Thursday, December 08, 2016


Wednesday morning's sunrise was pretty dramatic. We had less fog than recent days and there were enough gaps in the clouds for the sun to light things up nicely. I grabbed the camera and went out onto the deck to take some pictures.

Wednesday at about 08h15. Looking southeast across our neighbors' property.

The sun is rising in the southeast now as we approach the winter solstice. And it doesn't get very high in the sky before is sets again in the southwest. Our latitude places us a little further north than Montréal, Canada. Today we will have eight and a half hours between sunrise and sunset. That's fifteen and a half hours of darkness.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016


The leaves are all gone from the grape vines. Pruners will be cutting the bare canes away, leaving either a single cane or several smaller stubs that will sprout new growth in spring. Some parcels are already done, but most still look like this.

Bare grape vines waiting to be pruned.

I got my hair cut yesterday. The woman in our town who cuts hair is pregnant and due very soon. The last time we went in for cuts she made our appointments for this past week in advance (which is not her normal practice) so we'd be guaranteed a slot just before she goes out on maternity leave. She said she was unable to find a replacement while she's gone, so her shop will probably be closed until her return in late January. I was nervous as my appointment day approached because, well, anything can happen. I half expected to see a note on the door saying that the baby came early and the shop was closed. I didn't have to worry; everything went fine. But the stylist was certainly anxious. She's more than ready for that baby to come.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Foggy mornings

Late fall high pressure is keeping fog pinned to the ground, with little or no wind to blow it away. The same weather is causing air pollution spikes in the cities, especially Paris, right now. Sometimes the fog layer is very thin and we can see blue sky through it. Other times it's a thick, dark blanket of gray.

Morning ground fog with some blue sky above it.

Lately the fog has burned off by mid-afternoon, which is why some of my recent photos show beautifully blue skies. Our nights remain clear, so the mornings are cold. Then, as the sun comes up, the fog forms.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Side view

Here's an exterior shot of the greenhouse from the side. For now we haven't acquired any "furniture" for inside. Those shelves are recuperated from the tent greenhouse we used last season. We may eventually replace them with something more sturdy; we'll see how it goes. I am planning to get a potting table to fit against the wall of the house where you see the rake and shovel standing. We did get that nifty curly hose for inside and it works great.

The greenhouse is built onto the western side of the house. This view is looking north.

Under the curved panels is a small gutter that directs rainwater to the grey downspout you can see on the left. Eventually I'll put some kind of barrel/container there to collect it. Right now we're experimenting with over-wintering some deck plants inside, but the full potential of the greenhouse will be realized in spring when I start seedlings for the vegetable garden. I also plan to keep some warm-weather herbs, like basil, in there all season; they should enjoy the warmth. The roof has two panels that open for ventilation. Those, along with the door that slides open (on the far end in the photo) and the door into the house itself (access to the utility room), will work to keep an air flow going so it doesn't get too hot in there during the summer. At least that's the theory.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Greenhouse update

I realize that I might have gone outside to take a better photo of the new greenhouse, but I didn't. So this shot from inside will have to do for now. We've been moving plants inside for the winter, mainly from the deck, but also from our heretofore winter storage place: the glassed-in front porch/entry. Now that space will be much less crowded with cold-sensitive with plants.

On a sunny day it can feel downright balmy in there.

It's all a big experiment, of course. We don't know how much the greenhouse will protect the plants from the cold, especially if it gets really cold. The glass is single-paned and there's no heat except for the winter sun. Still, it should protect from wind and ice (like sleet and freezing rain), so that's a good thing. There's a thermometer in there that we check nearly every day to get a feel for how cool it is. So far it's been a few degrees higher than the lowest of the morning temperatures outside. That could make a difference.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Saturday morning posts

The artsy organized neighbor has taken to planting cast-away roadside reflector posts in the woods. I've noticed five or six of them placed in a straight line among the trees near his piles of stuff. Maybe they mark his property line? I don't know.

Three of the half-dozen or so old roadside posts planted in the woods near where Callie and I sometimes walk.

My theory is that this guy is a retired public works employee who is now at loose ends. He's collected things from his job over the years that would otherwise have been thrown away. But my theory is supported by very little evidence. There are just the piles of stuff, neatly arranged. If there's another explanation for his "installations," it is beyond my knowledge.

Friday, December 02, 2016

I missed opening night

Here is the artsy organized neighbor's most recent "installation." Your guess is as good as mine. I wasn't invited to the opening, although I'm sure it was replete with the who's who of the local woodsy art crowd.

A stage set for some dystopian opera? A playground for leprechauns?

I get (as in "understand," not "receive") the firewood. In fact, it's the one thing that changes all the time what with wood being taken out for burning and new wood coming in for storage. But the rest? Stacks of discarded roof tiles, concrete blocks, old broken roadside bollards, steel barrels, rusty machinery, and piles of gravel and sand. All neatly organized and occasionally rearranged ever so slightly.