Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our road

Here's a view of our road from about halfway up the hill, looking back down. Callie and I walk up this way after our trek around the wheat field. On this day one of the neighbors at the bottom was hauling some logs out of the woods with his garden tractor. The hill is a good climb; it's steeper than it looks.

Looking down the hill, toward the river, on a summer afternoon.

We took the mini-chainsaw back to the store where we bought it to ask why we couldn't get it started. The guy took us outside and, after a few tries, got it started right up. Figures. At any rate, he said not to fully engage the choke when starting it cold. He said that it's too warm outside to use the choke full on. So he showed me where he positioned it (just barely engaged) and started it up a second time.

The saw's instructions tell you to push the choke in all the way when starting a cold engine, but it does not work. I was just flooding the engine and making things worse. Today I will try what he showed me and see if I can get it running myself.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tree trunks

Living in cities as I did for many years, I had forgotten about the woods. Sure, there are plenty of trees in parks and I spent a fair amount of time in the country and camping. But here, for the past ten years, I've had daily contact with the woods in all seasons of the year.

Wild trees in the woods along the path we take down the hill.

The woods and forests where we live are not exactly wild. They're managed habitats. The trees are thinned and cut for firewood and other uses, animals are introduced for hunting and wild populations are culled so as not to pose a threat. Some forests are seriously managed almost like gardens, other stands of woods, like those around our house, are left on their own except for the occasional thinning.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The wheat field

This is part of the wheat field down the hill from our house. It's been planted in wheat for the last couple of years, but I've also seen colza (rape seed) planted here in years past. The field was harvested a week ago and plowed and readied for the next crop.

That telephone pole will be removed soon as part of the under-grounding of the power lines that feed our hamlet.

The wheat is normally planted in the fall when it sprouts and over-winters as small plants. In the spring the plants send up their stalks and the seed heads form. The grain matures in the summer and is harvested this time of year. I'm waiting to see what the farmer plants this year.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Part of our route

Here's another of the roads that Callie and I walk on when we're not in the vineyards. It's part of the network of unpaved roads that skirt around the wheat field in the valley below our house. You can see a vacation house on the right (in this view) that's only occupied a couple of weeks out of the year.

Looking back along our route toward the woods.

Whoever owns the property where I'm standing keeps the ground under the trees very tidy. There's a kind of a carport (out of the photo on the right) that stores an old horse-drawn wagon. Further along are a few more houses that front on the main road, but whose back yards are connected by the dirt road.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I see you

Callie and I often walk down through the woods into the river valley on our afternoon walks, making a loop around a large wheat field and along a dirt road to rejoin our own road at the bottom of the hill. Then we pass through a small neighborhood before climbing back up the hill to our hamlet.

This pretty young lab knows us by sight and watches carefully as we pass by.

Many dogs live along this route and, if they're out, they will all come by to bark at us as we walk by. This is one of the regulars, but I don't know her name. She'll run along inside the fence to make sure we're not a threat. Callie scoots by quickly on the other side of the road, no sniffing, no greeting, not wanting to get involved.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The grapes are turning

Ripening, actually. The red grapes are starting to darken and the green grapes are getting paler. They all start out the same color.

Once the grapes turn, it's only a matter of time until harvest.

We are starting to feel fall in the air. Sunday was the first day all month that the outside temperature didn't break 20ºC (68ºF). And we had a few rain showers. The forecast is for us to get a little warmer again, but I'm afraid the heat of summer is behind us for another year. You never know, but with the days getting shorter, we can tell that fall is on the way.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Signs of summer's end

Among the fall wildflowers that I see out in the vineyard is this variety of daisy. I usually only notice them when they look like this, their petals pointed downward as if they're tired and heat-worn. I don't see this in the spring.

They look like rain hats to me.

It's the last week of August, which for many French people means the last week of summer vacations before school starts up in the first week of September. The supermarket circulars have been hawking school supplies for a couple of weeks now. Before we've noticed, they will have slid into Christmas mode.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Periodic puppy pics

The vineyards in our region, like many throughout France, are planted on the higher contours of the river valley. This ensures that the grapes grow on land that drains quickly when it rains; grape vines don't like to have wet feet. You can pretty much see the limits of the river's watershed where the grapes give way to other crops like colza or corn.

