Sunday, August 02, 2015

The grapes of August

There's good news and bad news. The good news is that there are a lot of grapes on the vines this year. The bad news is that they're very small. I guess it's all the heat and lack of rain. So, if things hold, there will be less wine, but it has to potential to be very good. Of course, the weather can change everything at the last minute. Harvest time is a long way off.

These grapes look like the normal size. I think they're red grapes. Maybe gamay. Don't hold me to it.

I really don't know much about the process, except for the very basics. We're just hearing things here and there from people who work the vineyards, and some from people who don't. I have certainly seen the tiny grapes, but there are also some grapes that look normal out there. Who's to say?

Saturday, August 01, 2015

What's on tv

Football! I don't really follow football (soccer for the Americans), so this week's special about who's covering what doesn't interest me much. There is never a lack of football on television. There are an abundance of leagues, teams, championships, and so on. It can make your head spin.

I probably will not be watching the Victoria's Secret Swimsuit Show tonight at midnight.

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.

Dinosaurs are in. I guess they have been ever since Jurassic Park came out in the early 1990s. But not every dinosaur movie can be a blockbuster.

Age of Dinosaurs. American made-for-tv movie. Directed by Joseph J. Lawson, 2013.
With Treat Williams, Ronny Cox, and Jillian Rose Reed.
A biotech firm develops a method for recreating dinosaurs through skin regeneration. The monsters rapidly spread terror throughout Los Angeles.
This bomb wants to be "Godzilla" and "Jurassic Park" but has neither the budget nor the actors to pull it off.
For adults and children over 10.

Friday, July 31, 2015

And the livin' is easy

It seems that we made it through our cold spell and the summer weather is returning today. The weekend will see us back in summer heat. I hope the tomatoes will like that. The rain barrels are full, so I'll be watering with free water for a while. There's not much going on in the vineyards that I can see. They've been doing a lot of mowing out there lately, and they've completed another round of trimming the vines into neat rows.

A mid-summer morning among the vines.

I finally (after a couple of weeks) took the step to drill holes in the newly painted den walls to hang pictures. I'm not done yet, but so far I'm liking it. Maybe there will be photos...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Winter squash

I planted six winter squash plants in this year's garden: two acorn, two butternut, and two potimarron (red kuri squash). The plants are beautiful and are spreading all over the place. I got a little worried when I noticed that, for the longest time, there were plenty of blossoms but absolutely no fruit. I wondered if I had planted all duds.

This squash's skin should darken to a very deep green as we get closer to harvest time.

But one day I noticed this acorn squash under the leaves. A few days later I noticed a couple more. And now there are several potimarrons coming along. Phew! There are still no signs of butternut, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is summer over?

I certainly hope not. But it really feels like fall right now with overcast skies, rain, and chilly temperatures. The weather people are predicting a warm up over the next few days. I hope they're right. Meanwhile, in the vegetable garden, the green beans are flowering and the little beans are growing. Winter squash is forming, and the tomatoes look ready to ripen. Now we need some more sun.

Green bean blossoms.

The zucchini is not disappointing. We've been eating some nearly every day and I still have about six of them in the kitchen. I may have to process them for the freezer if we can't catch up.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Our little fig tree has a few figs on it right now. We never get figs. They usually disappear before they ripen. I don't know if they're falling off or being eaten by something.

I wonder how long they'll last before they disappear?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer salads

Although the weather just turned more fall-like, we're enjoying summer foods. Garden zucchini is part of nearly every meal right now, prepared one way or another. We've also enjoyed some lemon cucumbers and green beans that a friend dropped by (from her garden) the other day.

Sliced lemon cucumbers in vinaigrette with fresh garden tarragon.

I've never grown lemon cukes, but I've had them a few times. Here they're prepared simply sliced and dressed in a vinaigrette with minced shallots, chopped tarragon, and paprika. Below are steamed green beans, cooled, and dressed in a similar vinaigrette.

Green beans in vinaigrette with shallots.

We've also made a summery potato salad and have been enjoying Ken's home-made rabbit rillettes. Today I'll do some sausages on the grill to go with the leftover potato salad, even if the air is a bit chilly. We did get some rain on Sunday, about seven millimeters in the gauge. They say the summer weather will be back in a few days. Let's hope so.