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The last of the hydrangeas

Our hydrangeas still have a couple of flower heads with color. Most have faded to white. I'll be pruning them back once the leaves fall. Our hydrangea flowers are pink and purple. I've tried to get that elusive blue with no luck. They're still pretty. I pushed myself and got the south forty mowed yesterday afternoon. It looks much better. I'm planning to do the west forty today, then the north forty on Friday. The weather is good so I need to "make hay" while the sun shines, as they say. I can...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard, Garden Flowers Plants


Chicken Pad Thai

This was Monday's lunch. Ken made a variation on Pad Thai using chicken breast and bell peppers. We had some Chinese wheat noodles in the pantry that we used instead of flat rice noodles. The sauce was easy with the ingredients we have on hand. Peanuts gave the dish some crunch, and we garnished with fresh chives from the garden and the other half of the bunch of cilantro I got on Saturday. Needless to say, we ate it all. A what-we-had-on-hand version of Pad Thai. Some kinda good! During my wa...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard, Food And Cooking


Corn silks

The corn cobs in the two corn fields out back have matured. There aren't many, and most of them are thin, not like good eating corn. I'm sure it's not eating corn, anyway. The French get their corn out of cans. Corn on the cob is not sweet and is grown as feed for pigs and other livestock. Corn silks on tiny corn cobs. Every once in a while we'll find sweet corn on the cob in the supermarket. Ken did once this summer and we enjoyed it cooked on the grill. It's one of those things that remind m...
Tags: Travel, US, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard


One year ago today

Looking back at my blog posts for this time last year, I see that we were in a heat wave. The grape harvest was nearly complete, and the daily work got under way even before the sun rose. It's a very different year now. We had more rain this summer than any in recent memory. The grape harvest hasn't even begun yet. And while we just had a week of moderately hot and dry weather, it wasn't harsh and it didn't last long. Grape harvesters seen from our house at sunrise a year ago, September 16, 20...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


Lost Found

I don't know how it's possible, but somehow I lost my eyeglasses. I went out for an afternoon walk with Tasha and at some point realized I didn't have my glasses on. This happens every now and then. I go out the door in a hurry and forget to put them on, often because I was wearing my computer glasses just before going out. So, I figured, they're probably home on my desk. But when I got home, I couldn't find them anywhere. Panic set in. Did I drop them in the vineyard? They're out there. I wen...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Another golden sunrise photo

I took this photo a week ago while we were still in our mini heat wave. The weather is still good, just not as hot. The angle of the light this time of year shining on the brown grasses makes them look painted in gold. The end of the dirt road through the vineyards, the half-way point in our morning walks. Mary in Oregon asked if I enhanced the color for these shots. The answer is yes. I take my pictures in RAW format. That requires that I use software to "develop" them before exporting them a...
Tags: Travel, Oregon, Mary, WCS, The Vineyard


A boy and his dog

Having fun with shadows. Tasha went "snout to the ground" as I snapped the photo so her shadow lost its ears. Better luck next time. Luke Skywalker and R2D2? I sometimes call her Kenobi, as in Obi Quiet, Kenobi. Bert came in from outside just before two a.m. this morning. With a mouse. At least it was dead by the time he dropped it on the landing. I made sure he ate it before I climbed back up to bed. I wonder what he does for hours out there in the dark before he decides to come inside. [Auth...
Tags: Travel, Luke Skywalker, WCS, Bertie, Tasha, Kenobi, The Vineyard, Obi Quiet Kenobi Bert


Trimmed and mowed

This past week, while the weather was warm and dry, the vineyards out back got trimmed and mowed. The guy that did the work drove a tractor over the vines with an attachment that trims the tendrils from the tops and sides of the vines. After that was done, he drove the tractor pulling a mowing attachment between the vine rows to cut the grass down. Everything is squared off and we can walk between the rows again. Trimmed and ready for harvest. I wonder when they'll start. The plumber and his h...
Tags: Travel, Our House, WCS, The Vineyard


Grapey

The grapes have enjoyed our week of summery weather. They're looking pretty ripe out there now. I haven't seen any of the growers testing the grapes for sugar levels yet, so I don't think the harvest is about to start. I'll keep my eyes open. Much riper looking now than just a week ago. Our plumber is coming over this morning, bright and early, to replace our shower door. You might remember that we had a new shower stall built about five years ago. The door, a folding glass door, came loose sh...
Tags: Travel, Our House, WCS, The Vineyard


September sunrise

The sun rose yesterday in a clear sky. Tasha and I enjoyed our sunrise walk. I think we started around 07h30. The sunrises are getting later and later as we near the equinox. This photo is from early in our walk, looking back at the hamlet as we make our way west. Looking easterly at sunrise on Tuesday. On Sunday morning we saw a sure sign of the coming autumn: hunters were out past the end of the dirt road participating in a battue (an organized hunt). They were likely hunting deer or foxes. ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard, Our Neighborhood, Cher Valley


It's not Vigeland...

