Saturday, June 19, 2021

Summer vacation

Ever since Wednesday night's thunderstorms, it seems that summer has gone away on vacation. The air is much cooler, much cloudier, and it rains off and on. I want to cut the grass, but it's too wet. I need to weed the vegetable garden, but it's too wet. At least I don't have to water outdoors.

A summery day last week out in the vineyards.

It was raining lightly when I woke up this morning, and I see by the radar that a mild thunderstorm is headed our way in the next hour or so. More serious storms are predicted for later this afternoon. And it's chilly again. Summer arrives officially on Monday (astronomical summer), but how can it get here if it's away on vacation?

Friday, June 18, 2021

The tomatoes are forming

This is one of our first tomatoes of the year. It's a roma and it's not much bigger than an olive, but it's a start! The storm on Wednesday night really battered the plants. Almost all of them were lying on the ground Thursday morning, but they weren't damaged. I've since pulled them back upright and tied them to their stakes as best I could. As they continue to grow that will get easier.

It won't be long before I know if the calcium treatment worked to prevent blossom end rot.

We had more rain on Thursday evening, but it was not stormy and the rain did a good job of rinsing the mud off the tomato plants. The weeds are thriving, so now it's time to get out there and do some weed control. It's a tough row to hoe.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Honeysuckle in the hedge

I mentioned the other day that chèvrefeuille (honeysuckle) is taking over a section of our hedge out back. Here's a view of that section from outside the back gate. The hedge is composed of laurier cerise (cherry laurel). Mostly. The large oval leaves you see are the laurel; the white and yellow flowers are on the honeysuckle vines that are intertwined with the laurel trunks and stems.

Honeysuckle thrives in this section of the hedge.

We had a doozy of a thunderstorm last night between 01h00 and 02h00. The lighting was blinding and the thunder shook the roof as the storm passed directly above us. We closed all the loft windows. The storm was so intense that it scared Tasha and she ended up on the bed between us, burying her head under pillows. We both rubbed her head to calm her down and, as the storm faded off to the north, she fell asleep against me. Then Bert, who had not come home before bedtime, came into the house meowing just before 02h00. That got Tasha up again. Me, too. I had to go downstairs and close Bert's window and dry him off. I suspect he hunkered down somewhere (maybe under the carport) until the storm passed and then came back in.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tasha Tuesday on Wednesday

Tasha's trip to the groomer's went well. She got a bath and a trim and a good brushing. She still needed to be muzzled because she snaps when her hair is pulled by the brush. That's one of the reasons I don't brush her as often as I should. Here she is on Tuesday morning as we headed out for our walk.

Tasha still has a lot of fur. Sheep dogs!

I'm planning a run to the dump this morning. It looks like we might have thunderstorms and rain over night. I'll keep an eye on the forecast. but I should spray the tomatoes with bouillie bordelaise again before that happens. The grape growers were out spraying the past two days and I take my cue from them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


A section of our back hedge has been taken over by chèvrefeuille (honeysuckle). Its name (in French) means "goat leaf." I don't know why. I also don't know if the hedge is in danger from the plant. It's fully integrated in the hedge and would be very difficult to remove. It's been there since we moved in eighteen years ago, but there is considerably more of it now than there was then.

Some of the honeysuckle flowers are white and others are yellow.

We'll be taking advantage of our summery spell to cook burgers on the grill today. It's my morning to walk with Tasha so I think I'll take the camera and try to get a good photo of her while she's still relatively clean and untangled.

Monday, June 14, 2021

I'm looking over

A patch of clover. Nothing special about these. They're common plants in the margins of the vineyards out back. And now they're flowering. These are white and the most common, but there are others with purple flowers. Now that I type that, I realize I should have taken a photo of the purple ones.

Vineyard clover at sunrise.

We're enjoying a really nice spell of summery weather. Sunny dry days with high temperatures in the mid to upper 20sC (around 80ºF). The vegetable garden is enjoying it and I'm enjoying watering by turning on the soaker hose. So easy.

Clay court season came to an end on Sunday with Novak Djokovic's expected victory over Stefano Tsitsipas to win the French Open. The Greek started out really well, taking the first two sets, but the Serb came back and dominated the remaining three. Now it's on to the short grass court season, starting today with the Queen's Club tournament in London and the Halle, Germany, tournament.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Bird ghost

Every once in a while, a bird will mistake the sight line from our deck through the house to the den window for a clear flight path. The problem is that there is glass in the way. Bam! More than one little bird has met its end crashing into the deck windows. Some are lucky and are only stunned for a few minutes before getting up and flying away. The other day the rising sun lit up this imprint of a bird and its wing on the glass.

I don't remember when this bird hit the glass or whether it survived.

Normally I would have already washed these windows as part of our spring cleaning. This year I thought I'd wait until after the deck renovation. Now I don't know when that will happen, so I may just go ahead and wash the windows anyway.