Callie waits for me before we head out of the blackberry patch.

At regular intervals along the valley's length, the heights are cut deeply by streams feeding the river. Our house is located on the high spot between two such streams. Out in the vineyards behind us, we can see the precise spot where one of those streams begins. A swale between two vineyard parcels guides water into a very shallow stream bed that quickly disappears into thickets of brambles and small trees. Further down its course, the stream carves a gully into the steep valley wall as it descends toward the river.

These wooded gullies shelter all kinds of wildlife including our local deer and wild hare populations. Sometimes, the owners of the land around the stream harvest oaks and other hardwood trees that grow there for firewood. They cut paths through the brambles and open up the woods a bit for new growth.

Callie loves to explore these paths. In this particular spot there is, in winter and early spring, a gap in the undergrowth that allows us to climb up into vineyards on the other side of the stream bed. As summer progresses, the gap is closed by aggressive blackberry vines, their thorny canes barring the way to anything larger than a small cat.

So this time of year the paths are a dead end for us and we have to retrace our steps to the more open land between the vines. But not before Callie has sniffed and poked and explored every corner.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The vines in summer

During a walk just the other day I noticed that the red grapes are starting to turn color. That is, going from green to red. I wonder how long it will be before harvesting begins? I heard on the news that harvesting has already started in a region down south, but they always harvest early for the type of wine they make.

Looking easterly across the vineyard toward our hamlet.

Our local harvesting won't happen for a while yet. And since everything has been late this year, I'll bet the harvesting will start later than usual as well. The growers are probably hoping the dry weather will last so the grapes don't plump up too much.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Caution, sloe berries

The prunellier (blackthorn, or sloe) grows wild throughout Europe. I've read that it's sometimes trained into hedges because the thorns help to keep cattle from breaking through. Around here we have very few cattle and I haven't noticed any blackthorn hedges.

It's sloe berry season.

The berries are pretty and resemble blueberries, but they are quite tart and not particularly good for eating. They can be used to make jam, but I don't know of anyone who does it. In Britain, the berries are traditionally used with sugar to infuse gin, resulting in the the famous "sloe gin" liqueur.

There are a few stands of sloes around the vineyards here. I suspect the birds or other wildlife get most of the fruit.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It won't be long

Some of the tomatoes in the garden are starting to turn red. Most of the fruit is still green, but they look pretty good. All twenty-four of the plants I grew from seed survived and are now full of fruit. The other three volunteers (cherry tomatoes) are thriving like the weeds they are. If the weather holds, we should have a good crop.

Plum tomatoes (I think) on the vine. Two in the back are turning red.

There are more tomatoes growing outside the garden. We have a volunteer that popped up in the gravel walk outside the back door. Neither one of us has pulled it out and now it has blossoms on it. There are another few growing up in the compost pile. They really grow like weeds.

The main tomato plot contains sixteen plants of several varieties.

I planted a few each of several different tomato varieties. Naturally I didn't keep track of which variety I planted where, so I can't tell which is which. Oh well. Nevertheless, I think I've done a decent job of pinching suckers and stripping off the larger green leaves this year. Some of the suckers still made it past me, so there are a couple of plants with multiple stems. Once the secondary stems have blossoms and fruit, I'm reluctant to prune them away.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Along came a spider

I saw this spider one recent morning on the face of a wild carrot flower (Queen Ann's Lace). It wasn't until I looked at the photo on the computer that I noticed it was feeding on some kind of plume moth. After some internet searching, I think I found it's name: the flower crab spider (misumena vatia).

A white flower crab spider feeding.

Apparently, this spider can change its color from white to yellow depending on the color of the flower it's hunting on. In North America they're often called goldenrod crab spiders after their preferred spot to hunt. Naturally, those are yellow.

A closer look.

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's that time of year

Summer is winding down and the late summer wildflowers are in full swing. Here where we live we have mostly wild carrot and chicory. Both are flowers that I remember from when I was a kid. The blue chicory is a nice bit of color along the vineyard road.

