Posts filtered by tags: Our Neighborhood[x]


 

The sky's on fire

Well, no, it isn't. It just looked that way on Saturday morning as the sun rose. I had to move fast, and the few photos I took don't communicate any of the drama I felt as the light intensified. I should have taken a video. After a few minutes, the vibrant colors dulled and faded into a more familiar gray. Looking southeast toward the sunrise on Saturday. Later in the morning, we got some snow. Very fine flakes fell for about a minute, then it was over. We had some rain overnight. [Author: wcs...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Our Neighborhood


I see you

Until last fall, the view of this house from our deck was obscured by two very tall pine trees. Our neighbor has since had those trees removed. And now that the leaves have fallen from the other trees, this is what we see. Fortunately for us, the neighbor who owns this house does not live in it. She uses it for holidays and summer visits. When she's here, she's very discreet. We hope she has no plans to sell. The view should be blocked a little better when the maple and other leaves come back ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood


La gelée

The past few mornings have been very frosty. With morning lows below freezing, it's no surprise. Once the sun comes out (when it does), the frost melts away pretty quickly, except in places that stay shaded all day. Heavy frosts remind us that it's winter without the mess of an actual snowfall. And, we are told, freezes are good for helping to reduce the populations of insect and plant pests. The frosty view of a neighbor's property from our deck just after sunrise on Monday morning. A weather...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Atlantic, WCS, Our Neighborhood


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


There goes the sun

The sun is rising later and later these days. Here, today, it will officially be up at 08h14. And we'll continue losing daylight until the solstice in December. Driving is a pain right now, because the sun is so low in the sky that it's just blinding, especially when driving east in the morning. We're not supposed to be out for much these days anyway, except for food shopping and medical visits. And getting the car inspected. By the way, it passed, so we're good for another two years. That's a g...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Peugeot, Ken, WCS, Our Neighborhood


View from the deck

Here's the view from our deck out across the road to our neighbors' property. The neighbors (who live in Blois) have spent the summer and fall doing a lot of trimming and pruning and other landscaping work in their large yard. It all looks very different from what we were used to, but good nonetheless. They often come down with their kids, grandkids, and friends and spend hours working in the yard. The shrub with the red leaves is a snowball bush. Now, however, while we're under confinement, t...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Blois, Our Neighborhood


Chilly

It's cold outside this morning. The thermometer on the deck reads 2.2ºC (about 36ºF). I guess that's why they call it Novembrrrrr. With the cold come clear skies, so we can expect a bright and sunny day. Looking northeasterly over the vineyards toward our hamlet and across the river valley. My dental appointment went fine, pretty much as expected. There's no way to fill the tooth, there's not enough of it left for that. I can opt for a root canal and a crown. The x-rays showed that the roots a...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard, Our Neighborhood, Cher Valley


Rosey

These roses belong to one of our neighbors. They looked like this a few days ago before the rain moved in and knocked off many of the flower petals. In our climate, and if conditions are right, some roses will bloom into December. Pink roses on a neighbor's fence. In less than three weeks we will move our clocks back to standard time. It could be the last time. Europe is expected to eliminate the annual time change in 2021, and France has chosen to keep Summer Time permanent when that happens....
Tags: Travel, Europe, France, WCS, Our Neighborhood, Rosey


Puddles

Last week we had some rain and I saw something that I hadn't seen in a while: puddles in the vineyard road. This view of our hamlet from out in the vineyard will be familiar to regular readers of the blog. I wasn't very far out yet when I stopped to wait for Tasha to catch up after she spent some time smelling things. Tasha likes the puddles. She won't step in them, but she'll stop and take a drink. The puddles have dried up now and, while the days are more or less cloudy, there's no rain in t...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard, Our Neighborhood


One more from the woods

Storm damage. We avoid the woods when the wind is blowing strong. Branches break, trees topple. So on windy days we stick to the open vineyards for our walks. Better safe than sorry. Besides, when the woods are windy, they creak and crack and sound kind of haunted. Boo! Broken and fallen branches littler the woods thanks to windy storms. We're in for a few rather hot days. It only makes sense; we're moving toward August. This weekend is the major summer chassé-croisé (criss-cross) between peop...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood, Boo Broken


