Monday, January 26, 2015

Up, up, and home

This is our road where it climbs up from the river to our house and the vineyards on the heights above. If you look closely, you can see Callie out ahead of me, on the right side of the road next to the first telephone pole. This is our usual afternoon route when the vineyard fence is not electrified. It's a circular route and Callie knows it well. She knows that, with me, we turn left out the back gate in the mornings to walk through the vineyards, but we turn right out the back gate in the afternoons to take the path down the hill. Smart dog!

The sun is setting as we head for home up the hill. The climb is good exercise for me.

As for yesterday's sign mystery, I will be walking by it again this afternoon, so I'll have a closer look. I've been thinking it might say "Sable - oui." That would be "Sand - yes," which would make sense. I'll let you know.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A sign of the times

This home-made sign has seen better days. I saw it along one of my dog-walking routes last week. It's strange that I never noticed it before because it looks like it has been there for a while. The sign is on a tree next to a stream bed where I've noticed the neighboring households dumping yard waste.

I suppose whoever owns the property is concerned about pollution, and rightfully so.

Here's what I think it says:

Végétaux - oui (Yard waste - yes)
Désherbants - non (Herbicides - no)
Produits toxiques - non (Poisonous products - no)
XXXXX

I can't make out that bottom line from my photo; I'll have to go back and take a closer look. We're still having just barely freezing temperatures in the morning, but the weather people are telling us we'll be warming up a little in the coming week.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What's on tv

Battle of the bad-asses! These two guys are apparently very popular personalities on television cooking shows. I haven't seen either of them, and I watch a lot of cooking shows. But I know why: I don't like "reality" or competition shows, especially when they involve cooking, and both of these guys do that kind of show. According to the article, Philippe Etchebest is a new panel member on Top Chef, a cooking competition. Norbert Tarayre hosts a new show where the invited guest prepares his or her favorite dish without knowing that his or her family and friends secretly hate it. Lovely.

I like cooking shows that are instructive. I do not like shows that are culinary competitions,
races against the clock, or opportunities to laugh at bad cooks.

Right now I'm immersed in tennis and am not watching much else. There are close to ten hours of matches televised per day in the first week of a grand slam tournament. I watch the night session live from Melbourne in the morning, then switch over to the day sessions that I recorded overnight. It will all calm down next week as we get into the quarters, the semis, and the finals.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Periodic puppy pics

Just a gratuitous shot of Callie in the woods. She was patiently waiting for me to finish taking pictures of the wood piles and cut trees on the path we often take down to the valley below. There was a lot to sniff and inspect, but she was still ready to move on before I was.

Callie's ready to continue down the hill.

Our nights continue to be cold and the sleeping is good. But it sure is hard to get out of the warm flannel sheets in the morning. I'm glad we have the central heating to get the house up to temperature each day. Having to build a new fire in the cold and dark every morning is not something I'd like to do. Of course, if that were necessary, I'd probably have a different kind of stove that would keep the fire smoldering over night so it would only need a few new logs to get it going again. I would have made a lousy pioneer.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cleaning up the woods

About five years ago we had a rather big storm that knocked quite a few trees over in the woods around us (and also in our yard). Several trees fell over the path that Callie and I take through the woods just to our north, the path that leads down into the river valley. Well, in last couple of weeks two guys have been out there clearing it up. They're cutting the downed trees into meter-long logs for burning and stacking them to dry.

A view of the new clearing from the path, looking down toward the river valley.

They're also cutting more than just the downed trees, making a huge clearing in the middle of the woods. I don't know if they guys doing this own the land, nor do I know why they're doing it now, so long after the trees came down. I do know that I'm happy not to have to crawl under and over those tree trunks when I walk down there.

The leaning trees last April. They had actually fallen farther since, forcing me to climb over and under the trunks to get by.

The second photo is from last spring. As time went on, the trees kept getting closer to the ground. And now they're history. For comparison, the pair of trees on the right in the bottom photo are the same pair standing in the center-right of the top photo.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snowdrops without the snow

I noticed a huge patch of perce-neige (snowdrops) the other day on one of my walks with Callie. It seems early, but it's probably not. Still, it surprised me to see them. This morning I will have to check our yard to see if any have come up here. We have one or two places where they come up, but nowhere near the size of patch you see here (which is only part of the huge patch I saw).

Without snow to poke up through, these snowdrops have to make do with fallen leaves.

There's snow falling west of Tours this morning. It depends on which weather site is most accurate as to whether or not we will see some later as the system moves east. As usual, where we live is right on the line between snow and no snow. I'm betting on no snow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A pine line

This morning the sky is clear and I can see Jupiter setting in the western sky. The temperature is just below freezing as it often is when the night sky is cloudless. We're expecting the chill to continue through the week, and that's a good thing. Normal winter weather. I'm glad to have a good supply of firewood. There's no snow in the forecast for us, however.

The setting sun lit up this row of trees on Sunday afternoon.

This row of pine trees borders a vineyard parcel just east of our house. It's the place where the land drops into the river valley. On this side you can see grape vines, on the other, there's a steep wooded slope.