Monday, August 29, 2016

Dinosaur kale

Ken grew two varieties of kale this year in our vegetable garden. One is called Red Russian and we've eaten a fair amount of that so far. The other is called Dinosaur, and we haven't yet eaten as much of that.

Dinosaur kale in the garden. It's been harvested a time or two, exposing the stems at the bottom.

Both types of kale make for beautiful plants in the garden. While both are green, the Red Russian has, unsurprisingly, a red tint to it and, as you can see in these photos, the Dinosaur kale is more blueish. Where the Russian kale has broad, flatter leaves, the Dino's leaves are narrower and a little crinkly.

Looking down at the plant from above.

Ken has processed a lot of the kale into the freezer already, so we'll be eating it, along with collard greens from earlier in the year, all winter long.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Periodic puppy pics

It's been a long time! Here's Callie as we made our way down to the river the other day. We crossed  the main road safely and she was happy to be across. The speeding cars scare her, and I think that's a good thing. She waits for me to tell her that it's ok to cross.

Callie turns to be sure I'm following. The river bank is at the end of this dirt road.

Callie had her ninth-and-a-half birthday last week. In February, she'll be a ten year old dog. She's doing alright in the heat, still willing to go on her walks in the hot afternoons. But in the evening and at night she stays down on the ground level tile or on the travertine staircase where it's the coolest.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Le Cher

Callie and I walked down to the river the other day. It's not a long walk. It takes five or ten minutes and we're there. The weather has been very hot, so it's not surprising that we saw people swimming in the river. The water level is low right now and there are many sand bars and beaches.

A couple of guys fishing in the river with their dog.

I'm certain that there are places where it would be easy just to wade across, although I have not tried it. The water is crystal clear, and you can see fish swimming very close to the shore. Callie surprised me and went into the water up to her belly. I took my shoes and socks off and waded in up to my knees. Very refreshing. Callie drank a bunch of water from the river. She's not at all a water dog, but all is fair when it's too hot!

Another shot looking up river. Very summery.

As close as we are to the river, we seldom go down there. Most of the time it's wet and muddy, so there's no reason to take Callie there. But it's different in summer and I sometimes forget that it's there. We should go swimming!

Friday, August 26, 2016

State of the grapes

This is what the grapes look like now. Some, not these, are starting to turn red. If I remember correctly where I took this shot, these should be red grapes. Either that or they're white grapes. LOL. My identification skills based on the leaf shape are not very good, but I don't think this is sauvignon.

I don't think these are sauvignon grapes, so I'm guessing either gamay or cabernet.

We're in a little heat wave right now. Sleeping is not all that comfortable, but it's not unbearable, either. The low humidity helps. All in all, our summer has been good, weather wise. Not like spring, which was a deluge.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer on the deck

Man, it's hot. For us, at least. I figured that we haven't lived in a really hot (and humid) climate since we left Washington, DC, in 1986. That's thirty years ago. When we first arrived in France in 2003, it was the hottest summer they had had for ages. But not humid. We suffered temperatures upwards of 100ºF for weeks at a time, but it was dry Saharan heat like we're having now.

I put our umbrella up on the deck to keep the table shaded when the sun shines.

Since then, we've had some hot times and some not so hot times. LOL. But this summer has been very warm. It's nice, and we like it, but we're not used to it. Sleeping can be difficult, but again, we're not suffocating with humidity. Thank goodness for small favors.

Each morning this week we open all the windows and doors to let the (relatively) cool air in. Then, as the day heats up, windows and shutters get closed to keep the sun and the hot air out. There can be a significant difference in temperature between outdoors and indoors when you do this, even in a less insulated house like ours.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to sticks and leaves

Now that I've finished with my travel photos, I have to get back in the habit of taking my camera out with me on walks. I really haven't given this new camera a workout yet. Since it's been so dry, I may venture down to the river (where it's usually muddy after rain) with Callie. This week is a hot one with no rain in sight.

A fern in black and white.

The grape vines are doing their thing and starting to ripen. The hot weather should help them along. This is the last full week of summer vacation for schoolkids here in France. The official first day back is next Thursday, September 1. This coming weekend will be very busy on the roads as people head back home from their vacations.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The last one

This will be the last post from my trip to Canada and the US last May. At least for a while. I've been posting photos from that trip for over three months now. Jeez! Thanks for hanging in there.

Interpretive signage near the western entrance to the Indian Ladder Trail.

The Tory Cave is something that I vaguely knew about, but had forgotten. It's just a tiny footnote in the history of the Revolution, but given how few Europeans lived in this "wilderness" back in the late eighteenth century, it's interesting.

"A little farther back, almost there, back just a little more..."

I don't know these people at all, but they were taking each others' picture as we walked the little bridge over the stream. This is the spot where the stream flows over the edge of the escarpment to form Mine Lot Falls below.