Yesterday's weather system brought a few sprinkles and some gusty winds, but not much else. It stayed relatively warm and now that it's moving on we're expecting a sunny week. More yard chores to do!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

All we need is wood

This is the firewood management area at our house. Under this carport is where I cut, stack, and split firewood for the winter heating season. I recently cleaned it up to prepare for this year's wood. It gets a bit messy during the season, and then in spring it gets worse as I chuck in all manner of branches and pruned wood for kindling.

The cut and stacked wood will go toward the back. Kindling goes along the right side.

Well, it's now ready to receive. All we need to do is to find someone to deliver some wood (can't seem to find a regular supplier). We asked a guy we know who works as a gardener in the neighborhood and he gave us a name and number, so we plan to call next week. I'd like the wood to be delivered already cut to size. Normally firewood comes in meter-long lengths or cut in half to 50cm. But our wood stove is smaller and needs logs cut to 33cm.

The trick is to find someone who will do that. Up to now, we've been getting the 1-meter logs and I cut them myself. But if I could avoid that, it might be worth it. The other solution we're considering is a new stove that takes 50cm logs. But that won't be for this year.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Web art

This is a spider's web that I saw between two of the posts on our deck railing the other day. The sun was shining through the strands and splitting into its spectrum of color. I like the geometry of the web structure.

The spider that made this is very small and out of sight.

The other day we helped one of our neighbors lift some drywall up to his second floor, so he and his wife (the mayor) invited us to lunch on Friday. We had a nice, leisurely meal out under the trees in their yard (about 4 1/2 hours) and enjoyed the warm summer day.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Eighteen hour pizza crust

I'm always looking to improve my home-made pizza crust. The recipe I've been using for the past couple of years came from our friend Tom in Illinois (the proud owner of a wood-fired pizza oven) and it's been my favorite. Until now.

Our first "My Pizza" with thin-sliced ham, potato, béchamel sauce, and hot home-grown banana peppers.

Tom and Harriett recently visited us and brought with them a book called "My Pizza" by Jim Lahey. Mr. Lahey's pizza crust is very close to Tom's recipe, but is a little simpler in that it doesn't get kneaded. He says to put flour, water, and yeast in a bowl, mix it up, and let it sit covered at room temperature for eighteen hours. At the end of that time, he says to divide the dough, fold it over itself once or twice, and make your pizza. Naturally, you have to plan in advance. I start the dough at six in the evening so it's ready for the next day's lunch.

I tried it, and wow! Both Ken and I decided it's the best at-home crust we've had. It's tender and the outside crisps up very nicely in the oven. The crust develops those little charred blisters that are so delicious. I've made the recipe twice now. Each batch makes four individual pizzas; we each eat one for a meal, then refrigerate the remaining dough for another meal a couple of days later (the crust holds for up to three days in the fridge).

***UPDATE: Several readers asked for the recipe, so here it is (I've edited it a bit from the book's version).

18 Hour Pizza Dough
Jim Lahey

500 grams all purpose flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1.      In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt.
2.      Add water and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands.
3.      Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rise at room temperature for 18 hours (more when it’s cold, less when it’s hot).
When it’s time to bake: preheat the oven and baking stone to 275ºC (that's as hot as my oven gets).
Take the dough from the bowl and cut it into 4 equal parts and shape them: pull and make 4 folds then shape each portion into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.
Use right away or wrap the balls in plastic and refrigerate up to 3 days. Let refrigerated dough rest at room temperature for 2-3 hours before using.
Roll a ball out and place it onto a peel. (I use a little semolina on the peel to keep the dough from sticking.)  Sauce and top the pie quickly.
Bake the pizza on the stone until it’s done. Toss a couple of teaspoons of water onto the oven floor to make steam.
Take the pie out of the oven, slice it, and serve.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

'Y a du monde au balcon

Here's a nice summery scene. It's St.-Aignan's Bastille Day parade again, as it makes its way through town down toward the river. You can see that there are more spectators following the parade than there were actual marchers. Ken and our friends Harriett and Tom are in this photo, just in front of the girl in the light blue dress.

