Saturday, February 27, 2010


The vineyard is a funny place. There are all kinds of things out there besides grape vines. First of all, the vineyard is not a single vineyard, but a patchwork of land parcels owned by several different growers growing several different varietals interspersed with empty fields, stands of trees, and outright woods.

The insulated bits that hold the electrified wires up. I wonder what they're called?

The vineyard parcels tend to be on the highest land that slopes gently toward the ravines that drain them into little streams which make their way down to the river. Drainage is important in a vineyard. The ravines are wooded and are home to much of the wildlife around here: deer, foxes, badgers, and more.

The deer can become a problem for the growers in that they like to munch on the fresh grape vine shoots in the spring. Hunting during winter keeps the population in check, but certainly does not eliminate the spring feeding of the surviving animals. Some growers have put up electric fences along the woods' edge in high-traffic areas to discourage the deer. They're simple fences with one or two wires and are usually powered by a car battery.

Callie ran into one once. That's all it took. She steers very clear of the fences now. I think Ken touched one once, too, either by accident or to see if it was "live." It was. He said it was a good shock, but nothing that would knock you over.


  1. I told Walt, now I'll tell you all. This morning Callie and I walked through a section of woods on the south side of the vineyard. As I entered the woods, I noticed, hanging from a little branch of a little tree, as if carefully placed there, a pair of purple panties. Ladies'. With lace. What in the hell is going on out there?

  2. Aww, torturing the animals. I got shocked by a car battery once. I'll never do THAT again.

  3. I bet you didn't realize what a source of entertainment you had in the vineyard out back when you bought your house.

    We are keeping our granddog, Rosie for 11 days so are doing regular walks in the woods and up at the local school's football field. Regular walking in the same places has some variety to it, non?

  4. Ken, An electric shock can blow your socks off! Maybe it has the same effect on panties! ;)

  5. ROTFL, Ladybird!

    And my word verification string is racyr. Racier, I guess...

  6. Get out your camera and go take a picture of the panties so we can see!!! that is hilarious...someone is trying to get someone's attention obviously.

  7. I wish we had something like that for the damned wood pigeons here.

  8. Martine - VERY FUNNY COMMENT !! Can't stop laughing. The mind boggles !

    I wonder if the owner will be back for them later. Or maybe it was a message for the local walking club !! A sign that means turn left here perhaps?

  9. Sunday a.m. U.S. time: Cheryl commented on Ken's blog that she had actually spoken to Ken last night, and that he had said that if he and Walt don't post, it's probably due to a power outage caused by the storm.

    I just read on Yahoo news that over a million households in France are without electricity in France right now, and their region, Le Centre is one that was mentioned as being hard hit:

    Dans les régions Centre, Limousin et Auvergne, on dénombrait 375.000 foyer sans courant à la mi-journée.

    In the Centre, Limousin and Auvergne regions around 375,000 homes are without electricity at mid day.



  10. Just had a call from Ken.

    They are still without power. It won't probably be back until Monday night at best. He and Walt may not be able to blog until Tuesday morning, also at best.

    It is 6:30 P.M. in St-Aignan now and the storm has moved north.

    They assessed the damage. Several tiles were blown away from the roof and two somewhat small plum trees in their back yard were uprooted.

    They have food they can heat up on their gas range and heat from the wood stove in the living room.

  11. Chm, Thank you for filling us in on the latest news. I'm glad they are both Okay and the house is still standing. Foodwise, I'm not too worried as they are skilful and creative enougn to make do with what they have, especially now that they have a gas range :)!
    Ken and Walt, keep up the spirit!

  12. Starman,
    Purple panties for wood pigeons? What an interesting idea.

  13. Walt and Ken, we'll all be relieved when you are able to blog again. As Martine wrote, Bon courage!

  14. Yes, I thought perhaps you two had lost power. I saw videos of the incredible storm in France on Deutsche Welle. Winds of 180 kmh. I hope you are OK.

  15. When you get your power back, show us some pictures, stp. What about your procedure? Bad timing for that, non?

  16. UPDATE

    Ken just called me.

    They still are without power and don't expect it to be restored until late Tuesday.

    Roof as been repaired yesterday night. So the "combles/grenier", attic in English, are/is dry.

    They still have wood for the wood stove. Food is still cold in the refrigerator and freezers. So far so good, so to speak!

    As soon as the power comes back, Ken will post the good news on his blog.

    They have a battery powered radio, so they keep abreast of what going on in the outside world.

    Weather is not too bad.

    I guess that's all, folks!


  17. CHM, thanks for the updates. We have become accustomed to daily updates on life in St-Aignan and we worrywhen they don't post.

  18. those devices are called "Ralph"

  19. I was wondering too what happened to Walt and Ken. Hope all is well in France after the storm.

  20. thx for the updates on walt & ken...i figured the storm had knocked power out.....glad only minor damage....hope all their wonderful food in freezer stays frozen! at least they have heat....losing power in winter is no's to the quick restoration of power

  21. UPDATE

    Just called Ken. They still do not have power. It seems it is local problem to their hamlet, because of downed power lines. They hope power will be restored tomorrow.

    Otherwise their spirit is high. Their wood stove is working fine. They just don't open their freezers. The outside temperature is around 50°F.

    Walt is on his diet in view of his procedure Thursday. He didn't say, but I'm sure he is concerned about those top to bottom showers in cold water. And especially the thorough cleaning behind his ... ears! LOL

    Ken will call me tomorrow morning, my time, and late afternoon his time to let me know how things stand. I hope they have their power back by that time.

    I'll post a comment if need be.

  22. Wow, still no power. We were without power for about two weeks after Hurricane Wilma, but of course, it wasn't freezing at the time. In fact, we got lucky and it was quite nice without needing A/C. Hope you get your power back soon.

  23. Thanks, CHM, for the update. Glad to hear that Ken and Walt are enduring this disruption, if not happily, comfortably. We are all missing hearing about their daily lives. The good news is there will be lots of newsiness upon their returns to cyberspace. And Walt will have a clean colon, if not ears.

  24. Eeek! Your power is still out. I hope you guys are OK and they reconnect you soon. Stay warm.

  25. Walt

    Hope everything went OK this morning and, at least, you are warm in your cubicle at the hospital.
    In the meantime you are getting japanese visitors :(

  26. UPDATE


    Just called Ken. They were just back from friends on the other side of St-Aignan, where Walt was able to take the prescribed showers, top to bottom, with that special soap.

    They won't be home most of the day tomorrow, since they have to go to Blois for the procedure.

    Madame the Mayor is also without power, and probably does all what she can to have it restored to their hamlet.

    Those power lines were downed in a wooded area, not far from were they live. Walt went there to check, and no work was being done at the time. They still hope to get the power back in the near future.

    Ken will spent the next few days cooking or poaching any raw food from the freezers to try to save it. I wish him luck. How's that for a birthday cake?

    I guess that's all for today.

  27. If you read this before your procedure tomorrow, Walt. Bon courage, I hope all goes well.

    Your fan club is missing you and Ken! Know you will be busy, getting your frozen goods settled, etc. I hope some of your friends were able to store some of the food for you.

  28. Ok, Ken's last post (before today) was "Current events" and Walt's post that day was about electric fences.


  29. Glad to hear you have a generator until your power is restored!


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