Thursday, October 31, 2019


Two grape vine tendrils met in mid-air this summer and formed this arch. Usually the reaching vines get trimmed off before this happens, but I think that the lack of rain meant that the growers didn't have to trim as much as usual this year.

Vine sculpture.

So, it's Halloween. All Hallows Eve. Whatever. The whole costume/trick-or-treat/candy thing is, in its current form, mostly an American invention that hasn't really caught on in France. The French celebrate November 1, la Toussaint (All Saints Day) instead. It's tradition for families to visit the graves of their late loved ones and leave flowers, mostly chrysanthemums. It's also a day off from work, so this will be a three-day weekend for most.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Red, gold, and green

No Karma chameleons here. Just grape leaves. Most of them are yellow and turning golden, but there is enough red out there to make it very pretty. Fall is doing its thing. The weather feels normal for the season.

The grape leaves are turning, but they haven't started to fall yet.

And so do the strikes. The SNCF (French National Railway) is experiencing strikes on the high-speed line that serves our region. The line runs from Paris to Bordeaux in the southwest and out to Brest in the northwest. The news said that the strikes were supposed to start last Thursday, the day Ken was coming home from his trip. I couldn't find his train listed in the real-time online train tracker and assumed it had been cancelled. But I got an email from Ken saying he was on his train, it was on time, and he had wifi. He hadn't heard anything about strikes. So, I guess that the strikes were announced, but didn't get under way until Thursday evening and Friday. They've continued through the week.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tasha Tuesday

We're in a gray and damp pattern right now. The sky is leaden, the days are dim. Rain comes and goes; not a lot, but enough to keep things wet. It's quite a contrast from the summer when we didn't get a drop for weeks at a time.

Tasha's on the lookout for pheasants and quail. She likes to chase birds as they fly away. Sometimes I wonder if she knows that she's a sheepdog.

None of this phases Tasha at all, of course, her being a Shetland. When the wind blows it can feel a little like winter. For now it just feels like fall: chilly but not too cold. Yesterday there was no wind at all and the grayness of the morning made the leaf colors seem very saturated. It was quite pretty. I didn't have the camera with me, so here's a shot from Saturday morning.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Men at work

Who can it be, now? Just a little down under humor. Or should that be humour? The construction continues down on the main road, which means the trailers and other equipment are still hanging out next to the pond. The ruts in the ground are getting deeper.

I haven't talked to anybody about filling in the ruts, yet.

We still don't know what they're doing. Other than they seem to be digging a trench and laying some sort of cable. I'm not sure what kind of cable it is. Electricity? Telecommunications? Both? Over the past few years, the town has been undergrounding utility lines, especially in the bourg (town center), as they call it. The lines that bring power to our hamlet were put underground back in 2013 after a big storm knocked our power out for a week or more. Before that, the lines were hung through vineyards and woods and access for repairs was becoming too difficult. We still have aerial lines from the transformer to our houses. I don't think anything is changing with those.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Fall fog

November and December are foggy months here. When the weather is calm and we get temperature inversions, the fog can be dense and can last through the day. On Saturday we didn't have an inversion, but there was a thick layer of fog in the river valley as the sun came up. It burned off pretty quickly and we had some nice sunshine for most of the day. It reminded me that the gray foggy days are not long off.

 Fog over the Cher River. The grape leaves continue to turn in the vineyards.

I noticed that one of our Parisian neighbors arrived yesterday. Her vacation house here in our neighborhood was open and lights were on. The other Parisian neighbor isn't here. Yet. I'll bet we'll see her before the week is over. Friday is the holiday, so it makes a nice three-day weekend.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The other shoe dropped

We noticed on Thursday afternoon that the other half of the apple tree came down. It must have happened while I was out picking Ken up at the train station. I guess when the first half went, it took whatever support was keeping the second half standing. It finally gave way. Again, there has been no wind to speak of. Just a rotten trunk. And gravity.

The left half came down first, last Monday morning. The right half fell on Thursday.

Now we have a real mess to deal with. Of course, I'm hoping that our garden contractor will make short work of it. I'll probably work on cutting up the logs into burnable sizes and stacking it all somewhere. But there's no real hurry for that, as long as the crew can clear the garden path and get most of the smaller branches cut, mulched, and taken away.

