Friday, August 18, 2017

Thursday's harvest

Our tomatoes are starting to come in. Soon it will be time to make sauce for the freezer. And the lemon squash are going gangbusters. I'm not sure what we'll do with it all. And the zukes are still producing, of course.

All kinds of tomatoes, including romas, juliets, yellows, cœur de bœuf, and fireballs.

I have to pick some of the tomatoes before they're completely ripe. Sometimes they're sitting on the ground, and that's not good. Other times they're very heavy looking and need to come off the vine. And then there are the ones that come off by themselves. So I put them all out on the deck to ripen, and they do. It's always iffy, doing a vegetable garden. You never know how it's going to work out when you start. We've had our good years and some bad years, the bad being related to weather or blight, but overall it's been good. I'm starting to look forward to next year.

A surplus of lemon squash.

We had our annual "bat in the loft" on Wednesday night. It seems that once a year a bat flies into the loft through an open window. Then it spins around the room dodging the rafters while we run around with pillows trying to shoo it out. It only took a few minutes to get it to go out this time. During all the commotion, Tasha sat on the floor and yawned.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


I told you there would be more raindrops. These apples are not in our yard, but out behind a neighbor's house. The raindrops make them look appetizing. But they're not yet mature enough for picking.

This apple is very small. That might be a side effect of the freeze, but I'm not certain.

In our own yard, the apples are dropping from the trees as they do every year. I have to pick them up before cutting the grass. There don't seem to be as many as there could be, probably because of the April freeze. Maybe there will be enough to make a couple of pies later this fall.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waning summer

The signs are everywhere. Wildflowers are setting seed and fading away. Grapes are maturing on the vine. Certain poplars are going yellow and dropping their leaves. And the days are tangibly shorter.

Just one blossom remains on this wild chicory plant. Many others are totally bare already.

Schools start up again in about three weeks signaling the end of summer vacations for a lot of people. It won't be long before we start to hear the harvesters out in the vineyards.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tasha Tuesday

Tasha is doing well on her walks. The only thing I fear is cars and tractors. She wants to chase them and I need to train her not to. Callie was afraid of vehicles and sat down whenever one went by. But Tasha is her own dog and wants to chase everything that moves. Whenever a car goes by our road, Tasha runs out and tries to chase it. She's inside the yard, so she can't get hurt, but if she sees one while we're out, who knows what could happen.

No cars to worry about here. But just behind us is the road.

Luckily, so far, there haven't been many instances of cars while we walk. I just need to pay attention and keep her close when there's a possibility of a car going by. This fall the harvesters will be out in the vineyard. That will be a challenge.

Monday was a relatively hot day, and Monday night was particularly warm. Last week it was so chilly that the heat came on one morning. This morning the low is 22.5ºC (over 72ºF). It's so warm and dry that I went for our morning walk in shorts and a tee-shirt, something that happens only a few times a year.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Raindrops on grape leaves

And whiskers on kittens! Oh, forgive me if I've used that one before. We had some light rain on Saturday night and on Sunday morning everything was covered with little raindrops. So there will now be lots of photos with raindrops.

Raindrops on grape leaves.

One thing I noticed on my Sunday morning walk was how the flowers and plants and trees are starting to look all autumnal. We've still got more than a month until fall arrives, officially. I guess we had an early summer, so now we're going to have an early fall. And I'm hoping for a short winter. Ha!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Interpretive dance

That's what I thought when I saw these bare branches among the oaks. It looks like it's dancing, doing its own thing. None of the oaks are bent this way. I wonder what it was.

Fosse or Tharp?

Last night was still and muggy, even though it wasn't all that warm. I didn't sleep well, even with a fan on. Tossed and turned a lot. I think tonight I'll open a few more windows and use the bigger fan to get the air moving more.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Grapes and lace

This is the season for Queen Anne's lace, known in France as carotte sauvage (wild carrot). It's growing especially thick this year. In fact, I don't remember ever seeing the spaces between the rows of grape vines this crowded with it. It's probably just that the growers are not mowing it down or are cutting back on the use of herbicides.

The vine parcel just outside our back gate. That's our garden shed on the right.

Of course, not all the parcels look like this. Some are quite bare (at ground level) from herbicides, others have been plowed to uproot the weeds and wildflowers, and still others have been mowed to keep the weeds under control. I wonder what difference it all makes to the vines (although using fewer chemical herbicides is probably a good thing for the environment over all).