Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The other feeder

This bird feeder hangs from a branch of one of the twin maples in the front yard. Again, once I get the camera, the birds see me and fly away. I can assure you they were out there doing their best to empty the feeder just before I snapped this.

It only takes a day or two for the birds to almost empty this feeder.

Most of the seeds end up on the ground and the birds walk around eating them.

I suppose I could just pour the seeds directly on the ground, but that wouldn't be any fun.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Feed the birds

The other day I mentioned the two bird feeders out in the yard. This is one of them. It hangs from the decorative structure over the back yard well (the real fake well). You'd think I could have taken a photo with birds on the feeder, but they disappeared when I took out the camera.

The cylindrical feeder has four perches with access to the seeds.

I feed the birds during the winter, especially when it's cold and the ground is frozen and I imagine that the pickin's are slim. With both feeders, the tits will perch and use their beaks to throw most of the seed to the ground. They might be looking for something specific in the seed; I'm not sure. The other birds (robins, chaffinches, blackbirds) will then poke around on the ground and eat what's fallen. I see the robins attempting to perch from time to time, but they don't stay perched for more than a second or two. They prefer to walk around on the ground.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Plenty of nothing

I haven't been taking the camera out much in the past weeks. It's been dark and cold. I go out with Callie either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. The sun either isn't up yet or it's going down fast and I'm not motivated to take photos. Happily, the equinox is only two months away.

A frosty flattened plant.

Our cold spell is easing a bit. We got up above freezing on Saturday and this morning's low is only minus three. I keep seeing stories on television about people who like to jump into icy lakes for a swim. Silly sods.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Frosty oak

We're still enjoying frosty temperatures, especially in the morning when it gets down around minus five (celsius, which is 23ºF). It's good to have a freeze in the winter to kill off pests, at least that's what they say when it's not freezing.

A little oak sapling holds on to its frosty leaves. The leaves will drop in the spring when new growth starts.

We had some business to do in Blois on Friday morning so we added a few stops to our trip. First up was the Asian grocery in town to get some frozen shrimp and to stock up on bottled sauces. The store often has fresh okra, so we picked up some of that, too. Then we went to a big market that specializes in produce but also sells meat and cheese and includes a bakery. They carry a wide selection of products that we don't find in our local supermarket, so we go every now and then. Finally, we went to a discount grocery for a few things we like there that they sell at good prices. It was a good morning, and productive. Today we plan on making a shrimp stir-fry with bok choy (another vegetable we can't find in Saint-Aignan).

Friday, January 20, 2017

Keep calm and carry on

When the British faced the threat of a second World War, their government prepared a message: Keep calm and carry on. Although Americans are historically loath to take advice (or anything else) from Britain, we might do well to keep that message in the backs of our minds.

Lamp posts reflected in calm waters.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Here I am on a horse. I think it was the second, and last, time I rode a horse in my life. The year was 1981. I was a twenty-one year old urban cowboy. That fur-lined suede coat was one of my favorites. I also wore boots in those days.

Walt rides a horse. Giddy-up!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Flake news

That's what I've decided we should call the prediction of snow that doesn't materialize. I couldn't resist. Snow has not been predicted for us, so we're not the victims of "flake" news, yet. Temperatures have gone below zero as predicted, and today may be the first day in a string of days that the highs stay below zero where we live.

A frosty grape vine trunk.

Still, the news shows are all in chatter mode about the "worst cold spell in five years." There are parts of France where it is very cold and snowing. They're the parts of France you'd expect to be very cold and snowy in winter. The Alps, the Pyrénées, the Massif Central, Alsace, etc. And, gasp! It's sunny on the Côte d'Azur. In all fairness, they did have a heavy snowfall in Corsica. Above the elevation of 400 meters (about 1,300 feet).

I wonder if some people have got used to the mild winters we've been experiencing lately such that more normal winter weather is jarring. As for where we live, one week of freezing temperatures still adds up to a pretty mild winter over all.