You can see the band and the fire brigade making their way down the street toward the right.

I like that there are two people on the balconies above the cheese shop. Can you see them? I didn't notice them when I took the picture. The cheese shop is pretty new. It's a branch of a shop in the nearby town of Selles-sur-Cher. It's nice, but unfortunately it's pretty high-end. I think we'll only go there for special items once in a while, or when we have visitors.

I hate to mention it, but it certainly feels like summer is winding down. We can feel the days getting shorter, and the past few mornings have dawned with that unmistakeable autumn chill. Also, the late summer wildflowers are out in abundance: wild carrot (Queen Ann's Lace) and chicory are the most common around us. Still, the days are sunny and warm and the air is dry. It's quite pleasant.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


In French, it's une élagueuse. When we had the hazelnuts and the laurel hedges cut down to size, we noticed that the gardener used a very small chainsaw. It was useful to cut the small trunks of the shrubs and trees since the gardener could hold it in one hand to work it. So, we decided that a tool like that would be good to have around when we wanted to prune our trees and shrubs ourselves.

The new saw is a MacAllister, a local store brand. I don't know anything about them. It's small enough to use with one hand.

After a little research, we decided on a hand-held model rather than one on the end of a pole. We think it will be more versatile. I can use it on a ladder in most situations. The first thing I plan to use it for is to cut up the hazelnut branches that the gardener left for us as firewood and kindling. They're smallish branches and using the big or medium chainsaw (in French, une tronçonneuse) on them is overkill and not very practical.

It came with a handy carrying case, which I think is hilarious. They probably wouldn't let me on an airplane with this.

So this is my third chainsaw. The first is a medium-duty electric model by Black and Decker. It's been great and I still use it for some things. The second is a heavy-duty gas-powered chainsaw that I use for cutting serious firewood. Now we have the little one for small jobs.

I'm a lumberjack and I'm o.k. I sleep all night and I work all day. I cut down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lava-tree.* On Wednesdays I go shopping, and have buttered scones for tea.

* That's how the English pronounce lavatory.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I love a parade

I took this photo on July 14, France's national day that we Americans call Bastille Day. Saint-Aignan apparently has a little parade to commemorate the day, although neither Ken nor I knew about it. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time this year. But don't blink; it goes by fast.

Uh, what's going on here... other than the passing fire brigade?

The "parade" consisted of probably twenty people total. Some firemen, members of the local police, and a marching band. There were more spectators than marchers. Still, it was loud and fun and the fantastic weather added to our amazement at this "discovery."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Streets dressed for summer

Make that singular. This one street in Saint-Aignan is adorned with these colorful triangles for summer. They seem to appear every year, but only on this street. They might have something to do with the gallery that's located on the street.

Tom, Ken, and Harriett checking out the St.-Aignan gallery from outside last month.

We said bye-bye to our big old concrete barbecue grill yesterday. It had started to lean, so I wanted to take it apart and re-level the base. When Ken and I started moving the pieces (and they are heavy), a few of them cracked. That convinced us to get rid of the thing. More of the pieces broke as we moved them to another spot.

We've had that big bbq grill for nine years and haven't used it much recently. It's just not convenient to the kitchen and we have the small electric grill on the deck. We use that one all the time. So we're thinking we'll get a gas grill for outdoors next spring. That way we can bring it inside over winter and move it around to where it's more convenient when we want to grill outdoors.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


The north edge of our property borders on a narrow wood that separates us from a vineyard just beyond. On either side of the property line are two rows of noisetiers (hazelnut trees) that towered about twenty-five feet tall. When we moved here ten years ago, a rudimentary fence (just a string of barbed wire nailed to posts) ran down between the two rows and along the length of the north edge of our property.

The trimmed hazelnut row inside our yard. Taken on Friday 09 August 2013.

We had that fence replaced pretty quickly. The fence closed in the yard so our dog, Collette, wouldn't wander the neighborhood. It had the added benefit of keeping the deer out of the yard and away from what would become our vegetable garden. We kept the nut trees, thinking that it would be nice to have a crop of hazelnuts every year. We soon learned that what the nut-boring weevils didn't get, the local squirrels did.

