Friday, July 31, 2015

And the livin' is easy

It seems that we made it through our cold spell and the summer weather is returning today. The weekend will see us back in summer heat. I hope the tomatoes will like that. The rain barrels are full, so I'll be watering with free water for a while. There's not much going on in the vineyards that I can see. They've been doing a lot of mowing out there lately, and they've completed another round of trimming the vines into neat rows.

A mid-summer morning among the vines.

I finally (after a couple of weeks) took the step to drill holes in the newly painted den walls to hang pictures. I'm not done yet, but so far I'm liking it. Maybe there will be photos...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Winter squash

I planted six winter squash plants in this year's garden: two acorn, two butternut, and two potimarron (red kuri squash). The plants are beautiful and are spreading all over the place. I got a little worried when I noticed that, for the longest time, there were plenty of blossoms but absolutely no fruit. I wondered if I had planted all duds.

This squash's skin should darken to a very deep green as we get closer to harvest time.

But one day I noticed this acorn squash under the leaves. A few days later I noticed a couple more. And now there are several potimarrons coming along. Phew! There are still no signs of butternut, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is summer over?

I certainly hope not. But it really feels like fall right now with overcast skies, rain, and chilly temperatures. The weather people are predicting a warm up over the next few days. I hope they're right. Meanwhile, in the vegetable garden, the green beans are flowering and the little beans are growing. Winter squash is forming, and the tomatoes look ready to ripen. Now we need some more sun.

Green bean blossoms.

The zucchini is not disappointing. We've been eating some nearly every day and I still have about six of them in the kitchen. I may have to process them for the freezer if we can't catch up.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Our little fig tree has a few figs on it right now. We never get figs. They usually disappear before they ripen. I don't know if they're falling off or being eaten by something.

I wonder how long they'll last before they disappear?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer salads

Although the weather just turned more fall-like, we're enjoying summer foods. Garden zucchini is part of nearly every meal right now, prepared one way or another. We've also enjoyed some lemon cucumbers and green beans that a friend dropped by (from her garden) the other day.

Sliced lemon cucumbers in vinaigrette with fresh garden tarragon.

I've never grown lemon cukes, but I've had them a few times. Here they're prepared simply sliced and dressed in a vinaigrette with minced shallots, chopped tarragon, and paprika. Below are steamed green beans, cooled, and dressed in a similar vinaigrette.

Green beans in vinaigrette with shallots.

We've also made a summery potato salad and have been enjoying Ken's home-made rabbit rillettes. Today I'll do some sausages on the grill to go with the leftover potato salad, even if the air is a bit chilly. We did get some rain on Sunday, about seven millimeters in the gauge. They say the summer weather will be back in a few days. Let's hope so.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hip, hip, cheerio

These are English cucumbers. They're very small at the moment, but they will grow longer and larger over the next few days. English cucumbers are thought to be sweeter than our standard American varieties and have much smaller seeds. In my experience, this is the only variety of cucumber that is sold in French markets and supermarkets.

Tiny cucumbers just forming and flowering.

I've wanted to grow these for a while, but I've never found seeds for them in the stores. I could probably get some from the internet if I tried. The seeds for these plants came from an English friend who lives nearby (thanks Carol!). So far we've had three or four cukes and they are delicious, so I'm looking forward to more.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What's on tv

This weekend will see the wrap-up of the 2015 Tour de France with the customary final stage finishing on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. But the big news on the cover of our program this week is the making of six new episodes of the X-Files. Scully and Mulder are coming back.

And the E! channel is showing Caitlyn Jenner's show. You'd think that there were no French tv shows.

What NOT to watch this week. Our tv magazine rates shows and movies using a star system: one star is ok, four stars is best. They use another symbol for really bad movies: the red dot. It means "à zapper" (change the channel!). The editors often include comments about the movie that make me laugh.

Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. Which one plays the python and which one plays the 'gator? I'll never find out. But the entry is worthy just to see, in print, the feminine form of the past participle of the verb créer (to create): créée [cray-yay].

Mega Python vs Gatoroïd. American made-for-tv movie. Directed by Mary Lambert, 2011.
With Deborah Gibson and Tiffany.
A new species of giant python invades the Everglades National Park. A line of mutant alligators is created to fight it.
A collection of everything bad in one movie. The special effects fail, the actors and actresses are very bad, and the script is ridiculous.
For adults and children over 12.