Posts filtered by tags: The Vineyard[x]


 

The greening of the vineyard

This photo is almost a week old now. The vineyards are turning from winter brown to spring green as the leaves multiply and grow. All the greens around us now are spring-fresh. I went to the Saint-Aignan market on Saturday (for strawberries) and noticed that, even though it was overcast and raining, everything looked beautiful, even the old gray stone of the town. We haven't see the sun in a couple of days, but all the plants will appreciate the rain we're getting. We've made good progress on ...
Tags: The Vineyard, Wcs


Grape buds

Not to be confused with "Grape Nuts," an American breakfast cereal which, by the way, Wikipedia explains is made from neither grapes nor nuts. Discuss. The immature grape bunches are pointing skyward now, but as they grow, they'll bend toward the ground. These little buds will open into barely perceptible flowers soon and, once pollinated, will become tiny bunches of grapes. The grapes will spend the summer growing and ripening until harvest time. The main activity right now out in the vineyar...
Tags: Travel, Wikipedia, WCS, The Vineyard


Tasha Tuesday

The vineyards are getting greener and greener. This week, with all the predicted sun, we should see even more growth. I can see that there are already grape flower buds in most of the parcels. Pretty soon I won't be able to see Tasha when she ducks into vine rows. Ken has started, in earnest, the job of preparing the loft for construction. There's a lot of stuff to go through (and get rid of) before we can move furniture. I plan to make a run to the dump at some point this week. Then we have t...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Le pliage

After the winter pruning is done, the spring task in the vineyards is le pliage, the folding, of the remaining single canes to make them horizontal. The buds on that cane will then grow vertically and will flower and, eventually, produce grapes. The single canes are bent to the horizontal and wrapped around the guide wires. It seems to be mostly done now, with a few parcels left to go. One of the guys that works out behind our house told me that le pliage could not be done before the last thre...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


Of smudge pots and hay bales

This morning I woke up to the flickering light of smudge pots burning in the vineyard parcels to our north. The growers were up early to light them. On Saturday morning, another grower was out to the west burning bales of hay on the northern slopes of his parcels. The smoke was blowing over the vines when I walked Tasha just after sunrise. Smoldering hay bales produce smoke out in the western parcels. That grower told me that he measured -1ºC (about 30ºF) in his parcels. He didn't want to take...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Another sunrise photo

I took this one about two weeks ago when we were having clear nights and frosty mornings. I had almost forgotten about it. Now we're having cloudy nights and warm mornings. Less frost, more mud. Looking roughly toward the northwest at sunrise last month. We're having Thanksgiving dinner for lunch today. Back around the holidays, Ken bought a whole turkey and we put it into the freezer. We also have some extra stuffing in the freezer along with some roasted winter squash. Now the turkey is thaw...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard, Our Neighborhood, Food And Cooking, Cher Valley


Everybody must get pruned

This parcel hadn't been touched when I took this photo last week, but since then I've seen the pruners out there getting it done. They were two of the vineyard workers that we've come to know over the years, but who we hadn't seen in a while. We both wondered if they were still employed by that particular grower. They are, they've just been working in some of the other parcels farther from our house. A sea of vine canes. Each trunk will only have one cane left when the pruners get done. This p...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Now that the sun is gone

It happened. The clouds came back and the temperature dropped. It's not really cold, but cooler than it has been. We're expecting rain toward the end of the weekend. So, here's a photo of a bright sunny morning in the vineyard! That's my shadow stretching into the vine rows. We're making stuffed cabbage for lunch today. Ken had blanched and frozen the outer leaves of a savoy cabbage a couple of weeks ago when we made a pot-au-feu (essentially a boiled dinner), and today's the day we'll use the...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard, Food And Cooking


Little lambs eat ivy

I'm not sure what to make of this ivy growing up a fence post. It kind of looks like a mop of hair atop a skinny teen. Maybe I spend too much time looking for things to photograph around the vineyards. Maybe it's an Entling? This common ivy grows everywhere around here. It climbs up our tree trunks like it climbed up that fence post. Year after year we're out there cutting it off at ground level so that it doesn't take over and kill the trees. Of course it grows back, but there's really no way...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


Recharging

This beautiful weather we're having right now is doing everybody good, even if the timing is a little off. The trees and other plants are soaking up the sun. Buds are beginning to form. The ground is warming, too, so I imagine the grasses and other perennials are starting to produce new growth. Our lilac bush is already covered with fat buds. A view out over the vineyards as the sun rose last Sunday morning. There's still a lot of pruning to be done. The only downside to this warm and dry Febr...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, The Vineyard