Almost the same view, but outside the fence, taken last spring before the work began.

I tried pruning the trees and cutting suckers off at ground level for a couple of years, but soon gave up in favor of other, more important chores. I had seen hazelnuts pruned hard to create a hedge and thought that we should do that. The years went on and, finally last year, we contracted with a gardener to cut the trees down to about four feet. He did the work this past spring and, at first, they looked pretty bare.

Above, looking the other way, the trees inside the fence being cut down to size last May.
Below, almost the same view on Friday after I finished trimming. The space between the hedge and fence is just right for the lawnmower.

But now that a few months have passed, the trees sprouted new growth and are filling in. I noticed recently that the new growth was getting pretty tall, so I got the hedge trimmer out and leveled the shrubs back to the cut height. The job was pretty easy because I could stay on the ground; no ladders necessary. Now it's starting to look like a proper hedge.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fancy ironwork

The château at Saint-Aignan is a little gem. As I've said before, it's privately owned and lived-in, so it's not open to the public for tours. The owner does have an agreement with the town (I presume) to allow people access to the courtyard, but the buildings and the park are off limits.

Part of the ironwork that decorates the gate into the castle's courtyard.

One day, I suspect, when the older members of the family pass away, someone will look to renovations and public access. Opening up the building for tours may bring in some public funding to help with restoration and repair. The grand stone stair that leads from town up to the castle is deteriorating badly. I would certainly pay an entrance fee to see the interior. At least once.

Friday, August 09, 2013

I am not, repeat not, repeating myself

Actually, I am. I wrote about the rooftops in Saint-Aignan back in the summer of 2009. I talked about slate roofs and tile roofs and how we see a pretty even blend of the two materials on our local buildings. Slate roofs are more common the farther north you go, and tile roofs become the standard as you move south toward the Mediterranean regions.

These are mostly slate rooftops.

There are variations, of course. Some roofs, especially in the south, are made with stones. Others in mountainous regions use schist/shale tiles called lauze that's like slate, but much thicker. Metal roofs are not uncommon, but I've seen them mostly on utility buildings like barns and garages. Our house's roof is made with concrete tiles called tuiles mécaniques; they interlock with a channel that's designed to shed water.

Here's a good mix of tiles and slate.

There's a spot on the terrace of Saint-Aignan's château where you can look out over the roofs of the main part of town. You can see examples of different roof treatments if you look closely. Mostly you will see dark slate and brown terracotta tiles. There are undoubtedly some tuiles mécaniques in the mix and I think I can spot a metal roof or two.

The view hasn't changed much over the years, but the camera and the blog format have.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The bridge at Saint-Aignan

The views from the terrace of the Château de Saint-Aignan are pretty on a nice day. The Cher river glides past below, separating into two branches around a narrow island. The bridge connects the town to the island and to Noyers-sur-Cher on the right bank.

The Cher Valley and the bridge seen from the terrace of the St.-Aignan castle.

The bridge is two lanes and is the only practical bridge across the river for kilometers on either side. There are a couple of smaller, one-lane bridges close by, but they don't work for trucks and most tourist traffic through our area. Consequently, summer traffic on our bridge can get a bit heavy.

A closer look.

The town copes with the traffic by setting the traffic lights to blinking yellow, giving bridge traffic the right-of-way through town. The problem is that it's hard to cross that line of cars and trucks if you're going in the opposite direction. There's talk of a by-pass and a second bridge, but I don't think that's the right solution. Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be any real project on the boards at the moment.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Artist at work

I have no idea who this is. I saw her in the courtyard of the Château de Saint-Aignan in July. She seemed to be sketching, but just what, I'm not sure. The courtyard of the castle is open to the public, but the castle itself is lived-in and not open to visitors.

Making a sketch of the stonework? The rooftops of Saint-Aignan are visible below the castle grounds.

The building she seems to be looking at is part of the stables and garage wing. It's across the courtyard from the main residential portion of the château. I wonder what's inside. There are some hunting trophies visible through the windows. Otherwise, I'll bet it's full of all manner of junk, some of which may be historically valuable.

