Saturday, December 04, 2021

Looking back in white and black

Now that I'm running out of fresh photos, it's raining outdoors. That means I won't be taking the camera out on my walks with Tasha. Oh well, there's always a food photo or two.

Looking easterly toward the hamlet from the vineyard.

I found coques (cockles) at the market yesterday, so today we're making linguini with white clam sauce for lunch. The market in Montrichard is larger than at Saint-Aignan. The town was pretty with shop lights glowing brightly and snow flurries flying. The poultry vendor told me that Saint-Aignan's Christmas market will be held on Thursday the 23rd this year since Christmas falls on Saturday. Next week, or the week after, one of us will go into town to place the order for our holiday bird. I think we're leaning toward a chapon de pintade (Guinea fowl capon).

Friday, December 03, 2021

At least it's not corn

Fall brings a lot of browns to the landscape around us. The grape vines are naked now, their brown leaves carpet the ground below them. Most of the fall color in the woods is more brown than orange or yellow. Late summer wildflowers have sown their seeds and stand dead and brown on the margins of the vineyard parcels. The grasses and evergreens provide a contrast of deep green against the brown. And the rose hips punctuate it all with brilliant red.

Remnants of wildflowers. They'll be back next year.

I'm making a run to the market this morning, mostly to find out what the holiday schedule will be. While there I'm going to look for coques (cockles, like little clams) for a linguini with white clam sauce lunch over the weekend. Then it's off to the supermarket to get whatever else is on the list. Hopefully today's predicted rain will hold off until I'm done.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Again with the corn?

When will it end? The short answer: today. The long answer: I don't have any more photos of the corn. I will, however, let you know when the two plots are harvested, or at least cut down.

I think the little corn plants are kind of pretty. The colors are subtle, but they're there.

Looks like a messy weather weekend is forming up. Freezing morning temperatures will give way to warm (ish), rainy days. Great dog-walking weather. Not.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The nose knows

Or at least it seeks to find out. Some deer (I think) ripped this ear of corn off its stalk and enjoyed a meal or two of fresh corn kernels. The cob is in the dirt road not far from a stand of corn out among the grape vines. Just as I took the photo, a certain canine stuck her nose into the shot (second photo).

Corn cob as art. Second attempt, sans dog.

This morning's low temperature at the house is about 9ºC (about 48ºF). Compare that to yesterday's low of just below freezing. We should be having some rain this morning as the warmer system moves through. According to the radar, it's just about here as I type this (06h45).

I smell deer breath!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Ear in the husk

This ear of corn is still attached to its stalk, but it's been opened and the kernels have been nibbled. I'm thinking chevreuil (roe deer). They're tall enough to stand next to the stalk and easily reach the ears.

This ear didn't get very big, but it provided a couple of tasty, I'm sure, mouthfuls to some deer.

Another day starting out at freezing, or a little lower depending on where you stand. Yesterday I sawed some more old grape vine trunks for the wood burner, and I burned a good deal of them. I may be out there again today to do some more.

I'm planning a market run to the nearby town of Montrichard on Friday. I want to check out our poultry vendor's calendar for the holidays so we'll know when to place our order for the Christmas bird and when, and where, to pick it up. This year is tricky because Christmas Day falls on Saturday, the day of the regular market here in Saint-Aignan (our poultry vendor does both markets each week). I'm sure it's fallen on a Saturday before, but I don't remember the details of how that affected the market schedule.

Monday, November 29, 2021

You scratch my back...

These are cynorhodon (rose hips) from the églantier (wild or dog rose), common along the edges of the vineyard road and woods around us. They provide a nice touch of red this time of year. According to Wikipedia, a common name for these is gratte-cul (butt scratcher). Apparently, the fibers inside the hip cause an itchy rash when they come into contact with human skin. Who was the unfortunate one to find that out first, I wonder?

You are advised not to rub these on your backside. Or any other side.

We're down to freezing again this morning. At least the precipitation seems to be over. Until Wednesday, when a warmer system is expected. December will be coming in like a... uh... goat?

Sunday, November 28, 2021


One of the vineyard parcels that was torn up recently has now been plowed. Except for a strip leading to the pile of grape trunks in the middle. Interesting. Will the trunks be taken away? Burned between now and spring? Who can say?

There's an even bigger parcel on the left that hasn't been plowed. But the trunks are gone.

Lunch plans for today's hachis parmentier (shepherd's pie) have been modified. Ken's making a lamb and barley soup instead. He also put away enough lamb to make a curry and a tajine (spicy north African stew) in the coming days. The soup is going to get a lot of stuff out of the freezer, so that's good. And with our chilly, windy, and showery weekend, the soup will be a perfect meal.