The view from the other side.

The other big job waiting to get done is winterizing the vegetable garden. I've got a burn pile started, but now it's time to pull up plants and get the stakes put away. Once the burning is done, I'll cover the garden plot with tarps again like we did last year. It really made a difference, keeping the weeds down through the winter and early spring.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Bœuf à la bourguignonne

Or bœuf bourguignon, if you prefer. After eating chicken for more than a week (I finally finished it!), I wanted something different, and something that I could make ahead to have when Ken got back from his trip on Thursday. I was to pick him up from the train station around 13h00, so lunch would be late. Having something ready to heat up would be good. I decided to make beef Burgundy.

Ingredients for the marinade.

I started on Wednesday morning by marinating the beef in red Burgundy wine, of course, along with flavoring ingredients: onion, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, cloves, and black peppercorns. After about nine hours, I sauteed some lardons (smoky bacon), then browned the drained beef pieces (lightly floured). It all went into the slow cooker with a little fond de veau (concentrated veal stock) and a bouquet garni of leek tops and fresh thyme from the garden. I poured in the marinade and let it simmer over night.

The recipes I have for this classic dish say to strain all the aromatic vegetables out of the marinade and discard them. But I leave them in. Well, the leek greens, thyme, and bay leaves come out at serving time, but the carrots, onion, and garlic stay in. Ken thickened the sauce with a little beurre manié (flour and butter kneaded together). We served it over pasta. Yum!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Second breakfast

The first thing that gets done in the morning, after letting Tasha outside, is feeding the animules their breakfast. Tasha gets a bowl of dry kibble and Bert gets a pouch of wet cat food (worry not, Tasha gets her pouch of wet dog food for lunch and Bert has a bottomless bowl of cat kibble downstairs). But we've noticed that Bert only eats about half his pouch before he walks away and, if we're not careful, Tasha will finish it.

Bert eats "second breakfast" out on the deck.

So, a while ago, Ken started giving Bert only half of the wet food in the pouch at breakfast time. He (Bert, not Ken) eats it all and seems satisfied. Later in the morning, after a nap, he'll come back to the kitchen for the rest. We call this his "second breakfast."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Plenty of nuttin'

I'm out of photos again. So here's a close-up of where the apple tree broke. You can't really see it in the photo, but the trunk is basically hollow at the break point. The wood looks like so much sawdust in there. I don't know when the garden contractor will show up, but it could be any day now. We'll have a lot to talk about!

We've lost big branches from this tree in years past, but this one marks the end of the line for the old apple.

Tasha, Bert, and I are getting ready for Ken's return tomorrow. The animules have adjusted pretty well to our temporary routine. I get up later than Ken does, so they have to wait for breakfast (which irks Bert) and going out to pee (which irks Tasha). But they've taken it all in stride, as it were. I'm hopeful that, between Ken's jet lag and us turning the clocks back on Sunday, we can keep them getting up later.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Apple tree down

It happened on Monday morning. The big old apple tree in our yard finally came down. The weekend's rain must have been too much for it. It fell under its own weight. There was no wind. Tasha and I went out for our normal morning walk at sunrise. We walked under the tree as we always do. But when we got back to the house, it was down. We just missed it fall or, as I wrote to Ken, it just missed us.

The weak spot was where the trunk branches out. It's pretty much hollow inside.

I already asked our hedge contractor if he could take a tree down when he comes for the annual trimming. He said yes, he and his crew could do that. I was referring to a dying ceder next the house, but now I'm going to have to ask him to take care of the apple. They'll cut it up and chip most of it and take it away. I'll ask them to leave the bigger branches (cut up, of course) for firewood. The question is, shall I ask them to do both trees? Ken says yes.

Monday, October 21, 2019

A late harvest

With all the rain we've had in the past week (and it seems to be over now), I wondered how long it would be before what's left in the vegetable garden begins to rot. I knew there were a few tomatoes out there as well as some peppers. So I went out on Friday to gather it up.

The peppers may still turn yellow and red as they sit. The red bell and yellow long peppers that you see on the left were mostly green when I picked them a couple of weeks ago.

