ken found him when he broke a tooth a couple of weeks ago. I also broke a tooth around the same time in a strange coincidence. Neither of us has been to our dentis...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

October sunrise

This was Monday morning's sunrise over the vineyards. Big clouds dominated the sky, but the sun had several openings and painted the cloud tops orange and pink. Since it wasn't raining, Tasha and I went all the way to the end of the dirt road and enjoyed the views. Looking west at sunrise. We cut into the big ripe muscade pumpkin on Tuesday. I roasted half of it and we're using the other half in various ways. Some of the roasted flesh went into a savory pumpkin cake. Some of it went into a big...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard

Tasha Tuesday

Just before I took this, Tasha took a big drink from the puddle you can see behind her. She has been delighting in drinking from the puddles in the vineyard road since the rains came. There were none for most of the summer. I suspect that puddle water tastes much better than the stuff she gets in her bowl. I can't confirm that, as I do not partake. Maybe we should bottle the puddle water and sell it. Today is the day that Tasha gets her monthly flea and tick preventative. It's a chewable table...
Tags: Travel, Julie Andrews, WCS, Tasha

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