Sunday, April 26, 2015

Funky feline fotos

Bert likes to come visit us on the deck in nice weather. Sometimes he jumps up on my lap, other times he sprawls on the table, and this time he nestled down into one of the empty planter boxes. I will soon be putting geraniums in the planters, but in the meantime, Bert thinks that they're spa beds.

It's almost like a sarcophagus. He has no idea that cats were once mummified.

In the good weather, Bert gets more people time than he does in winter. He'd rather snooze close to us than down in the garage where his bed is. He still spends most mornings on the couch when Ken gets up, but he has to go outside when it's time for Callie's breakfast. Mademoiselle does not tolerate cats.

Snooooze.

It's too bad, because Bert has no problem with dogs. It's just Callie who won't leave him alone. She was here first, it's her house, and from her point of view, Bert is an intruder who must be chased. Oh well. It's been five years and nothing's changed.

Just hanging out on the table top.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What's on tv

This week's cover celebrates the upcoming season of summer sports. There will be swimming (world championships in Russia), cycling (le Tour de France), tennis (Roland Garros), rugby (World Cup), and track and field (world championships in Beijing), among the highlights. I know I'll be watching the tennis and the cycling. I'm not really into the cycling per se, but they usually have terrific aerial views of France during the three week race.

A sports-filled summer. Just like last year. And the year before that.

What not to watch this week. Our tv magazine rates shows and movies using a star system: one star is ok, four stars is best. They use another symbol for really bad movies: the red dot. It means "à zapper" (change the channel!). The editors often include comments about the movie that make me laugh.

We leave the weather disasters behind this week and move into the realm of alien visitation. This time, it's the Roswell, New Mexcico, mythology, starring Denise Crosby, probably best known for her stint as Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She knows her space aliens.

Invasion Roswell. American made-for-tv movie. Directed by David Flores, 2013.
With Greg Evigan and Denise Crosby.
Sixty-six years after they crashed in Roswell, aliens return to invade Earth. Veterans of an elite force are called to the rescue.
This flop feels like it was made in the 1980s with a paltry budget and washed-up actors. The sound effects used for the weapons are ridiculously absurd.
For adults and children over 10.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Red maples

Two red maple trees tower over the drive at the front of our house. When they're fully leafed out, they filter the morning sun on the house's eastern facade. During summer's warmest days, the dappled light helps keep the living room from heating up too much. In winter, when they're bare, the low sun can shine through. When there is sun.

The top of one of the maple trees and its shiny new red leaves, taken from our deck.

The apple trees in back are in full blossom right now. We're in an "on" year for the apples and I'm expecting a lot of them. It will be a pain when they start to fall from the trees later this summer and I have to pick them up before I can cut the grass. Most of them go into the compost pile (you can only eat so many apples), and that's good for the garden.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Figs

Many years ago (in 2006, I think), we planted a fig tree in our back yard. The word "tree" is a stretch. I think it's still less than two feet tall. And it's never really produced any edible figs. I should point out that there are marvelous fig trees all around our area. Huge, productive trees. I don't know why ours is not. One cold winter it froze to the ground and we thought that was the end of it. But it came back from the roots the next spring, so we kept it.

I love fresh figs and I'm hoping to get to eat these.

However, in the past two years, the tree has started to get bigger. And this year there are about a dozen tiny figs like the two you see in the photo. I'm hoping, against hope, that this is the start of something, if not big, at least a little bigger.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Coucou, c'est nous !

This is prime time for les coucous (cowslips) where we live. They're typical spring wildflowers and proliferate along the vineyard road, especially near areas where water collects or runs. We have a few in our lawn, but they really thrive out in the places that are not cut in spring.

Les coucous en pleine floraison.

Yellow is the common color for these flowers, but I have seen a few with tinges of orange and even red. The word coucou is also the French word for cuckoo, that bird with the distinctive call that we hear this time of year. The cuckoos are with us from April through June until they move on. They over-winter in southern Africa and southeast Asia.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Four for a dollar

There's an old joke about a guy named Arthur who robs a grocery store. In the process he strangles four of the store's employees and, when he finally opens the register, all he gets away with is a single dollar bill. The headline in the paper reads, "Artie chokes four for a dollar." Rimshot.

I like the grey-green of the artichoke plants in our garden. There are two left and they seem healthy.

You can tell it's an old joke; artichokes are considerably more expensive these days. On Monday I got some gardening done. I weeded the new rhubarb patch (man, those weeds grow fast), planted six strawberry plants, and trimmed the tall grass along the edges of the garden pathway.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just a dandy lion

I noticed yesterday that the cottonwood trees are starting to release their seeds. They almost look like snow flurries, little white puffs floating by on the breeze, slowly, but surely, settling down onto the ground. There will be more as we move through spring.

I'm afraid there's no denyin', I'm just a dandy lion, a fate I don't deserve...

The dandelions are also doing their thing, although I mostly notice the bright yellow of their flowers and not so much the seeds swinging from their tiny parachutes. They are much lower to the ground when they fly and don't seem to go as far.