Monday, February 08, 2016

Mariah blows the stars around

And sends the clouds a-flyin'. We're on the southern edge of a storm that's blowing across the north from Iceland to the British Isles. The wind has been whipping around out there all night, and is expected to continue through to Tuesday. We certainly will not be getting the worst of it, but strong gusts still make me nervous.

The clouds were already a-flyin' on Sunday morning.

Monday macros saw its shadow last week and dove away underground. I expect it to show up again any day now, once the wind dies down. In the meantime, you can paint your wagon.

Sunday, February 07, 2016


With all of the rain we've had in January, the pond outside our back gate is overflowing. Water seeps over the lowest spot, closest to the gate, and runs downhill (of course) along the tractor path between vine parcels until it gets to a drain which, I presume, channels the water through a pipe down into the adjacent ravine. From there it heads toward the river.

Overflow from the pond makes for some soggy ground.

Needless to say, the ground outside our back gate is soggy. When cars and trucks use this spot to turn around, their tires sink into the mud and leave serious ruts. It ain't pretty, but there's not much to be done about it. We live in the country, after all. The rain shows no signs of letting up in the coming week; one system after another is predicted to bring us more water and wind.

Saturday, February 06, 2016


The cyclamen are in full bloom in our grass right now. The primroses won't be far behind, unless we have a freeze. But that seems unlikely in the foreseeable future. I talked to one of the grape growers out in the vineyard yesterday and he was shaking his head about the fact that we haven't had any freezes. Just a few mornings at -1ºC or colder, he said, would be all we'd need. I don't know if that's about killing pests or putting the vines into dormancy or what. Maybe it's a little of both.

Little groups of cyclamen come up here and there in the grass.

Soon I will be outside making things ready for spring. Some low shrubs need to be trimmed back, old flower beds need to be cleaned up, etc. I'm still waiting for the garden crew to come and prune back two apple trees. They flaked out on me last year, for which they apologized profusely. This year they said they'd come at the end of January. I guess I forgot to ask them which year.

Friday, February 05, 2016


I've tried a new (different) card in my camera and it seems to be working just fine. We tried many things to rescue the old card, but nothing works (and thanks for your suggestions), so I guess it's just one of those things. Since I don't yet have any new photos to share, here's a rerun from February 2013. It kind of looks like now, weather-wise, and the ground is just as wet.

The fur on Callie's legs and belly gets wet, then the mud from the road sticks to it.

We've ordered a cat tower for Bert. He's taken to lounging in the utility room on a chair, and when Callie sees him she's all over him. We're hoping the tower will make him high enough so she can't reach him, and maybe not even notice that he's there. I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Technical difficulties

I took some photos on my morning walk on Wednesday. This morning, when I attempted to move them from the SD card in the camera to the computer, my computer would not read or even find the SD card. The computer reads other cards just fine. No computer in the house will read the affected SD card. The camera will not read it, either, nor will it format the card. It seems to have just died.

Please stand by.

This is the first time I've had a card that just became unreadable. I have no idea what happened, but I do know that those photos are gone. So today you get a shot from last year.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Let them eat crêpes

We enjoyed our annual meal of crêpes on Tuesday. It all worked out rather well, and both the savory and sweet crêpes were delicious. I made both batters in the morning and allowed them to sit in the 'fridge for a couple of hours. For the savory crêpes, I used sarrasin (buckwheat flour), a couple of eggs, a little vegetable oil, salt, and water.

Ingredients for stuffing savory crêpes: sauteed mushrooms, ham slices, and grated cheese.

I made the savory crêpes in the larger of our crêpe pans and held them warm by wrapping them in a towel. In the meantime, Ken grated cheese and I sauteed some mushrooms. Then we stuffed each crêpe with a slice of ham, some of the mushrooms, and the cheese before folding them up into little envelopes and putting them into the oven until the cheese melted.

Stuffing and folding the crêpes.

We each ate two of them, followed by a nice green salad. Very tasty and very filling! We saved the sweet crêpes for later in the evening. That batter was very similar, except that I used all-purpose flour and milk, and I made the crêpes in the smaller pan. We filled some of those with jelly and some others with triple sec and sauteed them in a little butter before eating them.

Lunch is served!

I should make crêpes more often. They're easy to do, once you get the hang of it. One thing I've learned over the years is to be patient and let each crêpe cook thoroughly before trying to turn it over. It should release from the pan easily and slide around before any attempt to flip it. And flip it I do, up into the air and back into the pan. It's quite fun.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Walk this way

Well, that title might have worked better if Steven Tyler lived in this direction. As it is, it's Mick Jagger who owns a house not far from this little arrow. Apparently Mr. Jagger spends enough time at his Loire Valley manor house outside of Amboise that people we know have seen him out and about. We never have.

I have no idea what this sticker means. Maybe it marks a hiking route through town?

I'll be making crêpes for lunch today. They will be traditional Breton buckwheat crêpes, filled with ham, mushrooms, and a cheese sauce. Then we'll have sweet crêpes for dessert. I'm already hungry.