I was surprised at how many long peppers there were. There are nine plants, so I shouldn't have been all that surprised. Still, I was. Many of the remaining tomatoes had burst, but I got some. I also found a couple of tiny eggplant and one lonely zucchini. Now I have to figure out what to do with these peppers to preserve them. It's also time to start thinking about pulling up plants and preparing the plot for winter.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Route barrée

Road closed. It's that sign we dread when we're in a hurry to get somewhere which, thankfully, isn't all that often these days. It's usually followed by a sign that says déviation (detour) and arrows that point the way. Funny, détour is a French word, but it's not used to mean detour in the American sense. The two words' meanings are subtly different.

Road signs and barriers stacked up behind the construction trailers behind our house.

Un détour isn't a temporary route around construction or other closure. It is, if I understand correctly, a curve or meander or simply another route that is just not the most direct way from point A to point B (as in the shortest distance between two points is a straight line). If you've used the famous Michelin touring guides in France, you might remember their rating system for sights: one star, intéressant (interesting); two stars, mérite le détour (worth going out of your way); three stars, vaut le voyage (worth the trip).

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A rainy weekend

The forecast is for rain through the weekend to Monday morning. I woke up around 01h30 this morning to the sound of rain on the roof, and this morning at 07h00 it's still coming down, albeit a little lighter. We need the rain, of course.

A break in the clouds last Thursday afternoon.

I stayed up late last night watching a movie on television. Prime time starts in France at 20h50 (that's ten minutes to nine), after the eight o'clock news. I always laugh at how nothing on French TV starts on the hour. It's mostly just before or just after, depending on the channel. Even programs that are scheduled to start on the hour often start early (like the noon news) or late, with no explanation. That's just the way things are. And that's why our satellite box has a default option to start a recording early and end it late. We have it set to start recording five minutes before the scheduled start time and to stop recording five minutes after the scheduled end time of any program we record.

Bert stayed upstairs with Tasha and me through the movie (it was Star Wars, Episode VIII) and was snoozing comfortably when I went to bed. So I let him stay. His door to the utility room and outside was slightly open so he could get outside when he was ready. This morning I heard him climb back up the stairs at 04h30, so he did go out at some point. We all snoozed for another two hours before getting up for breakfast.

Friday, October 18, 2019


Crews are doing some kind of work down on the river road (the road that runs parallel to the river down the hill from us). Apparently they don't have a place down there where they can park their construction trailers and other equipment. The mayor told them they could use the land next to the pond outside our back gate.

The strip adjacent to the pond has become a temporary construction staging area. The pond (left) is full of a weed called "jussie."

So far there are two trailers (the white one looks like a field office for the construction), a front loader, a load of road barriers, construction signs, and a big pile of gravel. Each day, dump trucks and other equipment come up our road and park for a while before turning around and heading back down to the job site. The big trucks are making huge ruts in the soft ground outside our hedge. I hope the crew fills them in when they're done.

Heavily laden dump trucks are making ruts outside our back hedge.

It's inevitable that we get ruts on what is essentially an access path to the vineyards on our north and west sides. It happens every year, but those ruts made by the grape grower's smaller vehicles. Either I fill the ruts with the dirt from mole hills, or they get more or less flattened out by other vehicles. The land is not ours, but I like to keep the grass cut around the outside of the hedge. It looks neater that way, and I don't have to walk through tall grass when I go out the back gate with Tasha. I can't mow over big ruts, though.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Chicken salad

Did I mention I'm still eating that chicken that I poached last Saturday? On Tuesday, I used the meat from the thighs and drumsticks to make a chicken salad using the same recipe that Ken used a few weeks ago. That is, with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. The only thing I didn't have was celery. But no matter.

The whole wheat toast got a little too toasted, but it was still tasty.

I made a chicken salad sandwich for lunch on Tuesday and ate it with fries. I'm going to have another sandwich today, but this time with chips. I'll still have some chicken salad left, so it'll probably become a supper snack over the weekend. There's still a piece of chicken breast left in the fridge... there may be a pizza in my immediate future.

So far, I've eaten this chicken in one form or another on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and now Thursday. And there's another meal or two left. Good thing I like chicken.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What's this "west 40" thing, anyway?

