Sunday, May 31, 2015

Loose gravel

They're called gravillons in French, loose gravel on the road that cars can kick up or, worse, lose traction on. Normally you'd see this temporary sign when a road has been oiled and resurfaced with fresh gravel, but I don't think this one has. I didn't notice any loose gravel at all.

I like how the sign is taped onto the post.

Saturday was a productive day garden-wise. I got thirty-one tomato plants in the ground. I have ten left over that I'm keeping until I see how much room there is. The summer and winter squashes still have to be planted; I may do that today depending on the weather. Then there are the eggplant and peppers and I want to plant a row of green beans.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

What's on tv

The big television event this week is the second week of Roland Garros (the French Open). I don't know Estelle Denis (on the cover), but apparently she's a presenter that's done a variety of news and information shows on different networks, not the least of which has been football coverage.

What not to watch this week. Our tv magazine rates shows and movies using a star system: one star is ok, four stars is best. They use another symbol for really bad movies: the red dot. It means "à zapper" (change the channel!). The editors often include comments about the movie that make me laugh.

Many of the films that the editors find to be bombs are low-budget sci-fi movies. I'm sure they're right.

Apocalypse Earth (AE: Apocalypse Earth). American made-for-tv movie. Directed by Thunder Levin, 2013.
With Adrian Paul, Richard Grieco, Bali Rodriguez, Gray Hawks, and Jayson McCardell.
Humans flee the earth during an alien invasion but land on a planet inhabited by vicious creatures.
It's badly filmed, badly acted, badly written, and badly produced; in short, yet another bomb in the long list of made-for-tv science fiction films.
For adults and children over 10.

Friday, May 29, 2015

More wildflowers and pizza day

The spring show goes on out in the fields as the wildflowers continue to bloom all over. I don't know what this one is called, but I see them here and there. They're not as numerous as the buttercups or daisies or even the wild bellflower, but they're there.

This one is not quite open all the way.

We're making pizza today for lunch. I made the crust last evening and let it rise over night. It rises for eighteen hours in total. The toppings will be ham, cheese, mushrooms, and tomato sauce (of course). I'm hungry already!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cucumber trellis

Last year I built a cucumber "tree" so that the cucumbers would hang from the vine and not curl on the ground. It worked, more or less. This year, I have actual "English" cukes (thanks Carol!) that are longer and narrower than the standard kind and I want them to grow straight, without curling. Instead of rebuilding the "tree" (which was more like a teepee) I decided to use some old fencing sections to construct a kind of a trellis, up which I hope the cucumbers will climb.

Four little cucumber plants, growing roots. I will help train them up onto the fencing as they grow.

The cucumbers are still the only plants I've transferred out into the ground. The rest are still on the deck, but they've been hardened off and are ready. I hope to get them all planted out over the coming weekend. But first, our tax returns are due next week, so I've got to get that done.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Roses are in bloom all over the hamlet. So many colors, so many varieties. And the wild roses are blooming on the edges of woods around the vineyards. Spring is beginning its transition into summer. The days are longer and longer. The early morning sun peeks into the house through the north windows; the evening light lingers past ten p.m.

This wild rosebud is not a sled.

I got half the lawn cut on Tuesday and will finish up today. It's time to get the tomato seedlings into the ground. On Monday I built a kind of trellis for cucumbers (long English cucumbers this year) in the garden and planted our cuke seedlings. The pepper and eggplant seedlings are growing, but are still a little on the small side. I think they like much warmer weather than we're having. The summer and winter squashes are ready to be set out, as are the collard greens. And the first of the green been seeds should go into the ground now. So much to do!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Strawberry and rhubarb pie

We're still getting strawberries from the market on Saturdays, so I decided to make a very seasonal tarte aux fraises et à la rhubarbe (strawberry and rhubarb pie). I harvested the rhubarb from our garden a couple of weeks ago and froze it.

Rhubarb baked into the pie, topped with fresh strawberries and glazed with apricot jam.

We seem to have new neighbors. The house down the road that has been for sale for years has sold. They are there, working, although I have yet to see them. But I can hear them. Over the weekend they worked on mowing the overgrown yard. Yesterday, they banged on something all day. They obviously didn't get the memo about not making noise on a holiday.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Another one bites the dust

I found this poor little mole belly-up in one of the paved roads where Callie and I sometimes walk. It obviously was not squished by a car. I wonder if an owl or some other critter caught it, then dropped it, and why. It was not close enough to our house to be one of our back yard moles. They're really interesting looking animals, although they do wreak havoc in the lawn.

