Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Valley fog

Yesterday's photo looked west over the vineyard with the river at my back. Today's photo is the reverse. From out among the vines, I'm looking back toward the northeast. The river valley, just beyond our hamlet, is filled with fog.

At sunrise on Sunday, the river valley was filled with fog.

Everything is still wet, wet, wet. It's not raining hard, it's just raining almost constantly. The trees drip, the ground is spongy, the slippery mud is treacherous. And now there are freezing temperatures in the forecast for the upcoming week. Which is worse? Warm and wet, or cold and icy? Not that we will have much of a choice in the matter.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Misty morning

When the chilly night air meets the ground-level humidity, water vapor condenses and forms fog. The river valley was completely socked in on Sunday morning and fog came and went out in the rain-drenched vineyards.

A layer of ground fog in the Sunday morning vineyard.

I noticed on Sunday that our rhubarb plants are starting to poke up through the ground. There are flower buds on the plum tree out back. The tulips are up and some of the daffodils have flowers already. And I can see yellow blossoms getting ready to open on the forsythia. I think our warm January has given the spring growth a head start. A freeze in the coming weeks would probably do some damage. Fortunately, the grape vines are not budding yet.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Pizza pie

I made a pizza for lunch early last week while Ken was still away. I made pizza for both of us again on Saturday. I topped my first pizza and one of the Saturday pizzas with smoked chicken and sautéed red and green bell peppers. The third pizza got topped with smoky bacon and sautéed leeks. Both had cheese, but only the chicken and pepper pizza had tomato sauce. Pizza is one of the more important food groups. In my house, at least.

Tuesday's pizza, covered with chunks of smoked chicken, sautéed red and green bell peppers, and cheese.

The rain tapered off on Saturday afternoon. But walking with Tasha was still a muddy mess. I don't expect it will be much different later this morning when we go out. Squish, squish.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Back to normal

Our snow episodes of the past week or so are over. Winter came and went quickly, and without a trace. Did it really happen? Thank goodness for the photographic record, otherwise I would have to wonder if it was all a dream. By the way, it apparently rained all night last night. Still raining this morning.

A sunny, frosty morning last Tuesday, just hours before our last snowstorm. We got about an inch and it melted away within 24 hours.

We're back to walks in the mud with Tasha. She's been needing a rinse after her morning walks again. Still, she doesn't seem to get as dirty as Callie used to, even though she's closer to the ground. Callie must have had a way of walking that kicked up a lot of sand and dirt.

Friday, February 16, 2018


Earlier this week, I made cornbread. The lunch plan was to have some of Ken's pulled pork, North Carolina style (from the freezer), with cole slaw and cornbread. I put half a cabbage and a carrot through the food processor for the slaw. Some mayonnaise, plain yogurt, mustard and a little vinegar went into the dressing. Then I made the cornbread.

A little butter is always good with cornbread fresh out of the oven.

The recipe, Aunt Cloe's Corn Pone, comes from our friend H. in Illinois. I altered it a little by adding an egg to the batter and it came out very nicely. The recipe calls for buttermilk, but since I don't have that, I used a cup of plain yogurt mixed with a cup of milk. I reduced the amount of sugar by about a third and, like I said, added a beaten egg. The bread baked in a round cake pan for about 30 minutes at 180ºC (350ºF).

Aunt Cloe's Corn Pone (modified)

2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar (I used a little less)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups corn meal

Mix all the ingredients until batter is smooth, pour into a lightly greased pan and bake for 30-50 minutes in a pre-heated 350ºF oven, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Oh snow you don't

Like I said, it snowed again on Tuesday. And it snowed for most of the day. But the temperature was hovering just above freezing and the snow really couldn't accumulate much. It's all gone now, especially with this morning's low temperature of about 8ºC (about 46ºF), and it's supposed to get even warmer as the day goes on.

Snow falling on Tuesday morning, seen from inside the greenhouse.

So is that the end of winter? Who can say. We have more than a month to go until the equinox and anything can happen. February has lived up to its reputation as our coldest and snowiest month (and that's anecdotal, I have done no research).

Tasha and I went to the train station to pick up Ken yesterday. She enjoyed being out and about in the car and was so very excited when she saw Ken on the station platform. We're settling back into our familiar routine.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Snow kidding

It's another snow post! The photo is from last week, but it snowed again just yesterday. That's the third time in a week. It started around 11h00, turning the ground white again. The temperature was just above freezing, so it slowly started to melt. But the snow just kept falling through the afternoon.

Tasha at the back gate waiting for me.

Ken gets home today (his plane landed at CDG at 06h41). It's a good thing, too, because he's missing winter! Much of yesterday's snow is gone already, but enough of it survived to freeze over night. Still, temperatures will be rising and the snow should be completely gone by mid-day as a new warmer weather system moves in. Whatever the weather, we'll be glad to have Ken back home safe and sound.