The first thing I thought of when I saw this pile of grape vine trunks in one of the dug-up parcels out back this summer was the sculpture by Gustav Vigeland in Frogner Park, Oslo, Norway. A friend of mine (now deceased) visited Scandinavia when she was younger and had taken photos of that evocative sculpture. I've never visited Norway, so I've not seen the sculpture in person. A pile of dead grape vine trunks in the vineyards behind our house. We're enjoying the warm and, so far, dry weather....
Tags: Travel, Norway, Scandinavia, WCS, The Vineyard, Gustav Vigeland, Vigeland, Frogner Park Oslo Norway, Andrew Shiva Wikipedia


Change is our friend

In this case. The cabernet, côt, and gamay grapes are starting to turn color. That means they're ripening. I wonder how much they will ripen if the weather gets cold again. Not that it's hot now, but it's pleasantly warm and dry (even though we had an unexpected rain shower yesterday). I saw a tractor out in the vineyards yesterday trimming the vines. I think they need to do that to keep the vines ventilated and as part of the preparation for harvest time. "Red" grapes go from green to purple ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard, Garden Flowers Plants


Too soon?

The "early turners," as I call them, are doing their thing. Each year some of the grape vines get a head start on their fall colors. The grapes are just beginning to ripen, but certain vines think it's fall. It's not because of the weather. This happens every year. It's a little preview of what will happen in the coming months. Fall is on its way. Some days, it feels like it's been here all along. The new stove was delivered as promised and the delivery guys installed it and took the old one a...
Tags: Travel, Our House, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard


Kornfield Kounty

This is one of two small fields of corn that have appeared in vacant parcels out among the grape vines the past two years. This year, probably because of all the rain we've had, the corn is very high. There are little cobs, too, but they're very little, probably because they need even more water to grow to a normal size. Neither of these cornfields is irrigated. I doubt that this is sweet corn. It's more likely feed corn like most of the corn grown in France. A field of corn out among the vine...
Tags: Travel, France, Our House, WCS, The Vineyard, Kornfield Kounty


Corny

Someone has been planting corn (maize) in a couple of fields out among the grape vines. At first the parcels were planted in millet for a year or two, but now it's corn. It's curious because I never see any irrigation going on out there, and I know that corn needs to be watered, except maybe for this year because it's been so wet. A lot of corn is grown down in the river valley, but even there it's regularly irrigated. Not quite as high as an elephant's eye. It looks like we'll be having some ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


The state of the grapes

They're growing. The grape bunches are getting bigger as the individual grapes plump up. It's too early for color, that is the red grapes actually turning red, so to tell what variety this is, one has to recognize the shape of the leaves or, if you're a grower, know (and remember) what is planted where. I'm guessing that this is sauvignon blanc based on the leaf shape. The blue tint on the leaves is sprayed copper sulfate to help prevent fungus. In the never-ending saga of yard work, Ken did s...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard


Where the wild things go

This "hole" in the woods leads into a ravine and to a small stream that runs down to the river. Tasha likes to sniff around this spot, but she doesn't go inside. I have gone in from another angle only to find the junk that someone once dumped in there. Otherwise, it is the realm of deer, foxes, rabbits, and who knows what other wild creatures. Would you go inside? The Tour de France ended with a spectacular weather day in Paris yesterday. The cyclists rode through the Cour Carrée at the Louvre...
Tags: Travel, Paris, Louvre, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Wildflowers

Wherever there is open space around us, the tall grasses and wildflowers thrive. This is a space between the vineyard road and the old storage cabin out there. Every once in a while, the growers will come by with a mower and cut it down, but that hasn't happened in this spot for a while. Wildflowers and grasses. We're expecting a nice day today. Dry with a high in the mid twenties (mid seventies F). I should get an outdoor project done in advance of yet another couple of chilly rain systems pr...
Tags: Travel, Wildflowers, WCS, The Vineyard


Neat and trim

The past few days have seen a lot of trimming going on out in the vineyards. A small tractor, fitted with cutting blades, slices the long vine tendrils from the plant to help direct the plant's energy to making grapes rather than leaves. The result is row after row of neat-looking rectangular vines. Compare and contrast: untrimmed vines on the left, trimmed vines on the right. The weather cooperated yesterday and I got the west and north 40s mowed. Yay! I have one other mowing job to do and th...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


It's grapes!

