Thursday, April 28, 2016

All's quiet in the vegetable garden

The ground is tilled and waiting. Seedlings are growing in the greenhouse/tent. Radishes and peas have sprouted. It's almost time. Very soon, Ken will plant out the collard greens and kale plants. The rest will wait until mid-May when the danger of frost is over.

Shrubs and trees are leafing out nicely now.

The grass is growing fast. I want to cut it again before my trip, so I have to watch the weather carefully. Today or tomorrow may be my only chance for dry days before Monday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Springtime flowers

I see these flowers blooming briefly every year in early spring. There is one spot in particular where there is almost a carpet of them, a shady place beneath some tall trees. But this year I'm seeing them in the vineyard, out in the sunny spots under the vine trunks. I haven't tried to identify them yet, so I don't know anything about them.

Anybody recognize these? UPDATE: It's Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum.

Last night was crystal clear, and this morning is cold, but brilliantly sunny. Time to bundle up and go out with Callie!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I got chills

It's amazing how quickly I get used to nice weather after just a few days of it. Now that April is doing what April does, and the chilly weather is back, I feel let down. I'm not surprised at all, it's just that I forgot the old saying: en avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil, en mai, fais ce qu'il te plaît (in April, don't take off a stitch, in May, do what you like). It's certainly true this year, at least for April. Let's hope May holds up its end of the bargain.

If you look closely, you can see little leaves sprouting on the grape vines.

One week from today I fly from Paris to Montréal for two nights before driving down into New York State to visit with family and friends and to take care of a few administrative things. Ken will be staying home with Callie and Bert and all of our little garden seedlings. I haven't been back to the US in four years and I'm looking forward to the adventure. The travel arrangements are all made (train, plane, car, hotels, etc.) but there is still a lot to do this week to get ready.

Monday, April 25, 2016

This old vine

I've posted pictures of this vine many times here. It's one of a few that grow up against three sides of a storage building out in the vineyard. The grapes are not harvested for wine, in fact I'm not even sure they're wine grapes. People walking through the vineyard often stop and pop a few of the grapes in their mouths as they pass by. Wildlife gets the rest. I saw the grower who owns the adjacent parcels out there last week pruning these for the season.

These grape vines don't get pruned as hard as the wine grapes do. They're ornamental.

I thought I was done with fires for the season, but no. Our mornings are back down toward freezing again and the house cools down. I built a fire in the wood stove yesterday and that made everything comfy and cozy. I'll probably do the same for the next few days.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Something lives here

And I'm pretty sure it's not a hobbit. There's no door or chimney, and the garden is not well tended. It's much too small for a rabbit, but I have no idea what would live there. A little mouse or vole is the best I can come up with.

Bag End it's not.

Saturday's rain was more like heavy mist, but it lasted all day long. This morning we're greeted by clear skies and a waning gibbous moon setting in the west. And it's chilly, down below 5ºC (around 40ºF).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tractor ho!

The tractors are out. They're plying the vineyard rows grinding pruned vine canes or spraying herbicide, or doing other things I don't know about. This one falls into that third category. I have no idea what the grower was doing. This vehicle straddles a row with each pass, but there was no spraying (I think this parcel is supposed to be organically grown), no grinding, and no trimming (too early for that) going on.

The grower had climbed down from the tractor and was nearby, on his phone, when I took this photo. There's a spraying attachment on the back of the tractor, but it was not deployed.

The rain, such as it is, has returned. We're very happy to have accomplished as much as we did while the days were warm and dry. There is still more to do (there always is), but we have no feelings of panic or lost opportunity. And that's nice.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Le désert

This photo reminds me of California deserts. It's right here outside our garden gate. Not a desert at all, but part of a stone wall where a small plant has taken hold.

Taken with the nifty fifty lens. 50mm, f/8.0, 1/160s, ISO 100.

It's a little weird to learn of the death of Prince, or the artist formerly known as Prince, now the late artist formerly known as Prince. I was not a big fan, but I liked some of his stuff. And he was my age, another reminder of what awaits us all not too far down the road.