Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The heat is on

We're waiting this morning for the guys to arrive with the new boiler. If they arrive; we haven't heard from them at all since they scheduled the appointment. I don't know if we're supposed to be using the heat this morning or not. They didn't say and I didn't think to ask two weeks ago. The system will have to be emptied of water (which will be hot) before they can remove the old boiler. Lots of questions, as yet no answers.

I took this photo almost three weeks ago. There are many fewer leaves on the trees now.

Callie had a good vet visit yesterday, although the joint was jumpin'. Lots of people, lots of animules, but Callie was well behaved. She got her shots and some medicine for fleas. There's a variety of flea that seems to be resistant to the Frontline we give her every month. They have taken up residence in her fur. Ick. So she'll be rid of them in a day or two. Already this morning she's hardly scratching, so they're dying off. Good riddance!

UPDATE: They arrived. The old boiler is off-line and dismantled already.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Death in the pantry

This one's not for the faint of heart. A few weeks ago we noticed the, er, "traces" of a mouse in our pantry. The cellier, or pantry, is a small room off the utility room on the ground floor of the house. The floor is not concrete, but a thick layer of sand. The room's temperature fluctuates with the weather, so it's not a good place for long-term wine storage. We keep canned goods, dry goods, onions, potatoes, pet food, and other easily stored items down there. Since the pantry door is closed, the cat cannot get in there to hunt

Of course I had to photograph the carnage. Fortunately, there was no blood.

The mouse had not gnawed into anything that I could see, but his/her "leavings" were obvious. It had burrowed into the sandy floor and was digging tunnels under the dog's kibble bin. It would only be a matter of time until it started nibbling on potatoes or ripping into plastic bags of rice and pasta.

I baited three traps with peanut butter and waited. A few days later, we found that one of the "snap" traps had worked. Poor thing. I've kept the traps down there in case there are other mice, but it's been more than a couple of weeks and there is no sign of another.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday macros

The last leaf. Well, probably not, but most of the vineyard leaves are gone. Now that the temperatures are dropping to more seasonable levels, those trees still hanging on to their golden leaves will shed them quickly. I'm back to building daily fires in the wood stove. It's fun now, but I know it will become a chore as we move through winter.

I've got to get some new photos taken. 100mm (macro), f/8.0, 1/320s, ISO 4000.

This week we are scheduled to get the old boiler replaced. The plan was to have it done before the cold weather set in. That's why we placed the order in July. But production delays, obeying Mr. Murphy's law (or Sod's law, if you're British), had us wait until now.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The red cat

I checked back through the blog and saw that 2011 was the first time we had Beaujolais nouveau from Le Chat Rouge. The next time I mentioned it was 2013. Now, after another two years, we have it again. I see that they've changed their logo (look here to see what it looked like two years ago). We've had three bottles of nouveau so far this year. If I hadn't known that it was "new wine," I wouldn't have guessed it. It tastes just like normal gamay.

I like the little paw prints on the cork (which is not cork, but a plastic closure).

Our outdoor thermometer shows 1ºC (about 33ºF) this morning at 7:00. That's our coldest low so far this season and the coldest since early March. Fall is transitioning into winter.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What's on tv

Well, speaking of the weather! Just as our weather turns from mild to wintry, we have the Paris climate summit coming up, and various television weather presenters are being interviewed about climate change. The woman on this week's cover, Evelyne Dhéliat, is one we see often. We used to see a lot more of Laurent Romejko when he was on France 2, but he's moved over to France 3 and we don't watch weather on that channel much.

Leo DiCaprio is among the more ecologically-minded movie stars.

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.

A French stinker! Lest you think our editors are chauvinistic, they will pan French films when appropriate. I think this one may have been featured here before, but it's the only red-dot program I could find this week.

Frère et sœur (Brother and Sister). French made-for-tv movie directed by Denis Malleval.
With Bernard Le Coq, Roxane Potereau, and Jacques Sereys.
A fifty-something lawyer and confirmed bachelor sees his father return after being gone for fifty years. He's accompanied by a young woman who turns out to be his daughter.
This comedy thinks it's funny, but there's not much on offer for neither the viewers nor the actors, except to make them uneasy.
For everyone.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday fifties

The bloom is off the rose. At least this one. Its petals still cling to the stem, but they have shriveled and turned brown. It's still kind of pretty, though.

A rose was a rose, 50mm, f/3.5, 1/160s, ISO 200.

The predicted weather system is moving through. We're are on the southern edge, but the wind is whipping through and we're having rain squalls. Then we're expecting a serious drop in temperatures to near freezing by Saturday morning. Brrr!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Grape expectations

Today is the day that the Beaujolais Nouveau is released. It's not such a big event as when the marketing geniuses thought to publicize the tradition back in the early eighties, but still, it marks the first release of this year's vintage. The hot and dry summer we had hints at good things to come. We shall see.

This is not Beaujolais; I don't even think these are wine grapes.

The Touraine region, where we live, also has a "new wine" tradition that dates back quite a while. The local Touraine Primeur is also released today. We will be able to buy it in our local supermarkets (and at wineries, of course) over the course of the next month. New wine isn't necessarily good wine, not having benefited from proper aging, but it can be tasty and can give you a preview of the vintage's qualities. I'm looking forward to our first bottle!