Water hole

At various places around the vineyards out back there are these depressions in the ground. They're obviously man-made and much of the year they're empty pits. But after some good rain, they fill up and hold water for a while. Some drain quickly and others stay filled a lot longer. I'm not at all sure why they're there. Perhaps it's a way to allow water to seep back into the water table for the grape vines. A lot of the rain we get drains away to the river before it can penetrate the dense clay v...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Birch bark

Well, I spent about ten minutes staring at the screen trying to think of something to write about birch bark. It's white. That's all I came up with. And it has thin dark spots. Our streak of sunny warm days continues. February may be going out like a lamb. Where does that leave March? Maybe it will come in like a goat, and out like manatee. Or, in like a spider monkey, out like a koala. In like an amoeba, out like a paramecium? [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Birch, The Vineyard


Pruning continues

Most mornings, just around sunrise, four or five cars drive up into the vineyards behind our house and park. The pruners get out and gather around one of the cars for a coffee. Then about half of them strap on battery packs that power their electric shears and start cutting vine canes. The other half work to pull the cut canes and line them up on the ground between the rows. This is the color out of the camera. The rising sun gave the early morning fog an orange glow. Thursday morning was fros...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Pruned

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of a parcel of sauvignon blanc vines that had not yet been pruned. Well, now they have been. So, I took another photo! Compare this view with the same shot from Monday's post. Our week of "nice" weather is under way. It was mostly sunny through the day on Tuesday, with the same expected today and through the weekend. And, while the mornings are still cold (around freezing), the days are warming up nicely. They're saying the weekend could feel like spring. ...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, The Vineyard


Calm

The storm moved through and the wind died down. We got a bunch of rain. Last night, when I looked out the window sometime around 02h00, the stars were clear and bright. The constellation Orion is getting lower in the western sky. We're more than half-way through winter now. This vineyard parcel, planted in sauvignon blanc, is waiting to be pruned before spring. As soon as things dry out a little, I plan to make the rounds with the wheelbarrow and gather up the twigs and branches that were blow...
Tags: Travel, Weather, France, Orion, Our House, WCS, The Vineyard


In black and white

There is certainly color in the winter vineyard. The canes that are not yet pruned have a muted reddish hue. The grass between vine rows is bright green. Evergreens on the edge of the vineyard parcels are, well, ever green. But on some days, especially on overcast and frosty days, the place seems monochromatic, almost like a black and white photo. This tree was little more than a sapling fifteen years ago when we moved here. Today is a yucky weather day. We're having rain and gusty winds. Agai...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, The Vineyard, Our Neighborhood


In the pink

Earlier this week we went from freezing morning temperatures to a more mild start to the day. I think it was on Wednesday morning when I noticed the sound of birds singing all around during my walk with Tasha. It sounded, and felt, like a nice spring morning. By contrast, frozen mornings are silent; only the occasional caw of a crow can be heard. A pink sunrise on a frosty morning earlier this week. So, I guess the transition from winter to spring is under way, even though we're still about si...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Wildlife, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Vineyard sunrise

A few nights ago the sky was relatively clear and the temperature went down to freezing. We woke to frosty grass and icy puddles. The sunrise was pretty, although I didn't get outside until after the sun was officially up. But even so, I can make mini sunrises happen if I walk down a hill and come back up toward the sun. A mini sunrise over the frosty vineyard. Now the weather has turned again and it's warm in the morning. As I type this at nearly 07h00, our outdoor thermometer reads about 10º...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Bertie, Bert, The Vineyard


Junque

Out among the vineyards are patches of woods that flank stream beds. The streams have carved deep ravines in the hillside over time. One of these in particular is close to the dirt road that runs out through the vines. In winter, with the leaves and undergrowth gone, I can see into the ravine with little effort. Somebody has used it for a dump. What a mess! There are old appliances and other junk down there. I don't think any of this is recent, but it doesn't look that old, either. Fortunately...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


No snow for us

We were on the back end of a storm that went through over night. At one point, around 01h00, I remember hearing some stiff wind outside. But I slept pretty well otherwise. We got some rain, but not a lot. North of us, however, and up into the Paris region, they got a few inches of snow. The vineyards look dull and lifeless, but the grass is green. I can feel the days starting to get longer now. I find myself looking out the windows, especially when there's some sun, thinking of all the things ...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Paris, WCS, The Vineyard