A beautiful sunny summer day in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher.

Here's a wider view of the same scene to give you an idea of the size of the courtyard. The main part of the castle is not in the view; it's off to the left of where I'm standing. So these are the "out buildings."

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I have seen the light

And it was hanging from the ceiling. This is just an attempt at whimsy, looking up at a chandelier from below. One of the rooms in Chambord castle has four of these large fixtures hanging in it. On the walls are large paintings of hunting scenes.

Obviously not an original. There was no electricity in the sixteenth century, not even in the expensive homes.

Most of the castle's rooms are not furnished; the contents were either looted or destroyed during and after the revolution. It's a big, mostly empty, shell of a building. What furniture there is was recovered from elsewhere or recreated. Sections of the castle are used to display contemporary art exhibits.

I think I'll leave Chambord for now and move on to other things.

Monday, August 05, 2013


It's fun to get a peek every now and then of what's under all the fancy packaging that we are meant to see, to get a look at the parts of a building or a machine that we're not intended to see. In a lot of architecture, structure is apparent. It's built in as part of the external design. Think vaulted ceilings or flying buttresses in a gothic cathedral. Form follows function and all that.

That's some serious woodwork, called "la charpente" in French.

In many cases, a building's structure is hidden by ornament or other more practical and protective materials, like siding or roof coverings. I was fascinated by the heavy timber framing under the towering cupolas at the Château de Chambord. So I took a picture, naturally.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Your call will be answered in the order it was received

I know I've been going on and on with the photos from the Château de Chambord. Here is another one. This is inside the chapel and is a piece of a larger photo. I didn't like the way the picture turned out except for this one section, so I cropped the image to focus on the little girl. When I zoom in on the picture, I notice that she's looking right at me.

"Hello, God? Yes, I'll hold."

I don't remember her being there when I took the picture. It's a big chapel; I think my entire house would fit inside with room to spare. The girl looks like she's on the phone or something. I know people can listen to information about the castle on hand-held devices, maybe even their mobile phones, but I think she's a little young for that. Maybe not.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Looking south

Here's another view from the roof terrace at the Château de Chambord. I'm looking pretty much due south over the castle's "back yard." I'm glad I don't have to cut the grass here. The castle's grounds are walled in and the area that the walls enclose is about the size of the city of Paris. Pretty big.

The buildings on the left are stables. The buildings on the right house a couple of restaurants. They're all part of the park.

Most of the park is forested and for centuries was used as royal hunting grounds. In fact, I understand that royal hunting parties ventured well beyond the confines of the castle walls.

We had thunderstorms overnight, but they were relatively mild and didn't last long. I was up at 03h20 and out on the deck. The clouds were parting and I saw a bright light moving through the northern sky. I made a mental note of the time and then looked at the internet this morning to verify that I indeed saw the International Space Station pass by. Cool.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The hall of antlers

And skulls. It's kind of creepy when you see it up close. Most of these decapitated deer were killed in the 1960s, according to the plaque on each trophy. And many, or most, come from other places than Chambord. I don't know anything more about them.

Visitors admiring the antlers at Chambord castle.

Yesterday was hot! Not Death Valley hot, but hot for us. The nightly news is devoting half their program to the hot weather. I got the grass cut and the vegetable garden watered before it got too warm. We're expecting more of the same today, then storms moving through overnight and a cool-down. We're enjoying cooking on the grill at lunchtime then taking it easy in the afternoon and evening. You might ask, "How is that different from every other day?" Well, we don't always cook on the grill...

Thursday, August 01, 2013

So, speaking of stairways

Here's another pair inside the Château de Chambord. These are two matching staircases, although they are not identical. The one on the left is in the eastern courtyard and serves the royal apartments in the castle's northeastern tower. It's the fancier of the two staircases.

The ins and outs of sister stairways.

The stair on the right is in the western courtyard where one of the wings from the main keep joins the northwestern tower. That's where the chapel is. The windows on this stair look over that stage with the piano I showed you earlier.

And nobody mentioned the song reference from yesterday's post title.