Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The grapes are forming

The grape flowers are now nearly all gone and little grapes have taken their place. These will (hopefully) continue to grow through the summer. The bunches have already bent downward with the weight of the new fruit, looking more like what you'd expect. Right now they all look the same, but as fall approaches and the berries ripen, they will take on their colors, either dark (red) or light (white).

Brand new grape bunches on the vine.

The color is on the walls in the den. It looks like milk chocolate. Quite a change for us, but I think we like it. This morning will see the final coat of paint. Our contractor said that he would return later in the afternoon to clean up and re-install the radiators. His son helps with that. Then we're done, except for the moving back in part. More photos to follow, of course.

Monday, June 29, 2015

It's still "during"

With no work over the weekend, the den renovation continues this morning. So far, the radiator has been removed, sanded, and painted with a first coat. The old wallpaper is gone, the walls and ceiling were sealed, sanded, and primed. New binding paper went up on the ceiling and walls and the ceiling received two coats of paint. Wow; writing it down makes me realize how much has already been done!

Not much to see, but it's coming along.

Today we'll see the first coat of color on the walls and I think the radiators (there's a second one being done from another room) will get their second coats as well. The radiators are laid out on the deck, so we have to watch to make sure cats and dogs (you know who) don't walk on them. I know one dog who already has, but fortunately they were dry enough when she did it.

The ceiling is finished, at least.

We're hoping that everything will be done by Wednesday. Then it will be time to do a good cleaning of the floor tiles and start moving back in. I've picked out a new light fixture for the ceiling (from Ikea) that I think will be nice, but we have to go to Tours to get it. A shopping trip is in our near future. I will post photos of the finished work at the appropriate time.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wild chicory is bustin' out all over

You can tell it's summer. Not only are we in for a hot week, but the summer wildflowers are doing their thing. The beautiful blues of chicorée sauvage (wild chicory) dot the fields and roadsides through the vineyards out back. I think we used to call this "cornflower" back when I was kid, but I could be wrong about that.

Wild chicory.

As I type this, a hot air balloon is flying over the vineyards behind our house. It's moving roughly northwest in the early morning sun. If it keeps that heading, it may end up over the château at Chaumont on the Loire. If it turns more to the west, it will likely fly over the château at Chenonceaux on the Cher. Either way, the views will be spectacular!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

What's on tv

I have not set up the scanner in my temporary workspace, so I don't have this week's tv program cover to show you. No matter, because what's on tv this week is Wimbledon. Starting Monday, we'll have two weeks of grass-court grand-slam tennis to watch. Here's a gratuitous shot of our vegetable garden.

This used to be four separate plots, but this year we combined them all into one.

The garden got a late start this year, but everything is growing. Many of the tomato plants are making blossoms now. There are even tiny cucumbers and zucchini on their respective plants. It's very dry right now, so I water the garden by hand with a watering can. That way I only water the vegetable plants and the weeds have a hard time.

Friday, June 26, 2015

We're having a heat wave

But, not a tropical heat wave. It's almost hot. Today we're expecting the high to be around 30ºC (high 80sF). Then, next week, highs in the thirties (the low 90sF) all week. That's hot for here. People are already complaining, but that's typical. It will be uncomfortable for sleeping, but the tomatoes and peppers and the other garden plants will love it. And so, I think, will the grape vines.

A view of our hamlet from the vineyards.

I took this picture on a relatively cool and cloudy morning last week. It shows very clearly the curve of the hill we sit on. On either side of our house (in the middle), streams carve little valleys down to the river. You can see the other side of big river valley in the background beyond the houses.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Purple thistle thingy

This is some kind of thistle, I suppose, blooming now by the pond out back. I'm seeing more thistles around, wild chicory, and the Queen Ann's lace is starting up. Must be summer.

Thistles in black and white. And purple.

The temperatures are warming up, too. We're expecting a downright hot couple of days going into the weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Before and during, phase one

The den work got underway as planned on Tuesday. Finally that old, ugly wallpaper is history. And the big, heavy, cast iron radiator is down as well (but it's going back up after getting a facelift). Two of the walls in the room are covered with built-in bookshelves, cupboards, and a fold-up desk. One wall is the window/radiator wall, and the fourth is blank.

The horizontal panel is the fold-down desktop. That's where my computer monitor goes.

Twelve years ago, when we moved in, we were able to get the wallpaper off the blank wall and parts of the other walls. But it was a bitch. There were two papers, a dark background and a lighter print (world maps!) with wooden frames around the printed part. The frames were painted red and gold. Since the paper did not come off easily, we left it on the wall around the built-ins and painted the rest of the room.

The wallpaper was also behind the radiator. Ugh!

Now the walls will be all one color. We're not having anything done to the built-ins at this point. They'll stay like they are for the time being. One day we might re-do them, or rip them out altogether. Who knows?

The wallpaper is gone! And the patching of cracks and holes is done.

We added a second radiator (from the guest bedroom) to the job. They're very, very heavy things, but the contractor said he and his son would take them downstairs, load them into his truck, and take them to his shop for refinishing. That's worth the extra euros as Ken and I would certainly not be able to deal with them otherwise.

The room already looks cleaner, even though it's not.

I'll post more photos as the work progresses. Meanwhile, my work space has been relocated to the loft to a desk that is essentially a piece of plywood on two trestles covered with a screaming yellow table cloth. It's a much bigger work surface than I'm used to.