Monday, November 23, 2020

Choo choo!

This is our local train station. It's across the river in the town of Noyers-sur-Cher. I took the photo back in 2012 when Ken and I were on our way to Paris then on to upstate New York. It was around 06h00, just before the regional train was to depart for Tours (Saint-Pierre-des-Corps) where we transferred to a TGV (high-speed train) to Paris and the airport. We did the whole thing in reverse on the way home.

The track-side view of our local train station.

As you can see, I'm out of new photos. We're taking one of the cars in this morning for it's biennial inspection. The other car gets inspected in a few weeks. I've got to call the doctor's office for an appointment to get my prescriptions renewed. We will also head out to a butcher shop this week to get our leg of lamb for Thanksgiving dinner. It's a busy time of year!

Looking east waiting for our train to arrive.

Meanwhile, we continue to enjoy tasting this year's Beaujolais nouveau. Not that it's all that special. It's made from the same grape variety (gamay) as a lot of our local red wine here in the Touraine, so we're more or less used to it. Most of it sells for less than four euros a bottle (just under $5 US), which is a little more than we usually spend on wine. LOL.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

OK, I lied

Another Beaujolais post. Ken came home from the grocery store with a new supply of Beaujolais nouveau for the coming week. Good thing. These bottles come from Super U and are sold under the store's brand. We drank the one with the purple peacock feather label (second from the left) on Saturday and it was tasty. I don't know what the peacock feather motif is all about. The grape variety used to make Beaujolais wines is gamay.

Nouveau wines from Super U. The one on the right says "No ADDED sulfites."

This morning the outdoor thermometers are reading 1.5ºC and 0.9ºC. Close to freezing. Tasha will have another "frosty paws" walk this morning. I built a fire in the wood stove yesterday, burning some of those apple trees that came down last fall. We ate applesauce cake for dessert. Symmetry.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Once more, with feeling

Ok, here's the last Beaujolais nouveau post. For now. I wanted to get a photo of what I got from the supermarket on Thursday. Three reds and one rosé, two bottles of each. We've already tasted the Violettes and the Chat Rouge red and rosé. In my humble opinion, the Chat Rouge red was better than the Violettes. That could be because it's Beaujolais-Villages rather than generic Beaujolais. The rosé was fine, but I wouldn't rush out for more.

Ken's going to another store this morning to look for more.

When I got up this morning, the outdoor thermometer read 1.8ºC (about 35ºF), and the deck thermometer read zero (32ºF). Brrrr! I'll be wearing my long-johns for this morning's walk with Tasha. She'll be wearing her fur coat, as usual.

Friday, November 20, 2020

What's left

This is what's left after the mechanical harvesters pass through a vineyard parcel. The machines vibrate the grapes right off the stems then suck the debris (leaves and stray stems) away. When grapes are harvested by hand, the picker clips the entire bunch, stems and all, from the vine. Is one method better than another? I don't know. I suspect, however, that really ripe or fragile grapes would be damaged by the roughness of the mechanical process. Some wines, like Champagne and certain Beaujolais, are required to be made from hand-harvested grapes.

Naked grape bunches are what's left after mechanical harvesting.

And speaking of Beaujolais, we enjoyed our first 2020 nouveau with yesterday's lunch. It's good, but I thought it would benefit from a little breathing or decanting. I also saw some Beaujolais nouveau rosé at the store and got a couple bottles. I'm going to try that out today. I think that 2020 wines are expected to be good due to the hot and dry summer that followed a wet, but mild, spring. Let's hope so!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Beaujolais nouveau

Today's the day that the 2020 Beaujolais nouveau is released. I don't think it's as big an event as it was back when they started heavily marketing it, but it shows up in the stores with a modicum of fanfare on the third Thursday in November.

November wildflowers.

Beaujolais, and now primeur wines from other regions (including ours, the Touraine), are early wines released just months after the harvest. They're meant to be enjoyed young, not aged. In a good year, they're fresh and fruity. In a not so good year, they're still ok. At least that's been my experience.

Jumping on the Beaujolais nouveau band wagon is a nice way to mark the passage of time, the beginning of the transition from fall to winter and, for us Americans, an easy choice for a Thanksgiving wine (the holiday just happens to fall one week from the nouveau release).

So, I'm heading out to the store this morning to stock up on some Beaujolais nouveau to enjoy between now and Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Mr. Mouse, out of the house

After three failed attempts to capture the mouse in the pantry, we finally succeeded. The most damage he did was to eat part of a potato. That, and the little mouse droppings he left in certain places. We learned over the years to double wrap foods like flour, crackers, and pasta to keep out insect invaders. The practice helps with mice, too.

A common house mouse? A field mouse? I'm not sure.

This is the third mouse I've captured in the pantry this year. That's unusual. We may have had one or two others over seventeen years, but no more than that. There are a lot of mice around this year. I can see the entrances to their burrows everywhere in the yard. I've noticed Bert successfully hunting around burrows under the apple trees. I don't really know why there are so many this year. Moles, on the other hand, have been scarce. I think that when it's hot and dry, like it was last summer, the moles move down toward water courses that lead to the river in their search for buried grubs and worms. Maybe that leaves the door open for mice to take over their territory?

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

While it's still fall [2]

This morning felt chilly when I got out of bed. The outdoor thermometer read about 8ºC (about 46ºF). The thermostat inside read 17ºC (about 63ºF). That's not right. I went downstairs to let the dog out and noticed the boiler's instrument panel flashing red with an error code. I hit the reset button and it reset itself then came on. So we're warming back up.

These are the leaves from there.

Today is expected to be cooler than yesterday. Nonetheless, I'm planning to grill burgers outside. It may be the last time this year.