Monday, October 24, 2016

We need the rain

It hasn't rained very much at all this month, continuing a dry trend since the beginning of summer. But today it's coming down. It started spitting a little on Sunday evening. This morning we woke up to actual rain and it seems that it will last a few hours before tapering off. That'll be good for the ground.

Some more orange and red leaves among the grape vines.

The plumber comes back this morning to finish the towel warmer installation. All he has to do is connect the two pipes to the main line and test the system to be sure it's working. Then there's some finish work, mainly filling and grouting where he removed old pipes and filling in the holes in the floor around the new pipes. After that, we need to talk to him about his schedule for the rest of the work, namely the new shower.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Optical Allusion

Alluding to a time past, that is. If you read Ken's blog, you know that we were in a town called Châtillon-sur-Indre one day last week for lunch. After lunch, we took a short walk around the center of town. It's a pretty place, but kind of sad. Most of the businesses that once thrived around the central square are gone. Stores stand empty, except for a bakery, a second-hand shop, a newstand, and a café or two. The town has lost much of its population over the past decades.

A now-defunct optical shop on Châtillon's main square. The shuttered building next door is for sale.

The landscape guy and his dad showed up Saturday morning to start work on assembling the greenhouse. They worked until just past sunset (!) before packing up for the day. They put most of the frame together and poured the concrete footings. They'll be back next Saturday to finish up the frame and install the glass panels. It looks like a complicated job, but they seem to be doing it well.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Criss cross

I noticed quite a few contrails in Wednesday morning's sky. We are under a major north-south air corridor and there are always jetliners high overhead. Paris and London are more or less due north of us, not to mention Brussels and Amsterdam. Southern destinations include Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Madrid, and cities in Italy and North Africa.

Looking roughly south over the vineyard parcels.

Work on the towel warmer got under way bright and early Friday morning. The old radiator is gone and the new one is up, but it's not connected to the system yet. The contractor has the new pipes fitted, but he hasn't yet connected them to the main line. He'll be back on Monday to finish up. We really like how the bathroom looks with the bulky old radiator gone, replaced by the sleek tubes of the new towel warmer. We're taking photos, of course!

Friday, October 21, 2016

A little red

While most of the vineyard parcels out back turn yellow and orange in the fall, some of them go red. But, even among the yellow and orange, there are some vines that sport red leaves. I'm at a loss to explain why. But it's pretty.

Red leaves among the yellow.

We're ready for work to start in the bathroom this morning. I've taken the "before" pictures, although I nearly forgot to. In fact, I only remembered after I had moved things out of the room. No matter. If everything goes well, the new towel warmer will be installed and plumbed in by the end of the day.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mellow yellow

Here's a wide view of the back of our house from the vineyards. Things are still pretty green, but the grape vines and trees are taking on a more yellow hue, with some reds and browns around. Although you can't see it in this photo, the maple trees on the other side of the house are starting to go from their deep red color to a much brighter orange. A month from now the leaves will all be on the ground.

Looking toward the northeast and the Cher River valley.

Today is prep day. I need to get the bathroom ready for the contractor to start work on Friday morning. For now he'll just be removing the old radiator and replacing it with a towel warmer. But there is a bunch of stuff that needs to be moved out of the room. Then I plan to prepare a fire in the wood stove so we can just light it in the morning. We don't want the heating system to come on because the contractor needs to drain all of the water out of it to remove the radiator.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The leaves are turning

I was surprised during my morning walk with Callie on Monday to see a lot of color change in the vineyards behind the house. There were, at first, a few leaves changing here and there. But now there are whole parcels that are going yellow and red. I didn't have the camera with me on the walk but I went back inside to get it when we got home.

I think this may be either cabernet or grolleau, but I'm never certain.

We got a call on Tuesday from the contractor who will be doing the bathroom work. The new towel warmer is in and he will come to install it on Friday. Yippee! There will, of course, be before and after photos.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The pumpkin patch

I noticed that the leaves and vines have all withered. All that's left are the pumpkins. Three of them. We have one rouge vif d'Etampes (vibrant red Etampes) and two courges musquées (musk pumpkins). The rest of the squash are called sucrines du Berry and look very much like butternut squash.

The beige and green pumpkins on the left are the same variety.

It's time now to get them up off the ground, I think, and start eating! We've talked about a pumpkin soup for now, but there will be other things, too. We enjoy squash simply roasted and seasoned as a side dish. I like to make pumpkin pie and pumpkin-stuffed ravioli. I'd welcome any of your ideas for using pumpkin in the comments section.