Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tasha Tuesday

We've been spending a lot of time indoors over the past few days. The rain and chilly temperatures are the reason. Tasha still gets her two daily walks, even if one or both are cut short by a rain shower. She loves her walks and is learning about the different ways we can go. Callie had her favorite paths, and I expect Tasha will, too. Here she is being coy for the camera.

Tasha is learning to get brushed, but it's a slow process, so her fur is not as neat and tidy as it could be.

She's still such a puppy. Everything is exciting to her, and most everything is potentially edible (yuck). Sunday was her five-month birthday, and she's been with us now for three months. She's a very different dog from Callie and, while we miss Callie, we're enjoying getting to know Tasha. Life is now both very much the same and very much different, if you understand what I mean.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Beefsteak

One of the tomato varieties that I planted in this year's vegetable garden is "beefsteak," a popular variety of tomato in the US. We brought the seeds back from there a couple of years ago. The tomatoes are forming nicely, but as you can see, they're still a long way from ripe.

Beefsteak tomatoes on the vine.

The other varieties in the garden this year are brandywine (a variety of beefsteak), cœur de bœuf, yellow jubilee, roma, and fireball. All the plants have fruit on them, some more than others. All of them are still green. I noticed that one of our neighbors has red tomatoes already. I think they planted much earlier than we did, and I'll wager they bought the seedlings and therefore got even more of a head start.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Wild chicory

I know that Ken just posted a bunch of photos of this wildflower, but I have a few so I thought I'd just go ahead and post them, too. Or, at least one. This is high summer for us, when the Queen Ann's Lace and the wild chicory are in bloom. It's hard not to think that fall is on its way.

Wild chicory grows, well, wild, all around the vineyards out back.

Speaking of fall, I just ordered our fuel oil for the winter season, and soon we will order a load of firewood. Jeez. I don't want to think of the cold and rainy (and maybe snowy) season ahead. But that's life. At least we still have a month or so of summer, followed by fall, to go before the cold. It's better to order the fuel oil now, while summer prices are low, than to wait until demand and prices go up as the colder season approaches.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

An itsy bitsy spider

No water spout to climb up here. I took this photo because I liked the pattern of the veins in the leaves. Then I noticed the little spider. It really is tiny, less than a millimeter across.

The tiny spider is just to the right of the green leaves.

On Friday we took Tasha for a ride in the car. We had to go the garage to pick up the old Peugeot after it was fitted with a new clutch. Tasha did well on the ride. At least she didn't hate it. And that's good. We'll take her for a few more rides in the weeks to come. Then, toward the end of August, she goes to the vet's to be spayed. We don't want her to think that riding in the car means a trip to the vet's.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Basil

Basil is one of the more difficult herbs to grow where we live. It's just not warm enough for it to grow well out in the garden. Some years we've had a good crop. Most other years have been a disappointment. But now, with the greenhouse, we can grow basil more reliably.

Basil growing in the greenhouse.

When it's less than warm outdoors, the greenhouse stays warmer. And that's what basil likes. So we have enough basil for summer Caprese salads made with tomato, mozzarella, and basil. Yum. And we also have enough for many of our favorite Thai dishes. We may even have enough this year for pesto!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lemon squash

Our friend K., who lives a couple of towns up-river from us, offered us a lemon squash plant last spring. I had never heard of lemon squash and I don't remember ever seeing it at the market. I planted the seedling she gave us next to the zucchinis in the garden. It has grown vigorously and is now producing bright yellow summer squash which are, as you might imagine, the size and shape of lemons.

Three yummy lemon squash.

I sliced up these three squash, brushed them with olive oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika before putting them on the grill. They were delicious (they taste just like any other yellow summer squash) along side some grilled smoked chicken.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Warmest morning

Tuesday was a hot day and this morning is probably the warmest morning of the year, so far. I woke up to nearly 25ºC (77ºF ) at 06h00. That's pretty darned warm for the morning low in these parts. But, as usual, it is not expected to last. Today's high will be lower than Tuesday's, and it will be getting downright chilly again in the mornings to come.

Grape bunches on the vine, a couple of months away from harvest time.

And it's dry. The rain barrels are nearly depleted again. Until the next rain, garden watering will have to be done with the hose. But the tomatoes, squash, and green beans are loving the heat. And so are the grapes out in the vineyards. I wonder if the hot weather we've had has made up for lost time caused by the April freeze?