Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ça commence !

It's beginning! There are several little zucchinis on the plants in the vegetable garden. Some of the first ones get to the size of a small pickle, turn yellow, and then fall off the vine and rot. But when they get to this size, chances are they will keep getting bigger until I pick them. With three plants, we should have a good crop all summer long.

A zucchini with the blossom still attached. It's about five inches long at this point.

A thunder storm passed by us during the night and it rained pretty hard for about half an hour. Tasha didn't get freaked out at all. We got fourteen millimeters in the gauge, just over half an inch. That will help things along after the week-long hot spell we had.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Neatness counts

Over the past week, the growers have been working to trim the grape vines. The first step seems to be a manual inspection to ensure the vines are properly attached to their guide wires and that the actual grapes are not in danger of being lopped off. The second step is to drive a tractor with spinning blades over each row, cutting the excess growth from the tops and sides of the vines.

These vines have been trimmed in the past week or so.

I believe that the reason for the trimming is to guide the vines' energy into the grape bunches rather than into producing more tendrils and leaves and, of course, too many grape bunches. The result of the trimming is a very neatly squared-off vineyard. The vines are trimmed at least twice during the growing season. I suspect that it depends mostly on the weather and rate of growth.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tasha Tuesday

Tasha is learning to go for walks in the vineyard. Not bad for a four month old dog. She's mostly good, but sometimes she wanders into places she should not go. Like into a neighbor's garden. So it's up to us to keep her away from temptation until she learns what's off limits.

Little Tasha ventures out into the vineyards.

On Monday, we took Tasha for a ride in the car, up to a winery we like to go to. She was very good, except that she threw up just before we arrived. We half expected that. Puppies get motion sickness. But she was mostly okay with the ride and was very glad to get home again. We'll do another shorter ride next week, I think. If Tasha learns to like the car, we will feel better about taking little trips here and there. There are many places we'd like to go for a few days, but always hesitated because Callie hated the car. Let's cross our fingers that Tasha does better.

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.