Monday, June 26, 2017

It takes a thief

I admit it. We took this ashtray from a café or restaurant at some point. I don't remember where or when, but we wanted it. We don't even smoke. Well, we did when we were young, but neither of us smoked when we "acquired" this ashtray.

A famous brand of French cigarettes.

Some of our visitors smoke, so we pull the ashtray out when they are here. Smoking isn't allowed in the house, but out the deck it's not a problem. Maybe I shouldn't tell you that this is not the only ashtray that we have, um, acquired over the years.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


The heat wave is over and the cool air is back. But summer has just started and there very well may be more heat waves in July and August. We're lucky that we don't normally have high humidity when it's hot. When there is some humidity in the air, we feel it.

Looking back toward our hamlet from the vineyard on Friday morning. Everything looks lush, but it is still very dry.

Friday morning felt a little cooler, but more humid than earlier in the week. There was no breeze in the morning and it took hours for the house to cool down, even with all the windows wide open. Saturday morning was very cool at 15ºC (59ºF) and we were back to long pants.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

How does my garden grow?

The vegetable garden has been in for a while and I spend some time every day now watering and weeding. The first batch of snow peas has run its course, and we've harvested one meal's worth from the second batch. The third batch doesn't look so good after our heat wave. But the tomatoes and summer squash are looking great.

Looking north. Summer squash on the left, tomatoes on the right. The bushy stuff on the right, outside the garden, is oregano.

There are blossoms on most of the tomato plants now. I have to be diligent about pinching off the suckers to maintain one main stem. If the plants get bushy, they're hard to manage and they make too many fruits. But even with my diligence, I frequently miss a sucker or two and they grow and get blossoms and I don't have the heart to cut them off.

Looking east. Green beans on the left, summer squash on the right, tomatoes on the spiral stakes.

The three zucchini plants each have little zucchinis on them now. The lemon squash is getting its first blossoms. I have three rows of green beans growing as well, but there are no blossoms yet. The eggplant and peppers are growing slowly and we're a long way from blossoms on those.

You can see two little zucchinis on the plant in the foreground.

Friday, June 23, 2017

That's more like it

The grapes are starting to look like, well, grapes. Our heat wave has been good for the vineyards, I think. I know our tomatoes and summer squash are enjoying the weather, even if we are not sleeping all that well. Today is supposed to be a little cooler, but it feels more humid than it's been. Trade-off.

The flowers are long gone and the grapes are getting bigger.

I took Tasha out with me on this walk. We found one of the guys that works in the vines, out early to take advantage of the cooler morning air. Tasha ran right up to him and let him rub her belly. So different from Callie. It took years for her to get close the people who work out there. So far, Tasha loves running up and down between the rows of vines, it's good exercise and it uses up some of her puppy energy. And that's a good thing.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Last Saturday, aside from the drama with Callie, we enjoyed a visit from a friend from our time in Paris in 1981. Since then, she's gone on to build a successful career as a French teacher in the US. "Seine Judeet" is her screen name when she comments on the blogs. We call her Judy. She was traveling in France with her sister, B., and her brother-in-law, D. Ken spent the day with them first at the morning market in Saint-Aignan and then on a visit to the Château de Chambord.

Judy on the right, her sister B. on the left. Solidarity!

After the day of touring, they came here for drinks and nibbles. Unfortunately, Callie had her paralysis and we had to rush her to a vet. We were grateful that Judy, B., and D. agreed to stay and sit with Tasha while we did that. When we got home with Callie, we brought her up onto the deck with us while we spent the evening sipping wine, eating, and reminiscing.

Ken and B. getting into the spirit.

We stayed out until after dark, which is after ten-thirty p.m. this time of year. It was a great time, relaxing, and we enjoyed getting to know B. and D. The reality of what was happening with Callie had not yet hit us.

I'm sure I said something very witty. Yes.

I hope that Judy and her sister don't mind that I post these photos. I didn't get a good shot of D., so I apologize for that. We are very happy to have had that evening, seeing an old friend and meeting new ones. It was great fun!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Looking back

I spent time on Monday and Tuesday looking back at all my blog posts about Callie over the past ten years. The blog is a great repository for memories. Some of the posts had me smiling, others brought on a few tears. But it's all good.

Callie waits for me to catch up on what would turn out to be our last walk together Friday morning.

I want to thank everyone who's commented or sent messages about Callie. Your thoughts, words, and memories are comforting.

For anyone who is interested, all posts about Callie can be accessed by clicking on the label "CALLIE" at the bottom of this entry, or in the categories section of the sidebar.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Callie (2007 - 2017)

She was just ten years old. But we had a good ten years. Somehow she "broke" her back, slipping a disk that essentially severed the spinal cord. She had no feeling in, nor use of,  her hind legs, no control of her bladder or sphincter. She couldn't even wag her tail. The vet told us it was too late, that she had degenerated too quickly. Surgery was not an option. So we did the only humane thing. It was terribly difficult, but it was the right thing to do. We both said goodbye, and then she went to sleep.

Callie on her tenth birthday, last February.

We miss her. Our lives were so intertwined for the past ten years. We spent most of our time together, so very little time apart, and she was with us, or one of us, almost all her life. She was a good dog.

Now, life must go on. We have a little puppy to care for. This is the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. We have happy memories and they will get us through.