When I talk about cutting the grass, I often refer to sections of the yard as the north, south, or west 40. Some of you, especially those who aren't American, may wonder what the heck I'm talking about. Here's a quote from Wikipedia:
South 40 is an American colloquialism with its origins in the Homestead Act of 1862. Adult heads of families were given 160 acres (0.65 km2) of public land provided they could "prove" (improve) the land by constructing a dwelling of some sort on the land and cultivating the land in some manner. After five years of residence, the deed was transferred to the homesteader. The homesteads, being 160 acres (0.65 km2), were easily divisible into quarters of 40 acres (160,000 m2) each. The south 40 would therefore refer to the south 40 acres (160,000 m2).
So, our property (which is only 1/2 acre, or about 2,000 m2), is easily divided into three sections because of the way it's laid out. I jokingly refer to these sections as the north, south, and west 40s. I don't have an east 40.

The south 40 includes a strip about a meter wide outside the hedges. I also cut a meter-wide strip outside the fence on the north edge of the property.

I made this illustration many years ago using Powerpoint. It's not to scale, but generally shows where things are in the yard. I updated it for today's post. We've lost a few trees and made some improvements over the years, so I tried to show that here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Soba soup, sorta

After making my poule au pot (chicken in a pot) over the weekend, I was left with a lot of chicken broth, not to mention chicken and vegetables. Most of the broth went into the freezer. I saved out some to make chicken noodle soup for another lunch.

My chicken noodle soup with soba and Japanese flavor ingredients. I ate two bowls full.

I had some Japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles in the pantry and thought they would be good in the soup, and they were. I chopped up some of the leftover chicken and vegetables, added some soy sauce, mirin (a sweet Japanese rice wine), and some soy bean/garlic paste to the broth. It turned out well, but next time I think I'll try to hot it up a bit. There will be a next time because I have some left.

On Monday evening the expected cold front moved through our sultry, muggy weekend air. Thunderstorms formed all along the line, but somehow we were spared. There were storms to the south of us and storms to the north, but all we got was rain and wind. Lots of wind. About fifteen minutes of very strong wind. When it was over, I had to go out and collect the empty flower pots that were blown all over the yard.

Monday, October 14, 2019

A summery fall weekend

We're getting one more day out of this warm spell. The forecasters have moved the cool-down and rain out about twelve hours, so most of today should be nice with temperatures approaching 25ºC again, about 77ºF. As I mentioned, I took advantage of the weather to get some outdoor work done.

Saturday evening looking over the freshly mowed west 40 as the sun began to set.

Of course, my food plans didn't quite go with the weather, but that's ok. I could have been grilling, but I have a lot of leftovers in the fridge.

On Sunday evening's walk, Tasha and I got caught in a rather heavy, but brief, unexpected shower. The rain came down as if Noah himself were building an ark out back. I eventually took shelter under the roof of the vineyard cabin. Tasha wouldn't, but was beside herself rather annoyed at getting pelted with fat raindrops. As suddenly as it started, the rain stopped. We were treated to a nearly perfect rainbow on the way back to the house, both of us soaked to the bone.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Poule au pot

Saturday morning was a little overcast and damp, so I decided to make my Sunday lunch a day early. I made a classic French dish called poule au pot (chicken in a pot). The recipe is traditionally made with an old laying hen, a tough bird that requires at least a couple of hours in the pot to become tender. Nowadays, many people just use regular chickens (poulet) that can poach in a fraction of that time.

A free-range farm-raised chicken. I used yellow turnips because they looked so pretty. The bay leaves and thyme come from our garden.
I took the picture before I remembered the onion, but it went in.

I got a nice chicken from the supermarket and all the standard vegetables. Leeks, celery, carrots, turnips, parsnips, onion, along with salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, and some allspice (instead of cloves). I put the chicken in a pot, covered it with water, and brought it to a boil. I skimmed the broth, then added the vegetables and herbs. It all simmered for a little less than an hour before I turned it off and let it sit for ten minutes or so.

Poached chicken with tender vegetables. A chicken in every pot!

