Sunday, March 04, 2012

Frozen ruts and market day

These tire tracks, made in the mud after our big snow and subsequent thaw, got re-frozen shortly afterward when the overnight temperatures started going down below zero again. It hasn't frozen again for over a week, so the tracks are getting smoothed out again.

Frozen puddles and tire tracks in the vineyard road.

We had a good market day yesterday and, except for not finding snails, we got a few sausages (spicy lamb merguez and pork Toulouses) and a good cut of beef for making a fondue bourguignonne on Monday. That will be for Ken's birthday dinner.

We also stopped at a garden center from some soil. I will be starting lettuce seeds inside today so that we can put them out in the garden in a few weeks, either under a cold frame or some other protective contraption in case it freezes again. I'll also plant some radishes at that point.

Finally, we stopped at a hardware store to check out sharpening machines. I have several blades that need sharpening and paying someone to do them every year can really add up. I checked out tourets à meuler (power sharpening wheels) on the internet and saw some interesting deals. Our local hardware store just happened to have one on sale (almost half price) and we couldn't resist.

Now I'm going to have to install it in the garage and try my hand at sharpening my own blades. First up is the axe (for splitting logs), then the chipper blade followed by the lawnmower blade. We also have a few old knives and a Chinese meat cleaver that we might try to sharpen up. If I can manage it with good results, the machine will pay for itself in two or three seasons. I'll probably put up a picture once I get it out of the box.


  1. We've just bought a grinder... but a specific one for chainsaw teeth... it came with French instructions... but I found the English version via the Oregon chainsaw site... the difference... eight pages of Health & Safety insructions before the same bits as the French one! And further 'Elf & Safety' instruction with some of the other sections... eight pages had become tweny-four! Apart from the 'Elf'n'Safety' they were identical... same pictures... same text [but shorter].
    And carefull with the Chinese cleaver, Walt, it may be better to do that with a whetstone or a diamond sharpener... the machine is probably too fast and coarse. And if you can set the speed... set it at the slowest first to do the main 'shoulder' removal.... less chance of 'blueing' the edge and ruining the tool... it does take a little longer, though.

  2. Nothing like a sharp blade in the kitchen. Can't wait for our knives from Canada to arrive, with the rest of our household goods.
    I got one of those Japanese knives for Christmas, it is so sharp, almost scary.

  3. I am singing the Les Poisson song from the Little Mermaid in my head reading this:

    First I cut off their heads
    Then I pull out their bones
    Ah, mais oui, ca c'est
    toujours delish

    Les poissons, les poissons
    Hee-hee-hee, haw-haw-haw
    With the cleaver I hack them in two

    I pull out what's inside
    And I serve it up fried
    God, I love little fishes, don't you?

    This is what having children and watching Disney has done to me, forgive me....

  4. I love hearing about your errands :) Especially when they involve pre-birthday plans for Ken!

  5. I too enjoy following your day to day living. It seems so "Life", and this is most pleasant.

  6. Bill D. is cracking me up!

    Good luck with the new sharpener. And enjoy Ken's birthday! Best to you both.

  7. Now you've got the machine, you could set up as an itinerant knife-grinder, such as I just about remember from my childhood (though he rigged up his whetstone to his push-bike somehow). Or maybe not.

  8. tim, I will certainly be timid at first.

    hpeter, yes, sharp tools are a must! Thanks to a friend we have a great chef's knife that we keep well honed.

    bill, lol! I see Gollum gnashing raw fishes with his teeth...

    judy, going to the Saturday market is always fun. The supermarket, not so much. But we did get to the wine co-op to stock up!

    michael, the main thing we lack is horrible traffic, and we're quite alright with that. Although the intersection at the bridge can be a little stressful when they turn the traffic signal on blinking yellow...

    ginny, thanks!

    autolycus, don't think I didn't think about that... I'll have to acquire some skills first, however.

  9. Um, try not to "try your hand".


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