The flowering stage is just about over and grapes are forming in the vineyards out back. Meanwhile, the growers and other workers are busy trimming, mowing, and plowing. Grapes forming on the vines out back. I'm still hopeful that our weather will turn into summer at some point. So far, it's been pretty much a washout. This morning the sky is deeply overcast after a rain system moved through in the wee hours. The sun's up, but it's still pretty dark out there. Tasha and I will go for our morni...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Red flag

The grower that owns most of the vines out behind our house uses lengths of red and white "do not cross" tape to mark certain rows in his vineyards. They mark the rows he drives the big tractors in when he sprays the vines. His tractors have arms that reach out to spray several rows at a time, reducing the number of passes he has to make. Ain't agriculture fun! It's not charming but it does the trick. Our weather is not really improving. The forecast I saw yesterday for a warm weekend has been...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


Summer vacation

Ever since Wednesday night's thunderstorms, it seems that summer has gone away on vacation. The air is much cooler, much cloudier, and it rains off and on. I want to cut the grass, but it's too wet. I need to weed the vegetable garden, but it's too wet. At least I don't have to water outdoors. A summery day last week out in the vineyards. It was raining lightly when I woke up this morning, and I see by the radar that a mild thunderstorm is headed our way in the next hour or so. More serious st...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, The Vineyard


Grape buds

It's that time of year. The grape vines are about to flower. These are grape flower buds on one of the vines out back. The flowers look to be abundant this year. When they open, they won't really look like flowers as there are no visible petals, just pollen spikes. Shortly after fertilization, the grape berries themselves will form. These grape buds will open soon, then as the grape berries form and get heavier, the bunch will bend downward. Today is a busy day for me. Tasha has a grooming app...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Sunday sunrise

I was outside with the camera right around sunrise on Sunday taking pictures of the zucchini blossom. The sky was partly cloudy and the sun was painting pink light on the clouds. So, naturally, I pointed the camera skyward. Looking west at sunrise from our yard toward the vineyards. Two weeks from today is the summer solstice. We're still gaining about a minute of daylight each day, but that will slow down and reverse as June ends. Our weather hasn't been very summery so far. I hope that chang...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard, Garden Flowers Plants


Green at last

Our chilly month of May really slowed down the growth of leaves on the grape vines in the vineyards around us. But now that the weather has started to warm up again, the vineyards are getting greener. The growers out back have spent the last day or so spraying what I'm assuming is a variant of bouillie bordelaise, a copper sulfate solution that helps prevent fungus from damaging the leaves and grapes. The solution is available to home gardeners, too, and I will soon be spraying my own tomato pla...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard, Garden Flowers Plants


Tuesday (with Tasha)

I can't really call this "Tasha Tuesday" because she's hardly visible in the photo. But she's in there. This is the spot where we turn around on our morning walks to head back home. More or less the half-way point of our walk. The dirt road we walk on through the vineyards ends where it meets two paved roads. Cars move quickly on the paved roads, so we don't walk on them. Tasha rarely comes out to the intersection with me. She waits further back. I used to walk with Callie along these paved ro...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Callie, The Vineyard


Moon over sunrise

I took this photo a few Saturdays ago. As the sun rose behind me, the close-to-half moon was starting to set out toward the west. I had the 24mm wide angle lens on the camera for a much broader view of these vineyard parcels than I usually get with the 50mm lens. The moon is just visible in the upper left of the photo. Our landscape contractor emailed me the other day to say that he's got us scheduled for late June/early July. He and his crew are going to renovate the garden path, remove a row...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


Me and my shadow

Well, my shadow, no me. The weather remains very spring-like. And not in a good way. It's not warm. We're having wind and rain squalls. Can't really do much outside. Looking west on a sunny morning a couple of Sundays ago. I did have a successful trip to the market over in Selles-sur-Cher yesterday. I got the flowering plants for the kitchen window boxes. I chose a two-toned deep red surfinia (cascading petunia). The choice was difficult because there were some very interesting colors to choos...
Tags: Travel, Cher, WCS, The Vineyard, Selles


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


Wide angle

I took this photo not far from yesterday's "Tasha Tuesday" image. The camera is pointed almost directly at the sun. In yesterday's shot, the sun is actually in the picture. It's more or less a white blob in the center right. I cropped the sun out of today's photo. Looking easterly on Sunday morning toward our hamlet. These photos were an experiment with my wide-angle lens. It's a 24mm fixed lens, not the widest of wide angles. My standard lens is a 50mm fixed, so this is almost twice the "widt...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard