Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The end is near

The end of the vine pruning season, that is. The buds on the vines are fattening. Cut canes have been lined up between vine rows, ready for grinding. The remaining canes will be bent to the horizontal and fastened to their guide wires in the coming weeks.

The vineyards will soon go from brown to green as the vines leaf out.

The early blooming trees are in flower. Many of them have already dropped their blossoms and green leaves are appearing. Spring is here!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Where's Bert?

In this picture, he's lounging in the sun under the carport. But on Sunday morning, Ken didn't find him waiting for his breakfast, as he usually is. Oh well, I thought, he got distracted and went out hunting. Later, when I left to take Callie out for her walk, I opened the back door and Bert shot in. Apparently, he was trapped inside the greenhouse over night.

Happy to be free, Bert lounges in the afternoon sun.

It was my fault. He was probably lounging in there when Callie and I got back from our evening walk. He likely stayed very still when we came in so that Callie would not notice him. I didn't notice him, either, and I closed the door. At least he had some water in there. There was no sign of distress, no poops or any sign of digging. He just waited for the door to open and then, when it did, he ran out like a shot, and went directly to his kibble bowl. Poor thing.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


I'm fresh out of photos for the blog! Time to get crackin', I guess. Here's a shot of the Panthéon in Paris that I took last spring. On my way to Canada and the US, I spent an afternoon in Paris and took the climbing tour up onto the dome of the historic church. I took this photo on our way up, but I don't think I ever published it.

The cupola atop the dome of the Panthéon in Paris.

It's time, also, to get crackin' on the vegetable garden. I think I mentioned yesterday that I want to plant seeds in the greenhouse. Today is the day!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Springing forward

This weekend we move our clocks ahead one hour to what's called Central European Summer Time. That sounds nice, "summer time." But let's not be too hasty. We have to get through spring, first. We're expecting a week of warming temperatures, and that will be nice. My goal for the weekend is to get the vegetable seeds started in the greenhouse. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other seeds need to be planted now so they'll be ready to go out in the garden in mid-May.

I think this is some kind of hyacinth.

Ken wants to get the garden plot tilled up. That's a big job that needs a few days of dry, warm weather before and during, so that the soil is not just a muddy mess. And then the grass will need cutting. It's starting to grow again. Dry days are best for that, as well.

Friday, March 24, 2017


That's the name of this miniature daffodil variety. Pots of them were for sale in the grocery store recently and I couldn't resist, so I picked one up. That was almost two weeks ago. Then, the plants were much shorter and only one or two flowers had opened. Since then, the plants have doubled in height and most of the flowers have opened.

Tête-à-tête means "head to head" in French.

The living room is filled with spring, at least for a little while. I will have to take care to keep the bulbs safe over the summer and remember to plant them outdoors in the fall. That is not something I'm particularly good at remembering to do, but I'll try my best.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sofa, so good

I know that Ken just posted a photo of the new couch yesterday, but I took a few photos on Wednesday that I thought I'd post, just in case you didn't see Ken's blog. The room is still not completely put back together and organized. We're waiting for the new rug that will go under the sofa.

Looking toward the northeast.

You can tell that I didn't stage the photos, although I did turn all the lights on. There's a vacuum cleaner in one of the pictures, and there are a couple of moving boxes filled with my map collection to get into the storage closets under the eaves. Still, this is our private living space and we leave all manner of DVDs, books, and other stuff lying around most of the time. Not to mention laundry in various stages of being folded and put away (or not). Don't judge.

Looking toward the southeast. There's the old sofa's brown footstool on the left. Not gone yet.

Ken's desktop computer is up there, which he uses to do downloading and processing of movies and television shows. We do most of our television watching in this room, so it's where the bigger TV set is.

Looking toward the northwest. We've had that bottle of wine corks since Washington, in the mid 1980s.

Before we had the room finished in 2010, it was the attic. There was no staircase, just a ladder that came down to the main level from a hatch in the floor. The rafters were all exposed with just the roof tiles between the inside and outside. The wind ripped through the attic all year long, and sometimes rain got in. The floor was insulated, but not the roof. If you want to see what it was like, click here for some before/after photos of the conversion.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Grape hyacinth

Spring is when the muscari (grape hyacinth) bloom. The little blue flowers resemble inverted grape clusters from afar, but when you look at them closely, each flower looks more like a little bell. I transplanted these from the back yard to this spot next to our driveway many years ago. They've spread a lot over time and now each spring we get a small carpet of blue.

A close up of the blooming muscari.

The weather has moved into a shower phase, typical for March, called giboulées. They're not very strong right now, thankfully, but everything is wet again. And I'm back to building the daily fire in the wood stove. Aargh.

The tulips in this patch don't bloom as they did when I first planted them (thirteen years ago!).