Pruning progress

As the days get lighter, the grape vines out back get pruned. The process is a little different this year because the biggest grower has new workers doing the pruning. I'm guessing that they're a team of seasonal workers, hired to go in and prune parcels quickly. Some cut, others pull the cut canes off the vines and line them up in between rows for mulching. This parcel is owned by a smaller grower. He and his wife do all the work themselves. You can see that the vines have been pruned to a si...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


Winter weather, sort of

On Saturday morning, the temperature dropped just below freezing. That was enough for heavy frost and icy windows, and to make the dirt road out through the vineyard slippery. But we got no snow, just a little rain. I had to be very careful walking the dog. I managed to stay upright, but Tasha slipped on the slick ground and went down. No harm done. A tall stand of pines at the edge of the vineyard just before sunrise. This morning it's raining again, with our morning low well above zero. Janu...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Where have all the hunters gone?

This is another one of those position markers that we see nailed to trees and posts along the vineyard road out back. They are used by hunters when they take up positions in a battue (an organized hunt). But, even though we're in the middle of hunting season, there have been very few battues in the woods and vineyards around us so far. Like, maybe one. Hunters wait at these spots for the game to be driven toward them. I'm not sure why this is. It could be that the populations of roe deer, fox,...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


Back to rocks and leaves

The tree is down, the decorations are packed away. I will take the lights off the house today. So, at least at our house, the holiday thing is once again done. It was fun. We still have the epiphany coming this weekend. For us, that only means that I'll be making une galette des rois (cake of the kings). There's a special food for every occasion in France. A rock in the road that runs through the vineyards behind our house. The days are still short, although we gain a minute or so of daylight ...
Tags: Travel, France, WCS, The Vineyard


The old fashioned way

In the spring, when all the grape vine pruning has been done, the growers will fasten the single remaining cane of each vine to the guide wires. They normally use metal fasteners that are applied with an electric stapler-like tool. But, here and there, you see some string. Whatever was tied with this piece of string is gone now. I'm thinking that the string is used during the growing season to tie up a wayward stem that didn't get fastened in the early spring. It's just a guess. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard


Broken tile

One of the grape growers with parcels out behind our house has been using broken terra cotta roof tiles to fill deep ruts in the ground at the end of his vine rows. The ruts are made by tractors and harvesters in the space between the dirt road and where the vines rows begin. The ground gets saturated with rain and becomes very soft and muddy. Broken tiles in the vineyard. The broken tiles give the tractors more traction as they enter the vine rows. The tractors' weight helps to break up tile...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard, Loches, Perrusson


Baby, it's warm outside

Today is the winter solstice. That means that the earth's northern hemisphere has reached its maximum tilt away from the sun. The days will stop getting shorter and, not long from now, will start getting longer again. Phew! There are still grapes in certain vineyard parcels. These are on the ground, but all around them there are grapes still hanging from the vines. Weird. The weather is not great. We're having a wind storm with rain that will last through the day. Yuck. But it's not cold. In f...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Holidays, Noël, WCS, The Vineyard


So long, suckers

Last October, I posted a photo of this tree out in the vineyard. The trunk was covered with suckers, those shoots of a plant that sprout around the lower stem. Since then, the grower that owns the adjacent vineyard parcel has trimmed the suckers away. The tree looks much better now. Tasha is out ahead of me on a recent morning walk through the vineyards. Most traces of fall foliage are gone. The vines are brown, but the grass has turned green again. Winter will arrive on Friday. Astronomical w...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Fogginess

We've had a few foggy days lately. On those days, the air is crystal clear before sunrise, with stars brilliant in the early morning sky. Once the sun peeks above the horizon, fog forms and thickens. It's ground fog that looks like pea soup as you look horizontally. But often, if you look directly up above your head, you can see blue sky and high clouds through the fog. Our hamlet seen, or not seen, from the vineyard on a recent foggy morning. Sometimes the fog burns off by mid-day and the sun...
Tags: Travel, Weather, San Francisco, WCS, The Vineyard


Another leaf

Oh the leaves, they are a-changin'. And they're starting to tumble off the trees. Over the next couple of weeks, our yard will be a carpet of gold, then brown. If I'm lucky, I'll get to run the mower over most of them and mulch them into the grass. Those on the paths and driveway will get raked. Grape leaves in the vineyard. They're still hanging on. It's also time to start thinking about preparing the greenhouse to receive plants from the deck and outdoors for the winter. Thinking is hard wor...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard