Friday, April 30, 2021

The plum tree

Remember the plum tree that Ken planted in the corner of our back yard some years ago? I posted this photo of it flowering in early March. The flowers are gone now and the dark red leaves have taken their place.

Many more leaves in the woods now than a month ago.

I got out yesterday to run a few errands. I had a birthday card to mail. I had to go to the blood lab in advance of my upcoming routine doctor visit. Then I stopped at the grocery store for a few things, one of which was motor oil for the lawnmower and rototiller. I didn't change the oil in either machine last year, so I need to do it now. I was out and back home before 09h00.

Thursday, April 29, 2021


Or, more accurately, un-wired. These are some of the guide wires from a vineyard parcel that's being dug out. I'm assuming the parcel will be re-planted with new grapes, but if I understand the process, that probably won't happen until next year. There are three larger parcels nearby that were plowed up last year. I'm expecting that they'll be planted with new grapes this summer, once the warm weather (high hopes) sets in.

Bundles of rusty old wire.

We're back in a chilly spell. I haven't seen any freeze warnings, yet. Frost danger lasts through mid-May in France, so we're not out of the woods.This morning's low is about 7ºC (45ºF) at the house. The high is expected to reach a lofty 13ºC (about 55ºF) this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Mower mishap

I started cutting the last part of the yard on Monday afternoon around 14h00. Everything started out fine. I was in the north forty, but then it all went south. The self-propelled feature of the lawnmower quit. I had to stop because, with my back, I can't muscle a lawnmower around the yard without a little help. The first thing I tried was to turn the adjustment screws on the cable that activates the drive wheels. No change.

The back yard, all mowed, Tuesday morning at about 08h30. Ken's done a really good job tilling up the vegetable garden plot.

I turned the mower over on its side, reached underneath, and found the lever that the cable activates. It moved back and forth just fine. I righted the mower and started it again. No change. I turned it over again and turned one of the drive wheels. It turned normally. I tried the other one. All ok. I took the hub caps off and checked the gears that turn the wheels. All seemed normal. Righted the mower, started it up again. No change.

Now I was starting to swear. The mower is pretty new. I went into the house and dug out the guarantee papers. Two year guarantee. I couldn't remember when I actually bought the mower so I had to search through bank records to find the receipt. That took a little while, but I found it. I bought the mower in August of 2019; just under two years. So I decided I'd have to take it back to the store. However, the store where I bought the mower is farther than our 10 km driving limit while we're under confinement. Curses! I hopped in the car and drove over to our local Bricomarché to ask them if they could do the repair or did I need to take the mower to the other Bricomarché where I bought it. I already knew the answer: I would have to take it to the other store. Ok, I thought, confinement is over on Monday. I can take the mower in next week.

Once home again, I got to thinking. I Googled Best Green tondeuse tractée panne de traction (Best Green lawnmower self-propelled broken self-propulsion). Up came four YouTube videos. The first one was a guy who was trying to fix the self-propulsion on a mower model very close to mine. One of the first things he said to do was to check the belt. Ken had actually thought it might be a belt issue; that was a couple paragraphs up.

So I went back out with my trusty tools (consisting of a ratchet set, a handful of screwdrivers, and a box of Allen wrenches), turned the mower over on its side, unplugged the spark plug, then got to work removing the blade. Once the blade was off, I could see that, sure enough, the belt had come off. After searching for the right size screwdriver, I finally got the belt cover off. The belt was not broken, so I put it back in its guide on the turning thingy (that's the official name for it) and reattached the cover and blade. After reattaching the spark plug, I started the mower back up. It worked!

By this time it was about 17h00. I decided to finish cutting the grass. And so I did.

I am extremely happy that I don't have to schlep that lawnmower over 30 km to the hardware store (and back) just for a slipped belt. And who knows how much time they would have taken to fix it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Another one bites the dust

Another few vineyard parcels out toward the end of the road have seen their last days. Over the past few weeks, I've seen the guide wires removed, the stakes pulled out, and many of the vine trunks taken away. The next step will be plowing up the ground, along with the remaining vine trunks.

Not much remains in these old vineyard parcels.

These must have been very old vines. I know that one of the larger parcels (just beyond the trees in this photo) that was dug up last year had the oldest vines owned by that particular grower. Out with the old, in with the new.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Vineyard view

The vineyards out back are mostly prepared for the new season. Pruning and pliage are done, the growers are plowing between rows as weeds begin to grow, and now leaves are appearing on the vines. The clover in that one parcel has been cut and plowed in, allowing the nitrogen stored in the roots to be released as a natural fertilizer.

The vines are busy producing new leaves.

We've just read that the practice of planting clover or other cover crops in vineyards is gaining ground in the effort to reduce or eliminate the use of chemical herbicides and fertilizers and to help control erosion. The practice is called enherbement. I'm hoping that this test was successful and that we'll see more of it out there. Already, most of the parcels out back have grass growing between the vines. That's the simplest form of enherbement because there's no need to seed and plow each year.

Sunday, April 25, 2021


The tomato seedlings are up! This year I've planted only two varieties: roma and marmande. I thinned the seedlings down to one per pot before I took this photo. I will plant six romas and nine marmandes (there's one extra in case I lose one), significantly down from the number of tomato plants in previous years. The total number of plants has to be a multiple of three because I'm using my tripod stakes to support them.

The seedlings will enjoy the warmth of the green house for the next few weeks before going out into the garden plot.

I've also planted zucchini (in the round pots). One seed came up, the second has been eaten by something. I planted another seed yesterday to replace it. Not in the photo are pots of chard seeds that have yet to sprout (I just planted them yesterday). Once the garden plot is ready, I will also start planting beans. I have purple pole beans (same as last year), green beans, and yellow beans.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Parasol demi-lune

Now that the weather is getting nicer (we got up to over 21ºC, almost 70ºF, on Friday), we're using the deck a little more. We're still expecting the renovation work to get under way sometime this spring, so I haven't put the table and chairs out yet. But I'm grilling and enjoying sitting out there a little. And, I put out the new umbrella.

The new umbrella on the deck. Ken likes the way it matches the emerging red maple leaves.

Like I mentioned before, it's half an umbrella, or half-moon, made specially for balconies. I hoped it would work on our deck (which is not a balcony in the technical sense). It does, mostly. The umbrella is almost too tall, but I can work with that. And, although I originally wanted the green color, I find I like the red just fine.

A different angle, kind of distorted. The deck will need to be emptied before the workers start the renovation.

The good weather got us out into the yard yesterday. Ken did the first pass in the vegetable garden with the rototiller. I got last year's Jerusalem artichoke flower stems pulled out and did some weed killing in our driveway. I also transplanted some of the tomato seedlings into individual pots. They're still small, but they look good. They can't go into the ground for another month (frost danger), so they're enjoying the spa-like conditions in the green house for now. Photos to come.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Like a dandelion

These, I think, are called séneçon commun (groundsel), according to an online wildflower identification site I looked at. They look a little like multi-headed dandelions and grow wild all around us. The flowers are much smaller than the common dandelion.

The plant's origins are in Europe, but they grow pretty much world-wide now.

Yesterday's mystery flower was no mystery after all. Reader Tim identified it, but I had forgotten that he had already identified it as red dead-nettle (lamium purpureum) back in mid-March when I posted a photo of it growing in our yard. The difference that threw me was that the flowers in our yard are a pale purple, while yesterday's flowers are a vibrant purple and white. I thought it was a different plant. Our friend B. in Washington DC wrote to identify it as well, but he was unable to leave a comment on the blog. So I thank him for the info.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

I don't know what this tiny flower is called. It kind of looks like it could be a variety of orchid or iris. This group grows in a spot very close to the vineyard road in the shadow of a tall stand of (false) acacia trees. Water frequently flows by this spot as rainfall drains down toward the river.

These little wildflowers add a nice purple color to the ground cover.

We're having nice weather again, thankfully. The mornings are still cool, but not cold. The days are sunny and almost warm. I got some more downed birch branches picked up and stacked yesterday and I mowed the tall grass where they had fallen. Still a long way to go. I'm not sure how much more I can do. I emailed the landscaper and asked him to include the cleanup and taking down the two trees in the work he's planning to do. I haven't had a reply yet.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Cows lips

Actually, cowslips, or coucous in French. They seem a little late this year (maybe because of the cold weather), but they're out in abundance now. Cowslips grow wild along the side of the vineyard roads and the edges of woods out back.

Cowslips out by the grape vines.

We actually got two UFOs out of the freezer on Tuesday. One turned out to be a leftover sauce that we decided was no longer appetizing. I think it went into the freezer in 2018. It's gone now. The other was some frozen black beans. They're perfectly good and we plan to have them in enchiladas on Thursday. Today we're eating couscous (not coucous) using the broth frozen just last month. We'll be adding some turnips, carrots, and artichoke bottoms, and I'll grill some merguez and a couple of chicken drumsticks to go with it. I predict more leftovers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tulips for Tuesday

These tulips grow along our road on a neighbor's property. She has bulbs sprinkled here and there, but mostly she has roses growing along the fence that separates her yard from the dirt road through the vineyard.

Red tulips by the road.

I took a UFO (Unidentified Frozen Object) out of the old chest freezer yesterday. It wasn't labeled. We're not really sure what it was. We thawed it in the microwave and our best guess is that it was the liquid from cooking winter squash. Why did we save it? I don't know. It got flushed. My goal is to thaw out one UFO per day until they're gone. We'll either eat them or toss them. I'm determined to decommission that freezer this spring.

Monday, April 19, 2021

A bud

The cold weather has slowed down the leafing-out process in the vineyards. I don't know how much, if any, damage was done over the past two weeks of morning freezes. Time will tell. One of the buds in this photo looks ok, with leaves growing. The other one looks a little too brown. I see parcels out back with many leaves and others with just buds.

A grape vine cane with buds tied to its support wire.

The chilly mornings don't motivate me to get out to work in the yard. Walks with the dog are no problem, but garden work is not happening. Part of the reason is that I did my back in again last week (third time this spring!). I don't even know how I did it this time, but I was not very mobile for three or four days. I'm better now, but I don't want to push it.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Winter's leftovers

As spring progresses, albeit slowly this year, there are still some reminders of winter out there. These are carotte sauvage (wild carrot or Queen Anne's lace) flowers, dead but still standing.

Skeletons of last summer's delicate white flowers.

Saturday was an overall cold day. We started out warmer than it has been at just under 7ºC (about 45ºF), but even with sun out, the day didn't get much above 12ºC (about 54ºF). When I walked Tasha in the late afternoon, a cold north wind chilled us to the bone. Well, me anyway. Tasha had her fur coat on.

The market was nice on Saturday morning. I got a bunch of white asparagus, a bunch of radishes, a bunch of turnips, a bunch of tomatoes, and a pound of mushrooms. Ken cleaned and cooked the turnip and radish greens. We ate some of the radishes with butter and salt as our appetizer at lunch time. Yum!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Bloomin' tree

Here's a close-up of the flowers on our ornamental prunus. I don't know if it's a plum, a cherry, or something else. Prunus is a broad category. The main thing is that it doesn't produce any fruit. It's just for show.

We're getting loads of pretty blossoms this year.

We did have a couple of fruiting plum trees in the yard when we moved in. The fruit was good, but it wasn't all that abundant. Both trees were knocked over by wind during the storm Xynthia in 2010. It's hard to believe that it's been eleven years already.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Ham and asparagus tart

Ken found some nice big green asparagus at the supermarket the other day. Yesterday, I used it in a recipe that we've usually used for white asparagus: ham and asparagus tart. First I trimmed the spears and steamed them until they were mostly done. Then I wrapped two spears in each of four slices of ham and set them aside while I made the custard.

Trimmed green asparagus, ready for the steamer.

The custard is simple, made with eggs, milk, cream, and grated cheese. I used gouda vieux (aged gouda) because we had some in the fridge that needed to be eaten. I poured the custard batter into a blind-baked crust and then set the asparagus bundles into it. The tart baked in a hot oven for about 35 minutes.

Lunch is served!

Tomorrow I'm planning a trip to the Saint-Aignan market to see if the vendors have white asparagus yet. I might pick up a couple of tomatoes and a bunch of radishes while I'm there. And you never know what else I'll find.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Peeking at peonies

This is one of two pivoine (peony) clumps in our garden. We didn't plant them; they were here when we bought the house. However, I did transplant this clump by digging up and dividing the original clump. "Clump" is the appropriate botanical term, I'm certain. I wasn't blogging back then, but I mentioned having divided the plants in a 2009 post. Blogging is a great repository of memory.

A peony flower bud. It will open soon.

We're still having chilly mornings that hover around freezing. We can hear the big fans out in the vineyards to our north and east. There are none in the vineyards around us. In the past, the growers who own the vines around our hamlet have burned hay bales and lit smudge pots (as I call them) in certain sections of the vineyard to help mix the air and bring temperatures up. This year, nothing. I'm guessing they don't think it's cold enough in our micro-climate to worry. I hope they're right.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

No more nuts

For lack of new photos, you get another view of the back yard. Beyond the garden path is the section that I call the west forty. It's the largest section of the property, home to the (remaining two) apple trees, the garden shed, and the vegetable garden. There's a row of hazelnuts along the north edge that have died. They will be taken out soon.

Looking north. Vegetable garden on the left. The dead hazelnuts stretch from there to just right of the apple trees in this photo.

The hazelnuts never really worked. They were tall trees when we moved in and they produced a decent crop of nuts, but the nuts were ruined by boring beetles each year. Rather than take extraordinary measures to protect the crop, I had the trees cut into a hedge shape in 2012. Here's what they looked like the following year (and most years since). Now fully half of them are dead, so out they'll go.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tasha Tuesday

Sort of. Maybe I should call this a Trio of Trees. You can barely see Tasha standing in the garden path. The three trees are, from left to right, an apple, a tilleul (linden or lime), and a fir (overgrown former Christmas tree). We're still working on the cleaning up from winter. There are piles of sticks and branches in the path waiting to either be stacked for kindling or ground up by the landscaper. I got half of the north forty cut on Monday. The other half has to be cleared of the birch branches that fell in the December wind storm.

The biggest artichoke is visible along the path on the right. I cut down the scraggly old sage plants that grew between it and where Tasha is standing. To the right of the artichoke is a little clump of green that are peonies.

And there's all manner of plants and pots that need to be sorted through and dealt with. And the green house needs to be reorganized for summer. My tomato seeds have sprouted and I just planted some summer squash seeds. Soon it will be time to till up the vegetable garden plot and get it ready to receive seedlings. In the middle of all this, I fully expect our contractors to show up, at the same time, to work in the yard and on the deck. That's usually how things happen around here. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Rainy days and Sundays

Sunday was a wet day. We had rain through the night and on into Sunday. We need the rain, I think. It hasn't rained in a while. I took this photo from the den out over the west forty. The garden path separates the west forty from the south forty. That's the way I think of it, anyway. Our property slopes down toward the north. When we bought the house eighteen years ago, looking at it with our San Francisco eyes, the yard seemed absolutely flat.

Apple trees on the right. The big tree in the middle is a tilleul (linden). The vegetable garden is on the right, behind the two apple trees.
Behind the tilleul and to the left is the Christmas tree that blocks a lot of the view. Its days are numbered.

The current project is to re-do the garden path. That's why it looks a bit messy. We're waiting for the contractor to schedule us.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Looking the other way

Here's another look at our flowering prunus tree from the other side, looking east toward the house. The big forsythia is on the left.

Where's Tasha? Can you find her in the photo?

We're heading into the second week of our new confinement (lockdown). It's not really affecting us much. We're used to being more or less homebodies, just venturing out for food and wine. We're lucky to have the vineyards out back to walk in with Tasha. I'm thinking I'll go to the Saint-Aignan Saturday market next weekend to see if the vendors have asparagus. It's been chilly, so the crop may be late this year.

We're working on emptying our old chest freezer so we can retire it before it breaks down. We're finding several UFOs (Unidentified Frozen Objects) in the bottom. We thaw them out and try to figure out what they are. A few days ago we found some vegetable soup that we made in 2014. It was fine and we ate it up. I also found a bag of blueberries that I picked back in 2015. I made a blueberry cake with some of them yesterday. I'm hopeful that we can empty the freezer by June. Then we'll use it for a storage bin in the garage until we can get rid of it. Our "new" freezer is an upright with drawers. Much easier to deal with, more difficult to lose things in the bottom.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Ornamental plum

This is an ornamental (flowering, no fruit) variety of prunus. I don't know which; it was here when we moved in. It produces these pink flowers every spring. The tree is healthy, but it needs to be pruned, especially a couple of branches on the bottom where I bump my head when I mow under it.

You can see a branch of the tall Christmas tree on the upper right. Just behind the prunus are the two forsythia shrubs. The short, round shrub on the left will be covered in purple flowers later this spring, and the taller shrub behind it is a white-flowered deutzia.

My only complaint about the tree is that we can't see it from the house. There's a huge fir tree blocking the view. It was a live Christmas tree that the previous owner planted when her granddaughter was small. Originally there were two Christmas trees. We had one of them removed (it was sickly) the first year we lived here. The second one has probably doubled in height since then. I'd like to have it removed, too, but we're busy dealing with the dead and dying trees around the property. Since this one is relatively healthy, its removal is not a priority.

Thankfully, I can get decent shots of the prunus from other angles.

Friday, April 09, 2021

It's almost time

The lilac bush outside the southwestern corner of our house is getting ready to bloom. While there are some blooms every year, the variety is one that flowers every other year. This is a flowering year. I'll take more photos as the flowers open up.

Lots of flowers this year. They're on the verge of opening.

The lilac is competing with the ornamental prunus farther back in the yard. Its purple blossoms are pretty much open now and it looks nice. I didn't think to take a photo yesterday while the sun was shining. I'll try to get one today. It's overcast.

I got a big section of the lawn cut yesterday, the west forty. I plan to cut the south forty today, along with the strips outside the hedges. It'll depend on how soon the predicted rain starts. The north forty is still a mess, littered with the branches of the birch tree that fell in December. So the primroses are getting a reprieve for the time being.

Thursday, April 08, 2021


While researching recipes that use chick peas (garbanzo beans) last week, I came upon one for roasting them as a snack. We had some dried chick peas in the pantry for a while and decided it was time to use them. Ken cooked them, and there were quite a few; more than we needed for the North African chakchouka he made just over a week ago.

Four flavors of toasted chick peas. A tasty snack!

The recipe is simple: rinse and dry the chick peas (the recipe calls for canned garbanzos), coat them lightly with olive oil, and put them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet in a hot oven until they're crispy. It took about ten minutes in a 220ºC (about 425ºF) convection oven. Once they cooled a little, I separated them into four bowls for different seasonings. I flavored the first bowl with just salt, the other three bowls got salt and hot smoked paprika, ground fenugreek, or ground cumin. They were really good and we ate half of them the first day. The roasted garbanzos get soft rather quickly, so on the second day I combined all the flavors and crisped them up in the toaster oven before we finished them.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Easter lunch: dessert

You might remember that, last summer, a nearby friend invited me to come pick figs from her very productive fig tree. Fresh, ripe figs are delicious and we ate a lot of them various ways. But we couldn't eat all  I picked before they went bad, so I trimmed the stems and froze them whole for later.

Amandine de figues, baked and ready to serve.

While a batch of figs thawed, I made and blind-baked a pâte brisée (short crust) and assembled the ingredients for an amandine filling, namely ground almonds, all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. I spread the filling into the crust, pressed the whole figs into it, and baked it for about thirty minutes.

The mise en place, gathering the ingredients. I blind-baked the crust using parchment paper and ceramic pie weights.

I often cut the amount of sugar that a recipe calls for in half. This tart was no exception. I find that most things don't need to be that sweet and, without the full amount of sugar, the taste of the fruit is front and center and not masked by too much sweetness. The tart was delicious and we had dessert for three days!