The chicken was perfectly poached and the vegetables were all tender. And it was delicious! Of course, now I have a ton of leftovers. I froze most of the broth for later, but I saved some out for today's lunch. I plan to cut up some of the remaining chicken and vegetables, add noodles, and make a chicken noodle soup. I have some Japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles to use, so I'll look for some recipes online for an Asian-style soup.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Yard work

Friday turned out to be a beautiful day. Sunny, warm, and dry. I took advantage of the weather to get some things done outdoors. First, I trimmed the spent flower stalks off the clary sage around the real fake well. At the base of each plant, new growth is abundant. With the flower stalks gone, the well looks much neater.

I don't have photos of my handiwork yet, so here are some grape vine leaves.

Next, I tackled a project that Ken has been talking a lot about recently: clearing an overgrown patch of brambles from against our fence. The spot is where our friend, Sue, transplanted a bunch of iris bulbs back in 2006. Since then, the wild blackberries have taken over. I got the hedge trimmer out and cut it all down as close to the ground as I could. Then I got the lawnmower out and mulched the heck out of it all. Much neater looking.

Finally, after lunch I cut the grass in the south 40 and outside our hedges along the road. I still have the north and west 40s to cut. I could do that today, depending on the weather (some light showers are predicted) or Sunday morning, which is supposed to be our warmest and driest day before a new rain system moves in.

There is still much to be done, but fall is young. The vegetable garden is finishing up and that will need to get cleaned up for winter. The greenhouse needs a little reorganizing before we bring plants in for the season. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The grove

This is the little grove on the Artsy Organized Neighbor's property. I don't know if he cuts the grass or if it's naturally this way. You can see his "paved" road that circles the grove. On the right are some piles of dirt and the black gravel he used for paving. On the left you can see an old roulotte, a covered wagon, like a camper, made entirely of wood. This one's wheels have been removed so it sits on the ground.

The little grove adjacent to the vineyard. It almost looks like a city park.

Our weather is warming up again. We're expecting temperatures in the low to mid twenties (low 70sF) over the weekend. I'm planning to get the mower out and cut the grass this afternoon while the sun shines and there are no showers predicted.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

For art's sake

This is part of the Artsy Organized Neighbor's collection. Apparently he's a retired public works employee whose career had something to do with road building and maintenance. He lives in town, but has this property out here where he collects old roadside marker posts and other things. Last year he "paved" the road through his property with fine black gravel (he's got it in better shape than the road through the vineyard).

Big rocks (old cobblestones?), bits of metal, tarps, a railing, and a wheel. I think the tubes are old roadside marker posts.

My guess is that he misses his work, so he putters around out in the woods from time to time. Memories of better days, I suppose. None of his stuff is an eyesore. It's all neatly organized and is mostly hidden behind his log pile, which itself is kind of hidden behind a row of hazelnut trees that he keeps nicely trimmed. I wonder what will happen to it all when he eventually passes away.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The woodpile

This wood pile is not ours (too bad!). It belongs to the Artsy Organized Neighbor and sits out on an isolated property between vineyard parcels and a ravine in the adjacent woods. We walk by it most days, although usually on the vineyard side.

Standard one-meter lengths of oak and other hardwoods are neatly stacked on the AON's property.

The trailer and other odd pieces of old and rusting machinery are parked next to the woodpile. I don't think I've ever seen them moved, but the woodpile shrinks and grows from year to year.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Tasha Tuesday

Tasha really likes to go off-road, as it were, and through the woods on her walks. This particular route leads us by a big woodpile and the collection of the Artsy Organized Neighbor and then through the woods on what is probably a deer path. Callie used to like the same path, and now it's Tasha's.

Just beyond Tasha, where you can see grass, is the western entrance to the path through the woods.

Where the path exits the woods next to a vineyard parcel, thorny brambles grow and block the way. Even Tasha struggles to get through unscathed. Once a year, Ken or I take a pair of pruning shears on the walk to clear it out, making the path accessible again. I did that last week so we no longer have to fight with thorns. Until next year.

Monday, October 07, 2019


There are several fields interspersed among the vineyard parcels out back. Most of the time, they're filled with tall grasses that grow all spring and summer and then are cut down. Some of them are cut for hay, and we see the bales dotting the fields in late summer before they're taken to storage.

India, Nigeria, and Niger are the world's leading producers of millet. The US, India, and Nigeria are the leading producers of sorghum.

