Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More from the fall vineyard

I suspect that, now that we're back to normal fall weather, the changing of the leaves will accelerate a little. For now it's mostly the leaves on the grape vines that are showing off, but there are subtle signs of change everywhere.

The vineyard road winds back and forth through this view toward the west.

Some of you may recognize this as the view we have from the west side of our house, but I wasn't in the house when I took the picture. I was out "in" the view itself. These are the vineyards that we walk through daily with Callie.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Funky feline fotos

Here's Bert sitting with me on the deck on Saturday. The weekend's weather was very summery and we enjoyed being outdoors. It may be the last time this year as the weather is predicted to go back to normal starting today.

Bertie the black cat. Boo!

I often see Bert late in the afternoon sunning himself in the driveway. He curls up next to the log pile and snoozes. As the shadows chase the sun away, Bert shifts his position until the shadows win, then he heads out to find another spot.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like autumn

We're enjoying a brief, but welcome, spell of warm weather. T-shirt weather in mid-October. Very nice. But it won't last much longer. The days are shorter, the sun is lower in the sky, and the leaves are turning and falling. The vineyards are putting on a show.

Fall colors in the vineyard.

And, because it's Sunday, it's a hunt day. I have to get out and back with Callie before nine o'clock. That's when the hunters show up. We want to be well out of their way.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Coleus with spider

Our house has a north-facing window in the living room and we like to keep window boxes just outside. Since it doesn't get direct sun, we've often planted impatiens out there. They provide a lush green and colorful blooms in the summer. A few years ago, our local garden shop stopped carrying impatiens because their crop apparently got some disease. So we turned to coleus for the north side window boxes.

Our coleus beginning to flower. There's a white crab spider hiding on the stalk at the very top among the flowers.

The coleus provide nice color outside the window from spring through fall. And we've found that they're easy to root from cuttings for more plants. If we're careful, we can keep them going indoors through the winter for another spring crop.

By the way, Ken and I do not consult on our daily blog posts. When we do the same thing, it's purely by coincidence. I just noticed, after I published this post, that Ken has a photo of the same plant on his blog today. Cue Twilight Zone theme music...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dried on the vine

This is not how raisins are made. But you'd be forgiven for thinking so, given the state of these bunches. In French, the word raisin means grape. What we Americans know as raisins are called raisins secs (dry grapes) in France. It's similar to prunes (plums) and pruneaux (prunes). I think that when similar words in both languages mean different things they're called faux amis (false friends). It can be a little confusing until you get used to it.

I think this vine might be sick; the leaves all dropped and the grapes dried up before the harvest.

We had a decent rain event last evening and overnight. I haven't checked the gauge yet to see how much rain we got, but we were expecting something approaching an inch in all. It's all over now and we're expecting an unseasonably warm weekend. It's time to get a bunch of yard work done while we can.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday and blogiversary

It was nine years ago today that I started this blog, on the occasion of my return from my first trip back to the U.S. since moving to France. I spent a week in upstate New York to see family and friends, then another week in the San Francisco Bay Area with friends. This photo is from a dinner out in a French restaurant in Silicon Valley; I think it was called "Brigitte's" and it's now gone.

Left to right: John, Candy, me (in back), and Cheryl. A good time was had by all!

Blogging was relatively new back then and I was looking for a way to share photos and stories about our new life in France with friends back in the U.S. Until I started the blog, I was sending emails with photos. Ugh! So 20th century, especially for 2005. So, here we are, nine years and 3,004 posts later, and it's still going on. I don't know how much longer it will last, but I'd like to make it at least to ten years. Facebook seems to be sucking up much of what little attention spans people have left these days. I find FB a little overwhelming and lacking in the personal design elements that a blog can offer. Such is life. I also preferred beta to VHS and look how that ended up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Les feuilles mortes

The autumn leaves are beginning to fall. Mais elles ne se remassent pas à la pelle, pas encore. It's way too early to start raking. I usually wait until most, if not all, of the leaves come down before I deal with them. Normally we move the big maple leaves out front onto the garden plots to keep weeds down over winter. Some of the linden tree leaves out back get used that way, too. The leaves that fall on the grass will get mowed into mulch.

Autumn leaves getting ready to drop.

On Tuesday, Ken had some errands to run, so I did not cut logs. I don't want to use the big chainsaw when I'm home alone. So instead, I worked on cutting down spent flower stalks and grinding them up for the compost pile. They're the tall yellow sunflowers I posted about recently, and we have two patches of them. When the flowers fade, they don't look so nice, so I cut them off at about a foot high. They're very invasive and in one place had started to grow into our pathways, so I pulled as many of them as I could, along with their webby roots. Into the chipper they went, then onto the compost pile.