Summer time

This is one of the paths that Tasha and I take once we get to the bottom of the hill to our north. It winds along next to one of the streams that gets its start in the vineyards above then flows (when there's water) down to the river. Behind me in this photo is a wooden house that's rented out as a gîte (vacation rental), complete with a swimming pool. I didn't take a photo of it because it was occupied and the family was out enjoying the pool. The stream bed is to the left in this photo. Whea...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood, Cher Valley


Harvested

This is one of two fields of grain that are farmed down at the bottom of the path we take through the woods. It's often planted in wheat, but sometimes in barley or other grains. One year it was resplendent with sunflowers. Just a couple of weeks ago, the farmer harvested both fields. As fall approaches, he'll plow the fields and re-plant if he's growing winter wheat. Looking basically north toward the river. It's behind those tall trees. We had some rain on Sunday morning. Not a great soaking...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood, Cher Valley


Nature takes over

Most of the woods around us are not very old. Patches are cut from time to time when the trees get too tall or old. I think a lot of people use the wood on their land for firewood. You can see when a landowner cuts down a patch of woods, he cuts the logs into one-meter lengths and stacks them to season for a year or two before they start disappearing. Some people sell their firewood, others keep it for personal use. A stump decomposing in the woods. It doesn't take long for the woods to regene...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood


A walk in the woods

There's a path through the woods to the north of us that leads down into the river valley. I used to walk through there with Collette and then the route became a favorite afternoon walk with Callie. For the last few years, however, the path became overgrown with brush and brambles and we stopped going that way. Tasha leads the way down the hill through the woods. At the bottom are some large wheat fields. This past spring, however, someone (maybe the town) cleared the path and it's once again ...
Tags: Travel, Collette, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood


Sunny day

When the sun is out and it's a hot day, I put the umbrella out on the deck. It shades the table and keeps a good section of the deck tiles from getting hot. This photo is from Thursday at about noon. The thermometer on the table shows 25.5ºC (about 78ºF). It got warmer as the afternoon progressed. The deck gets fully shaded a few hours after noon. The umbrella helps at mid-day. After lunch, I was sitting on the deck enjoying a glass of red when one our neighbors showed up at the gate. She live...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Paris, Our House, WCS, Our Neighborhood


Labor Day

Today is la fête du travail (labor day) in France. It's a national holiday, but in this period of confinement it will be hard to notice. Except that there will be no mail delivery. It's the first of a string of May holidays and long weekends until, in normal years, school gets out at the end of June. But this isn't a normal year. The government is talking about a progressive déconfinement, including the reopening of schools, starting in mid May. Our back gate on a rainy day. The pond is full o...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, France, Ken, WCS, Our Neighborhood


More rain

I got some more grass cut on Monday afternoon, but didn't finish. The dew was heavy in the morning, so I had to wait until after lunch. Not surprisingly, I ran out of steam after a while and had to stop. Then the rain came back. It rained most of the afternoon and into the evening. I still have a section of grass to cut, but it will have to wait. By the time I get to it, the south 40 will likely need cutting again. The rain was getting heavier as Tasha and I high-tailed it back home on Saturda...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood


Tower of power

No? Ok. It's just a microwave/telecommunications tower. I think. It's called un pylône in French. We can see this one from out toward the end of our dog walking route in the vineyards. It stands pretty much in the middle of nowhere, between vineyards and forest. Le pylône, seen at sunrise from out among the grape vines. More progress in the yard! I power washed a few concrete planter boxes that we use on the deck. If I remember correctly, we got them back in 2003, the first year we were in the...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood


Hellebore

I think this is a variety of hellebore, but I'm not sure. I didn't plant them, they come up in our neighbor's garden across the road. When they're not at their vacation house, Ken and I will often walk through their grassy property with Tasha, partly to keep an eye on things and partly to vary our route, especially when the vineyard road is a muddy mess. Hellebores are "hellébores" in French. That makes it easy to remember. But there's no mud to speak of right now. A week of dry weather, with ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood, Garden Flowers Plants


More primroses

Our morning low temperatures are flirting with zero (freezing) right now. So far, we've stayed above freezing. I've seen no evidence of the grape growers putting out smudge pots or burning hay bales to fight against a freeze. Yesterday, I heard the helicopter-like sound of big fans blowing in the distance, but not many vineyards around us are so equipped. Purple primevères in a neighbor's yard. Meanwhile, we're still enjoying the spring bloom. Trees, shrubs, and bulbs are putting on their annu...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Our Neighborhood, Garden Flowers Plants


Narcissi

One of our neighbors has a nice little flower bed in her garden near the road. Right now, these daffodils are blooming. They're a multiple-head variety that, from what I can find on the internet, are called "bride." I think they're quite striking and I'm tempted to look for some next fall. If I can remember. Bride daffodils (I think) in a neighbor's garden. We've been keeping Bert closed up indoors for two nights now, closing off the access to the garage for the other neighborhood cats that ar...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Bert, Our Neighborhood, Garden Flowers Plants


Last-sythia

Our forsythia is on the left and a neighbor's is on the right. I'm sure there are more somewhere in the hamlet, but they're not easily seen from the road. The forsythia add some bright spots of color to the neighborhood this time of year. So, we're self-quarantining. Well, not really. We've just decided to minimize contact with the outside for a while. Not difficult for me, as I've only gone out of the neighborhood twice in a month. We've been to the grocery store, have a well-stocked pantry, ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Macron, Tasha, Our Neighborhood, Garden Flowers Plants


Valley fog

The other day, while walking with Tasha among the vines, I saw some low fog down on the river. I had the 100mm macro lens on the camera, not a great lens for long shots. Still, I got this one and, with a little processing, I think it came out okay. Our hamlet above the fogged-in Cher Valley. I think black and white gives the photo more mood. We're going into another rainy period now, according to the forecasters. Still no freezing weather. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood, Cher Valley


Thin ice

Late last week, the little pond outside our back gate froze over. Granted, the ice layer was paper thin, but it was there nonetheless. Since we've been here, the pond has frozen many times, but I don't think it's ever been frozen enough to walk on. Even if this ice were thick enough, skating would be impossible because of the all the plants sticking through. Now our weather has warmed back up. Today is rainy and that means more mud. And shorter walks with Tasha. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood


It's not so bad

Here's a photo I took on Friday morning of the area behind our hedge where the construction equipment was parked for three months and the big trucks and backhoes pulled in and out. It doesn't look too bad in the picture and, in fact, it's not so bad. I do think winter and spring weather will help it to settle and smooth out. Looking north on Friday. Our back hedge is on the right side. What was left of the pile of gravel has been smoothed out. Compare that image with the one below, taken in la...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood


It's gone

Earlier this week, the construction crew removed the remaining trailer and other construction equipment from their temporary storage lot behind our house. After three months, we have our view back! This is the usual view from one of our west-facing windows. Below is what it looked like a couple of weeks ago. We were beginning to think this was going to be a permanent installation. We didn't see any activity out there since before the holidays when the crew took away the white trailer and the b...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood


Tired of trailers

There has been no construction activity for two weeks during the holiday school vacations. These trailers and a backhoe are still sitting out behind our house. It will soon be three months since they showed up. I'm wondering if today, the first work day after vacations, there will be something going on. I'm really tired of seeing these out there. I'm tired of our road being a mess, and I'm tired of not being able to walk outside the back gate because of muddy ruts in the ground. The weather is n...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood


Sunny day

Saturday was a nice day. We had a clear (and chilly) morning and the sun stayed with us all day. Talk about making the season bright; sunshine works better than "a turkey and some mistletoe." The ground is still saturated and walking is not easy in some places, but Tasha and I stay mainly on the dirt road, which is drier now than it has been. The is the view from our front deck again. Compare it to the foggy image from Friday. What a difference a day makes! The screws we ordered to complete th...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, Our Neighborhood