One small field, between a small grape parcel and a stand of pines, was plowed up last spring and planted with something. At first it looked like corn (maze), but it did not grow tall. Now that it's gone to seed, it looks like it's a variety of millet. It could also be sorghum; they're related and look similar. I think millet is mostly used for animal feed in France, probably poultry. It's also part of the wild bird seed mixes I see sold in the garden centers. Here and there we find a variety of millet in the markets sold for human consumption. We both enjoy it as an alternative to rice and other grains.

Sunday, October 06, 2019


Every year I post a photo of grapes in an abandoned vineyard parcel out along our walking route. It's too bad that there's no one to work the vines in this parcel. Either there's no heir that's interested, or whoever owns the land doesn't want to sell, or there's no buyer if he does.

Unpruned, unharvested, these grape vines have been abandoned. The grapes will be eaten by wildlife or rot.

By now, shrubs and small trees have invaded. If anyone does want to work the parcel, I think everything would have to be dug up and they'd have to start from scratch. We've seen some vineyard parcels out back dug up and re-planted over the years, but none of them had been left to go wild.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Harvest is winding down

There is less and less activity in the vineyards out back as the days go by. Most of the grapes are gone. I noticed on Friday that one particular plot of "late harvest" grapes had been picked. So ends another harvest season. I imagine that the grapes have been pressed and the juice is starting to ferment in big tanks in the wineries around us.

These parcels have all been harvested. Soon the leaves will turn golden and fall to the ground.

In the coming weeks, some of the young juice will be sold as bernache, a local name for the unfiltered juice as it begins to ferment. It's a very sweet, yeasty, and slightly alcoholic beverage that is reputed for having digestive effects similar to prune juice. Then, later in November, the "new" wines will show up in the markets. In Beaujolais they're called vins nouveaux; in our region the young wine is released as Touraine Primeur. The fall season is in full swing.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Mellow yellow

The vineyards' deep green is getting more pale as the days go by. It's not in its yellow phase yet, but there are certain leaves that are ahead of the game.

The bottom grape leaves seem to be changing before the rest.

I harvested four long eggplants on Thursday from our single plant. There are two other eggplant varieties out there, but the few fruits they have are not yet mature. I sliced and grilled the eggplant and Ken used it in moussaka, a Greek dish made with layers of potato, ground lamb, and eggplant, topped with a béchamel sauce, and baked. Ken's version also has cheese on top. It made a tasty lunch. And, yes, there are leftovers!

Thursday, October 03, 2019

The green is back

Although our drought is far from over, the recent rains have provided enough surface moisture to get the grass growing again. Our yard is losing its summer brown and is turning green again. Where I grew up, winter meant brown grass. But in California, the grass was green in winter, when it rained, and brown in summer (except where watered by sprinklers). Here in central France, where the summers are increasingly dry, we're reminded of California.

Early October in the West 40. Not only is the grass getting greener, but it's growing. I'll have to mow in a week or so.

It doesn't get cold enough long enough for our grass to go brown in winter. But it does rain, and that keeps things green. The trees may be brown and bare, but the grass is a refreshing green through the winter.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

More leaves

Until I get some more photos taken, you're stuck with autumn leaves. Autumn grape leaves. We had a mixed day on Tuesday with rain showers in the middle and breezy conditions on either end. Then, right when I took Tasha out for her afternoon walk, we had another fairly strong shower. So, we got wet. The walk didn't last very long,

These look like they might be gamay leaves. Gamay is the red varietal most grown in our area.

This morning looks dry, but it's still breezy out there. The growers are still working on getting all the grapes in. There's a parcel of red grapes close by us that hasn't been harvested yet. Of course, there are small parcels here and there that the growers leave for "late harvest" sweet wines, but I think those are mostly white sauvignon.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Fall color

The leaves in the vineyards around us are starting to change. The reds can be especially vibrant, but the majority of the color will be golden, as much of the vineyards are planted in sauvignon blanc. Over the next weeks the green will pale out to yellow, then gold. If the weather cooperates, I'll try to post photos of the change.

This leaf looks like it could be "côt," a local name for "malbec," one of the three red wine varietals that are grown out back.

After the peak, the leaves will go brown and drop off, or they'll be blown off by autumn winds and rain. Speaking of which, the recent rains have had an effect: I've noticed the grass in our yard is greener and is growing again. I will likely have to mow at least once more before winter.