Those huge front paws are for digging.

Since today is a holiday, we get no mail and we can't use power tools (noise). Well, we are allowed to make noise between ten and noon. If it's not raining, I may run the mower along the strip outside our north fence to keep the weeds down. I noticed last evening that it needs to be done again. That takes about five minutes and it shouldn't bother anyone.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tennis, anyone?

Today is the day. The French Open at Roland Garros in Paris gets under way. Raphael Nadal, the defending champion, is seeded only #6 making him the probable opponent of #1 seed Novak Djokovic in the quarter finals. That's pretty early. Roger Federer, seeded #2, is Djokovic's likely opponent in the final. But anything can happen!

That's our house peeking out on the right. Click on the photo for the full effect.

This photo shows the mass of wildflowers putting on a show in the donkey pen out by the vineyard. The flowers are mostly yellow buttercups and white daisies, but there's more if you look closely. I don't see the donkeys out there much lately, so the growth isn't being grazed down very quickly. I processed the image through Lightroom and am quite pleased with the result. It's not perfect, but at this resolution it's hard to see the problems. I'm about halfway through my 30-day free trial with the software and I haven't decided one way or the other.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

What's on tv

Tennis! My favorite tournament of the year, the Roland Garros grand slam (the French Open), gets under way on Sunday. Two weeks of high-end clay court action! Everyone is saying that this is Novak Djokovic's year to win. He's been looking pretty good on clay so far this season, having just won in Rome and Monte Carlo, not to mention winning the Australian grand slam in January, and Indian Wells and Miami in March. Will he do it? We'll see very soon.

French tennis star Gaël Monfils is in the fight!

What not to watch this week. Our tv magazine rates shows and movies using a star system: one star is ok, four stars is best. They use another symbol for really bad movies: the red dot. It means "à zapper" (change the channel!). The editors often include comments about the movie that make me laugh.

Lest I lead you to think that the French have it in for bad American films, here's a French bomb.

Frère et sœur (Brother and Sister). French made-for-tv movie. Directed by Denis Malleval, 2012.
With Bernard Le Coq, Roxane Potereau, and Jacques Sereys.
A fifty-something lawyer and confirmed bachelor sees his father return after a fifty year absence accompanied by a teenager who turns out to be his daughter.
This comedy that wants to be funny, but isn't, has little to offer the viewer or the main cast, except to put them ill-at-ease.
For all audiences.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The greening of the vineyard

Every day, the leaves get bigger and greener. Vine tendrils are reaching up the guide wires and the grape flowers will soon be open. It won't be long before the posts among the vines disappear into the green. For now, they make varied patterns depending on where you stand.

It's becoming a sea of green.

I had a weird "illness" last night. While watching television, all my joints started to ache as if I had the flu. I took my temperature and had a low-grade fever just over 100ºF. I took a couple of aspirin and went to bed, feeling achy, and had some chills. By midnight it seemed to be over and I feel perfectly normal this morning. I have no idea what it could have been; Ken was fine.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Les asperges

Asparagus season continues. There was still plenty to be had at last week's market, and I'll see what's available on Saturday, if I go. This batch got made into another ham and asparagus tart this week. We finished it as part of Wednesday's lunch.

White asparagus must be peeled before it's cooked, otherwise it's too fibrous.

Because our April was very warm, I missed out on the "free" asparagus that grows wild among the grape vines. I saw lots of it out there, but it had all bolted very, very quickly and it's not good that way.

I'm still fumbling with Lightroom, making my way with it. I like many of the features, but find others a little cumbersome. And some photos (all raw format) look better when I process them through Photoshop. Today's asparagus is an example. I could not get the Lightroom photo to look vibrant, it came through rather dull. When I processed the same image in Photoshop, the lighting and color were easy to preserve, as you see above.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Positively cold

It's cold this morning. The outdoor thermometer reads about 6ºC (about 43ºF). The weather web site that I look at daily says we're at 4ºC (about 39ºF). Our thermometer typically reads higher in cold weather since it's mounted on the side of the house. It also normally reads cooler in hot weather for the same reason. These are not temperatures conducive to planting the vegetable garden. I think the grass has stopped growing.

Backlit grape leaves in the morning sunshine.

It felt like fall on Tuesday when I was stacking our delivery of firewood for next season. We had a few showers in the late evening and over night. Today may be the chilliest of the week, with a warming trend in the forecast. "Warm" is a relative term. The solstice is only a month away.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Deer paths

Our local deer make paths through the tall grasses in spring and summer. Callie likes to follow them. I sometimes follow her, if the grass isn't too wet. It's in the tall grasses that Callie picks up ticks. We're in prime tick season right now and there are a lot of them. Callie and Bert both get Frontline every month, but the treatment doesn't stop ticks from biting. The medicine enters the dog's and cat's bloodstream and kills the ticks once they begin to feed, preventing them from reproducing.

Callie is about to follow one of her favorite paths through the tall grass.

Consequently, we are always pulling ticks off the animules this time of year. We have special tick forks that work very well, provided we find the tick while it's attached. Otherwise, dead, blood-engorged ticks fall onto the floor or wherever the animal lies. I've stepped on more than one and have had to clean up the yucky mess. I check myself after every walk to be sure there are no ticks crawling on me. Eeew!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A bee fly

As far as I can tell, this is some kind of bee fly. My extensive quick and dirty internet research tells me that there are hundreds of species of bee fly and that they are common throughout most of the world. I saw this one resting on a wild orchid flower out on the vineyard road.

I think the flower is a variety of wild orchid.

It was early morning so I imagine the fly hadn't warmed up enough to move quickly. Lucky for me as I was able to get close with the camera without it flying away.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Grape buds

These are the buds that will soon open into tiny, almost imperceptible, flowers that will, in turn, become grapes on the vine. And later this year, they will be harvested and turned into wine. But let's not rush anything. A nice sunny summer will help to ripen the grapes.

Two future grape bunches. But first, flowers.

That is, if we have a nice sunny summer. Spring started out nice, but it has turned chilly again and is beginning to stunt the growth of my vegetable seedlings.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What's on tv

It's all about the film festival. Celebrities. Glitz. Fashion. Yawn.

Jack Sparrow to the rescue! There's a new Disney movie channel in the lineup.

What not to watch this week. Our tv magazine rates shows and movies using a star system: one star is ok, four stars is best. They use another symbol for really bad movies: the red dot. It means "à zapper" (change the channel!). The editors often include comments about the movie that make me laugh.

No snakes. No sharks. No aliens. No tornadoes. No black holes. Just an equality-of-the-sexes film, and apparently a bad one. And Anne Bancroft! Really? Heaven holds a place for those who pray. Hey, hey, hey.

A armes égales (G.I. Jane). American action film. Directed by Ridley Scott, 1997.
With Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, and Anne Bancroft.
A female lieutenant undergoes the rigors of Navy Seals training and proves that the so-called weaker sex can take on delicate military missions.
The simplistic theme, clumsily realized, and the absurdity of numerous scenes end up making this film unintentionally funny. A real stinker.
For adults and children over ten.

Friday, May 15, 2015

One step forward...

...two steps back. I don't intend for the blog to get all technical, but at the moment I'm trying to figure things out with my photos. I appreciate the advice some of you are leaving in the comments section; it's all very helpful. While I continue to experiment with Lightroom, I've fallen back to Photoshop for the moment. Processing the raw format in Photoshop goes a lot quicker for me at this point and I'm satisfied with the results. I actually swapped out yesterday's Lightroom-processed photo for a Photoshopped version after publishing because I liked it better.

This shot was underexposed. The "correctly" exposed versions blew out all the detail in the white flowers.

I'm going to try another lens today: my fixed 50mm f/1.4. I'll see how the raw images look with that compared to the 18-55mm zoom. Then I'm going to look at couple more tutorials on "developing" in Lightroom. Thank goodness I'm retired!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Slow going

Learning new software is never easy, at least for me. I've been using Photoshop for ten years, and now I'm trying to learn Lightroom to process my photos. Trial and error is part of the learning process, as is online reading and tutorials. I have to keep reminding myself that it takes time and lots of experimenting; it's so easy to get frustrated and want to give up.

One of our neighbors has beautiful calla lilies in her garden every year.

So here is one of the first photos (that I'm willing to share) that I worked on in Lightroom. Right away, I've noticed two things. First, the raw format is what they say. Each image is huge and contains much more detail than a camera-processed jpeg. That gives me a lot more to work with from the start.

Second, I'm really seeing a difference in my lenses. I used my 100mm macro lens to take the close-up shots I've been posting recently. It's a much better lens than the 18-55mm zoom kit lens I used to take today's photo. The images taken with the fixed lens are much sharper than those taken with the zoom, and it's very noticeable in the raw format.

Otherwise, I'm trying to cope with all the other aspects of the new program. In addition to learning how the different controls affect the images, I'm trying to adjust to the interface and navigation within the program itself (it's like work!). File handling is a little more complex than I'm used to. Storage will be a challenge, as the raw images are coming in at around 20mb each. Ken has a large external hard drive he's not using, so I may plug that in and use it for photo storage.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Snakes and snails and puppy dogs' tails

I'm just getting started learning the Lightroom software that I downloaded on Monday, and there is a lot to learn. It's slow going. At least the terminology is familiar as it's made by the same people that made Photoshop Elements. I've been watching some online tutorials and just messing around with it. But I'm a long way from feeling at ease with how I'm processing photos. Gotta keep at it.

I see you! I used Photoshop, not Lightroom, to process this image.

In the meantime, you get to see some of my experiments. While a lot can be done with the software to improve images, real mistakes can't be undone. In this photo, for example, I got the depth-of-field a little wrong. The snail's head and eye stalks are mostly in focus, which is good, but I'm distracted by the shell being slightly blurred out. A smaller aperture might have brought the entire animal into focus. I could always claim that he was just moving too fast!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cuisine moléculaire

That's what this reminds me of. Whenever I hear of "molecular cuisine" I think of foam. Whoever the genius was who invented selling tiny balls of air for huge amounts of money, well, he or she is probably retired and living in a villa by now. Of course, molecular gastronomy is much more than foam, but I'll never shake that image. I have never been to a restaurant famous for this style of cooking (I'm not a wealthy guy), but I have noticed more economical restaurants adding foam to dishes. I'm not a fan.

The foam of a froghopper nymph (or spittlebug), I think. Details: f/5.6, 1/320sec, ISO-320.

I succeeded in downloading a trial version of Lightroom on Monday. Now I have to learn to use it before it expires in thirty twenty-nine days. This is another photo that I processed from the raw format using Photoshop.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The sage is blooming

Our backyard sage is in flower now. The deep blue flowers are always a welcome sight in spring, but they fade too fast. I wish they'd last longer. But then we have the sage's cousin, the lavender, to look forward to.

Sage in the back yard. The quality of this image is closer to what I'm aiming for.

I took this photo in raw format yesterday. My camera allows me to take raw and JPG images simultaneously, so I can compare the two formats easily. After some experimenting, I'm not sure I can see significant advantages with the raw photos. In some cases, the raw file resulted in a better quality image, but not in all cases. I certainly need more experience processing raw files, and I'm using an older version of Photoshop at the moment (I have not yet downloaded Lightroom).

Thanks for all of your kind words of encouragement. I'm not fundamentally unhappy with my pictures, I just want more successes than failures. I don't share the bad ones here, of course (and there are many), but that's normal. There are so many variables to consider: lenses, lighting conditions, my choices for settings, etc. I have used the camera's "auto" mode as well, just to see if the camera's choices make better images than my choices. They don't (so that's encouraging). Onward!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Photography talk

I'm in one of those moods. I'm not happy with any of my photos. My subjects are boring (my fault) and my pictures are lousy, technically (could be my fault). I've had the camera out for the last three days, each day with a different lens, and most of my photos are disappointingly blurry, noisy, and most importantly to me, lacking in clarity and sharpness.

The vineyards are getting greener by the day.

I've had a love/hate relationship with this camera (Canon T3i/600D) since I got it three years ago. Every once in a while I get what I think is a good shot -- I'm not talking about composition, but about image quality. It should happen more often than it does. I can't be THAT bad at this. But what if I am? What if I upgrade to a more expensive model only to find out that I'm the problem? I'm afraid to take that step. I feel paralyzed.

Still, there is one thing I have not really explored: shooting in raw mode. I tried it early on, but found that working with raw images in Photoshop Elements was daunting. I've since read about Lightroom and how it's designed for processing raw camera images and is easier to use than Photoshop for that purpose (both are Adobe products). I think I'll do some raw shooting and see if I can download a trial version of Lightroom to check it out. If it works for me, buying Lightroom would be a lot more economical than upgrading to a new camera.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

What's on tv

This coming week we will see the opening of the Cannes Film Festival, a pretty ritzy event on the Côte d'Azur filled with glitz, glamor, and glory. And there will be plenty of television coverage. I will be watching tennis (the men's tournament in Rome).

Look! I could win a VIP evening at the Cannes Festival! Enter now!

What not to watch this week. Our tv magazine rates shows and movies using a star system: one star is ok, four stars is best. They use another symbol for really bad movies: the red dot. It means "à zapper" (change the channel!). The editors often include comments about the movie that make me laugh.

This evening we have une soirée spéciale (a special evening) with two bad movies about giant snakes. Anacondas, to be specific. Both movies get the red dot, so don't feel bad about missing them -- in fact, the editors' advice is to miss them entirely.

Anaconda, le prédateur (Anaconda). American/Brazilian/Peruvian horror film. Directed by Luis Llosa, 1997.
With Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, and Ice Cube.
A television crew is attacked by a giant snake in the Amazonian rain forest.
This film plumbs the very depths of ridiculousness and can only be regarded as farce. Jon Voight gets the prize for the most cringe-worthy performance. A flop that doesn't realize it's a flop.
For adults and children over ten.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Les ancolies

I think we call these flowers "columbine." They are perennials and come up every spring in one of our flower beds, but they also can re-seed themselves. This year I've seen at least four plants, maybe five: these pink ones and some with dark blue flowers. The columbine shares the bed with very hardy daisies and I think they're being crowded out. I should get in there and thin out the daisies to give the more delicate columbine some room, but it's a low priority with all the other spring chores.

Pink (and blue) columbine grow in a shady spot in the garden.

We're expecting rain again today, but not much. Yesterday I got the weed-eater (strimmer) out and cleaned up what's left of the ditch along our portion of the road and did some other trimming and such. There's still quite a list of things to get done out there. Slowly, but surely, they'll get done. Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid (little by little, the bird builds its nest).

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Blowin' in the wind

I took this photo on one of the windiest mornings we've had in a while. With all the wind, the little dandelion seeds were holding on tight. Callie and I fought our way against the wind out to the end of the dirt road, then turned around and got pushed back home. Thankfully, it wasn't raining at the time.

Callie is ahead of me on the right side of the road. Can you see her?

We got thrown a curve yesterday with our wood burning stove adventure. We had a stove guy over to check things out and he suggested that we shouldn't have a stove at all, but a fireplace insert which he would then build in with a new surround. Aaack! Sounds like too much change. It's not really what either of us wants to do. More and more, I'm leaning toward keeping the current stove for a while longer.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

New vines, new paint

Last summer, this parcel was re-planted with new grape vines. The old vines had been attacked by a fungus, so out they came. The ground lay fallow for a year and then was plowed and planted. The vines over-wintered and now they look like this. I'm not sure how long it will be before any grapes are harvested from this parcel, but probably a couple/few years.

The taller vines in the background (hard to see here) are about ten years old. I remember when they were planted and looked like these.

We had a contractor in yesterday to give us an estimate on painting the den (the very room where this wonderful blog comes to life!). It's more than just a paint job. Old (very old) wallpaper needs to be removed from around the built-in cabinetry; we could not manage it ourselves twelve years ago, so sections of the wallpaper are still up on the walls. That involves removing a large cast iron radiator (which will also be painted). Then some very significant fissures in the plaster need to be repaired on the ceiling and walls. Next, smooth paper will go onto the ceiling and walls (to strengthen the plaster and help hide future fissures) and it will all be freshly painted.

The contractor has done very good work for us before (roof and kitchen ceiling), so I'm not expecting any surprises and we will probably accept his estimate. He said he has a week available in June to do the work and that works for us. I will likely take pictures and post them here. You weren't expecting that, were you?

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A storm in the night

Monday got warm and humid, and we had some light rain in the afternoon. I got up at half past midnight and noticed that it was breezy outside -- two of our neighbors have motion-sensitive lights outdoors and they were both lit up. The moon was bright and I could see the stars. Then, at around 02h30, I was woken by what I thought was the garbage truck (way too early). It turned out to be thunder in the distance. The thunder (and lightning) got closer and I got up again to see the storm going by to the northwest. When it was over, the wind picked up and by 03h30 the moon and stars were back.

This vineyard photo has nothing to do with today's topic.

This morning is quite clear but blustery. Needless to say, I had a rough night. It must have been the humidity and relatively warm air that kept me from sleeping well. When I did sleep, I had bizarrely vivid dreams; I might as well have been awake.

Monday, May 04, 2015

What's wrong with this picture?

Well, fundamentally, nothing is wrong. It's about the irises. You see, the long row of irises along the hedge have been growing in that spot since before we bought the house. Last fall (you may recall), I cleaned out the row as it was terribly overgrown into the pathway just in front. I pulled up most of the saxifrage (the round green leaves at the base of the irises) and removed many of the iris rhizomes. But I did not dig up the remaining plants.

A tale of two iris beds.

Meanwhile, the irises that are flowering in the foreground of the photo sprouted from some left-over irises that we dug up many years ago. I left the rhizomes in a pile on the ground right where you see them and have done nothing to them. They thrive. The ones in the bed that I weeded and thinned out are just standing there. No flowers.

My conclusion: I must dig up that bed of irises, divide them, then leave them on the ground, right where they are, if I want them to look better. I guess irises like to be disturbed and divided periodically, then left for dead in order to thrive.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

River fog

One recent morning, before this current rainy spell began, I saw fog in the river valley. Normally, the fog looks like a woolen blanket pulled over the river. Smooth. Uniform. This time it was like fluffy balls of cotton rolling along on the light breeze. You can get an idea from the photo.

The fog was being blown down river, from right to left in the photo.

It's been raining almost non-stop since before Friday. It feels as though it's been forty days and forty nights already. I'm glad we live at the top of a hill. Normal drainage ditches are running torrents. The pond out back is overflowing, rushing by our back gate, finding its way down to the stream bed to our north and out into the river. I'm certain the lowlands beside the river are flooded as well, but I'm not walking down there to see just yet.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

What's on tv

Am I missing something? Many of the shows highlighted on the cover of our weekly television magazine are shows that I've not seen and that I'm not likely to watch. Like this one. From what I can tell without reading the entire interview with the two personalities featured (yawn), it's some kind of reality documentary thing where the two hosts venture out to mingle with people who work in high-risk jobs, like fighter pilots, emergency room doctors, alpine hunters, etc.

Orson Welles would have been 100 years old this year, so there are a bunch of his films on in May.

What not to watch this week. Our tv magazine rates shows and movies using a star system: one star is ok, four stars is best. They use another symbol for really bad movies: the red dot. It means "à zapper" (change the channel!). The editors often include comments about the movie that make me laugh.

Science fiction and pseudo-scientific themes seem to be the favorite "bad" movies in our tv guide. This one follows up on the fears that surrounded the construction of the Large Hadron Collider built in Europe in the early 2000s. Those fears were that superconducting super colliders, like the Hadron, would create black holes that would swallow up the Earth. So far, so good; we're still here. Or, are we?

Atomic Apocalypse (Supercollider). Canadian made-for-tv movie. Directed by Jeffery Scott Lando, 2013.
With Robin Dunne and Amy Bailey.
A multinational corporation builds a superconducting super collider. However, the first tests risk creating a black hole.
This television movie offers nothing original. The special effects are unconvincing, the acting is no more inspired than the directing.
For adults and children over ten.

Friday, May 01, 2015


Long ago (in a galaxy far, far away), I planted some oregano. It escaped the garden and started coming up wild in the lawn. I also put some into a planter box out back. Each year, the patches of oregano come up green and strong, both in the planter and in the lawn. I read at some point that oregano has its best flavor when it's been dried. That's certainly true of ours.

Fresh oregano in the planter box, ready for harvest. There's a little bit of parsley on the right.

This is only the second year that I've harvested the oregano for drying. It truly is more flavorful this way, so I'm glad I tried it. I was surprised at how much I got this time, but it will not go to waste. In fact, now that I've sheared the plants, there should be another harvest in a month's time.

Oven-dried oregano, ready for the jar.

I dry it in the oven at a very low temperature. It takes between two and three hours to dry two trays full. Once it has dried, I remove the leaves from the stems and pack it into jars. It's picky work, but well worth the effort.