Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Holey back yard, Batman

You read that right. Holey with an "e." As in holes. Our property is punctured with holes. They're everywhere. I'd say there are at least a hundred of them, probably more. They're not mole hills (we get those, too). These holes are used by some other rodent(s), as yet unidentified. I've never seen so many holes in the ground. And it's not just us; our neighbors have them, too. But we seem to have more per square meter. I worry about Tasha getting hurt by stepping into one of the holes while running around in the yard. So far, we've been lucky.

At least four holes in this picture, with my foot for scale.

I wonder if the proliferation of these holes, in our yard at least, has something to do with Bert the cat being gone. He caught (and ate) a lot of mice during his life. I'd guess about one a day, on average. He spent a lot of time hunting. Now that he's gone, there's no predator in our yard.

On the bright side, we don't have mice in the house. Bert used to bring them in after he caught them. He ate most of those, but we still had to clean up after him. Yuck.

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Sucrine du Berry

A local favorite, the sucrine du Berry, which originated here in central France, resembles the more familiar butternut squash in both color and flavor. The flesh is orange in color and sweet in taste. I've grown them a time or two in years past and like them. This year, I planted what I thought were pumpkin seeds only to be surprised when the fruit appeared. Somehow I had mixed up the seeds and got sucrines instead. No matter.

Two of the half-dozen or so sucrines in this year's vegetable garden.

Sucrines are prepared like almost any other winter squash. I like to roast them, then puree the flesh. Excess roasted squash can go into the freezer without fear. We like the puree as a side dish, but we also enjoy using it in recipes, including as an alternative to pumpkin in pies, biscotti, and breads (cakes). We even use it in enchilada sauce.

Monday, October 02, 2023

Fly me to the moon

I saw this on Saturday morning's walk with Tasha. The sun was rising in the east and the just-past-full moon was setting in the west. Two airliners (does anyone say "airliner" any more?) heading south passed just above the moon. It looked cooler as it happened than this photo shows. I had to scramble with the DSLR settings before I could shoot. The 50mm prime lens was on the camera so I had no zoom capability.

Once in a while a jet will cross right in front of the moon, but I usually don't have a camera with me when that happens.

Today is predicted to be the hottest of our current Indian summer days at 31ºC (almost 88ºF). After that, temperatures and weather should be more seasonable. I'm going to miss shorts-and-tee-shirts weather.

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Fall flowers

The Jerusalem artichokes out by the garden shed are flowering now. I'm amazed at how they look, given the warm, dry summer we had and the fact that I never watered them. Not even once.

They've seen better years, but the flowers are still pretty.

So here we are in October. Well into fall. Leaves are starting to turn and some are tumbling to the ground already. We're still harvesting tomatoes; the zucchini are done. There are at least four good-sized winter squash on the vine and a few smaller ones. I'll start picking them in a few weeks. We'll certainly eat what we can, the rest will get roasted and pureed for the freezer. If there's room.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Cleaning up the daisy patch

I should have taken a "before" photo, but I forgot. I spent a couple of hours on Thursday and Friday cutting back the overgrown daisy patch, seen here as the wedge-shaped piece of ground next to the garden path. It's flanked by a fruitless prunus tree and a large forsythia. There's some more detail work to do, but if I don't do it, it won't really matter. Next spring the daisies will come back, as will the weeds, but I'll have a better shot at cutting the weeds out before they take over.

The daisies were between four and five feet tall. The weeds (brambles, vines, and assorted tree saplings) were getting taller. That's a rose in the middle. Now I have to think about getting that monster forsythia back under control.

The other thing I did was to fight back the incursion of thorny brambles just outside our northern fence, which runs the length of the property. That made it possible for me to run the lawnmower back there, keeping the woods at bay. Although, I must admit that, while I won the battle, I'm slowing losing the war.

Friday, September 29, 2023

You may approach the bench

I don't know if it's still like this, but when we visited the grounds of the Château de Carrouges in 2006, the benches and planter boxes in the garden were painted this striking color. I don't know what to call it. It kind of makes me think of teal, but that doesn't seem quite right. Teal is not as bright as this.

Even the moat boat was this color. What would you call it? Carrouges, June 2006.

I got some work done in the yard yesterday. The daisy patch needs to be cut down each year. I didn't do it last year, so it was a mess. Thorny brambles, honeysuckle, and even tree saplings were coming up through the dead flower stalks. So I got the hedge trimmer out and cut it all down to as close to ground level as I could. It was a chore, but it's done. And it looks so much better. Today my plan is to dispose of the four or five piles of what I cut out of the patch. And maybe take some pictures for posterity.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Bridge over Muddy Waters?!

Here's the more civilized way to cross the moat at Carrouges. It's not even a drawbridge. The old defensive fortress was destroyed in the Hundred Years War and, according to Wikipedia, rebuilt as more of a residence and less of a working fortress.

What good is a moat without a drawbridge? Carrouges, June 2006.

We're taking advantage of the mild weather to use the grill. It's not unusual to be able to grill this time of year, but once November comes, the grill will be cleaned up and covered for the winter. There are a lot of little yard chores to do, but I haven't been motivated. Maybe today.