Thursday, March 30, 2017

Starting seeds

I've started some seeds in the greenhouse. Tomatoes (yellow jubilee, fireball, beefsteak, cœur de bœuf, roma, and brandywine) and hot peppers (espelette, habanero, serrano, and jalapeno), so far. Some zukes and eggplant are next. I got some marigold seeds planted, too; if I'm lucky I'll have enough of those to go around the well and into the vegetable garden to help keep pests away from the tomatoes.

Thirty tomato pots and ten pepper pots. I plant a lot because not every seed sprouts. I'll thin things out later, if necessary.

The potting bench inside the greenhouse is making the whole process easier than it's been in the past. Everything is all set up, I don't have to lug things out before I start and put them away when I'm done. I can plant seeds on a whim!

Wednesday was a very nice day. I got a lot of debris (sticks and branches) picked up off the ground and leveled many mole hills in preparation for cutting the grass. I also pruned our eight or so grape vines. They are table grapes that don't produce much fruit, but we like to use the leaves to make Greek dolmas. I dismantled the remaining structure from the old tent greenhouse; it sat out in the yard all winter. It was a productive day. And today is supposed to be very summery. I have a long list of chores that I'd like to get done. Or at least get started on.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Blowdown theater

This will take a little explaining. I grew up in the capital city of New York State. In that modest city is the New York State Museum, a place that showcases all that is New York, from Manhattan, its subways, the immigrant cultures, and the skyscrapers, to the wilderness that is the Adirondack Park, the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and the Finger Lakes, to the native cultures, the wildlife, geology, and prehistory.

Some trees that blew down in a ravine not far from our house.

In the Adirondack section of the museum is a little room called the Blowdown Theater (I assume it's still there). Visitors stand inside and "experience" what an Adirondack wind storm might be like. The kind of wind that blows trees down. Hence the name: Blowdown Theater. There's no actual wind in the small darkened space, just the sounds of howling wind and trees falling over. I never really understood the point. The wind blows, trees fall, the earth turns. Still, I remember it very well. Seeing these fallen trees (above) near our house reminded me of that.

Sawed logs, always 1 meter long, ready to be made into firewood.

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.