Saturday, November 25, 2017

Funky feline fotos

When the sun is out, especially this time of year, Bert likes to take advantage and soak up the rays. Lately he's been napping on the deck table. That's over now, since on Friday I took the table and chairs down to the garage for the winter.

Bert lounges on the deck table for the last time this year.

I also got the garden hose rolled up and put away while Ken did some work cleaning up the walkway and the greenhouse. Tasha pitched in, too, with plenty of barking and running around. We had a relatively warm week (I didn't need to build a fire for a few days), but a new weather system moved through last night and we're told to expect more chilly weather from now forward. 'Tis the season.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Make like a tree and leave

So I raked on Wednesday. As I mentioned earlier, it took about an hour. Tasha helped by barking very loudly every time I moved the rake and by jumping up onto me with muddy paws when I dumped the leaves in the garden. She's good like that.

Now you see 'em... you don't.

The morning started out chilly and foggy, but the sun eventually came out. I used an old refuse can with wheels to take the leaves out to the garden in back. It took seven trips. I dumped the leaves in piles, but didn't spread the piles over the garden plot. So, naturally, the wind picked up overnight and blew things around. Fortunately, the piles held their shapes pretty well and I'll be able get them spread out soon enough.

Next spring the leaves will get tilled into the soil as part of the compost.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. We ate snails in garlic/parsley butter for the appetizer, then the main course of roasted leg of lamb with steamed and sautéed Brussels sprouts and beans. We followed that with a small cheese course, then dessert of pumpkin pie. The beans and the pumpkin came from our garden, the beans having been shelled and dried a couple of months ago, and the pumpkin having been roasted and frozen from the 2016 garden. Another successful holiday meal!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

I live in Rivendell

Among the elves. Our deck looks like a scene from the Lord of the Rings. Arwen tells Elrond that she has chosen a mortal life. "There is no ship now that can bear me hence," she says. And she drops a book. There are leaves blowing around on the floor. Like there are on my deck.

Arwen drops her book on the floor.

I dropped my book on the deck.

Speaking of leaves, I got the raking done under the maples out front. Those leaves are now in the garden plot. This morning it's windy and the leaves are blowing around (but not too much). Oh well.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Crushed can with shards

Not much to say today. My big plans: raking leaves. The two big maples in front are bare and the leaves are on the ground. And they're dry. With rain expected by Friday, I want to get out there move the leaves to the garden plot. It shouldn't take long once I get started.

The can was probably crushed by car tires moving along this dirt road.

The leaves under the linden tree out back are still not all down. And yet, the ground beneath the tree is covered with a golden carpet. I probably won't be motivated to do much about that today, except for maybe clearing the walkway. That would be a good thing to accomplish.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tasha Tuesday

With Bert. Whenever there is something going on in the kitchen, there is the possibility of food. At least from the perspective of the dog and cat. Tasha and Bert often join forces to elicit compassion in the chef, hoping for a handout, a tasty morsel or, at the very least, something inadvertently dropped onto the floor. Stuff happens.

Tasha and Bert plan their strategy while Ken works at the kitchen sink.

Something funny (from my perspective) happened on Monday: Tasha discovered the back window of the car. We took two cars to the garage so we could drop one off for its oil change. Tasha and I were in the lead and Ken followed behind us. I told Tasha that he was back there and she just happened to look behind. Then she couldn't stop looking behind. She turned around and put her front paws up on the seat back to watch the car behind us. I don't know if she actually could see that it was Ken following us, but she was fascinated. I laughed the whole way over to the garage.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The living room

This time of year it's often dark. Cloudy, foggy, rainy, whatever. I usually have a fire in the wood stove for heat. It helps us save on fuel oil. I also like to light candles. It gives some light and some color in the room during these darkening days.

Not so dark on this day, but the camera can make it look lighter than it really feels.

At some point in December, probably around the fifteenth, I'll put up the holiday tree. Those lights will get us through the darkest days and into the new year. The living room is called le salon in French.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


This is one of the more interesting looking of the garden allotments on the island at Saint-Aignan. The two little storage buildings wear their age well. Maybe it has to do with the slate roofs. The planting plots are clean and recently tilled. It's not just this one, either. Most of the allotments are obviously well tended. Only a few look abandoned and wild.

The allotments are often planted with fruit and nut trees in addition to the cultivated ground plots for vegetables.

I'm not certain what garden allotments are called in the US. I don't remember ever seeing them in the places I've lived. In some cities there were, and are, "community gardens," but that's a slightly different concept, although Wikipedia says that the differences are becoming blurred. Community gardening started out with a single plot of land worked by many members of a community, whereas allotment gardening consists of distinctly separate plots worked by individuals or families.

Allotment gardening seems to have started in England and was adopted in France around the turn of the century (that would be 1900, for you youngsters out there). They were called jardins ouvriers (workers' gardens) at first, but after the second world war, they became known as jardins familiaux (family gardens).