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Easter lunch: the main course

Our plat principal (main course) on Sunday was rabbit. It's a dish called lapin en gibelotte, a kind of fricasee or stew made simply with smoky bacon, aromatic vegetables, mushrooms, and wine. And a whole rabbit, of course.

The browned rabbit pieces, herbs, and vegetables, just before the marinade was added.

Ken cut up the rabbit then marinated it in a dry rosé wine along with herbs (leek tops, celery tops, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme), garlic, and carrots. After a couple of hours, he strained the rabbit pieces and browned them, then added the marinade to the pan and let it simmer until the meat was tender. At the end of the cooking, he added the sauteed lardons (smoky bacon) and mushrooms, then thickened the sauce with a beurre manié (a mixture of flour and softened butter) and, voilà, lunch was served.

The stew is served! I didn't take a picture of the mashed potatoes.

We ate mashed potatoes along side and drank a local 2020 gamay. I don't remember exactly when our tradition of eating rabbit on Easter began. It must have been in the mid-eighties. We've been doing it one way or another ever since. The gibelotte is a favorite dish, but we also like lapin à la moutarde (roasted rabbit in Dijon mustard). One year we made an Asian style rabbit stir-fry. It was good, but we've only done that once. Next up: dessert.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Easter lunch: the appetizer

We started with a local specialty, pâté de Pâques, also known as pâté Berrichon, named for the Berry province where it's most commonly made. We didn't make this ourselves. This one comes from the poultry vendor at the local markets, but they're also available in local boulangeries (bakeries) and charcuteries (delis) this time of year.

A serving of pâté de Pâques (Easter pâté).

It's made with flavored pork sausage meat and hard-boiled eggs baked into a flaky pastry crust. It can be quite rich, given that the crust is made with a lot of butter. We split this portion in two for our appetizer. Ken drank a Montbazillac from down near Bergerac, I enjoyed a local sparkling wine. Next up: the main course.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

What's in a wall?

Here's what's in this one. One of our neighbors is having some work done, but I'm not sure what it is. So far, the enduit (render in British English, exterior stucco layer in American English) has been removed to expose the house's stone wall. That happened last winter and nothing has been done since. I don't recall any cracks or other obvious problems with that section of wall. So, we'll wait and see how the project evolves.

All sizes and shapes of stone went into this wall.

Today is pâques (Easter) in the Christian world. We will prepare our annual meal of rabbit. This year it will be lapin en gibelotte (a rabbit stew), with smoky bacon and mushrooms. I also got what's called a pâté de pâques: seasoned sausage meat and a hard-boiled egg wrapped in flaky pastry. That will be our appetizer. For dessert I'm making an amandine aux figues (fresh fig and almond tart). There may be photos.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

One more moon shot

I can't stop. Mostly because I don't have other photos to post at the moment. And I'm saving one for Tasha Tuesday, so this isn't the last.

When the moon hits your eye... yes, I'm making pizza for lunch today.

Friday's errands went smoothly. At the Montrichard market, I waited in line to get the rabbit, but it wasn't unpleasant. Rabbits are typically sold by poultry vendors in France. The vendor I went to is the same local poultry vendor that works the Saturday market in Saint-Aignan. I went to the Montrichard market on Friday just in case they didn't have any rabbits and I'd have to order one for pickup on Saturday. But they had plenty. The guy who "prepares" the poultry (which means cutting the heads and feet off ) asked me if I wanted him to cut up the rabbit. I said no, we'd do it at home, to which the sales lady replied, "Oh, you have knives at home!" Laughs all around.

I looked for some local white asparagus, but the usual suspects didn't have any yet. Still too early. One vendor that I didn't recognize did have some and he wanted €14.90 a kilo for them. I usually get them for €9.00/kg from my usual vendor, so I passed. I can wait.

Among other stops was a winery that I like because they make a pretty good dry rosé from a local grape variety called pineau d'aunis. I took 30 liters. The price has gone up from last year to €3.80/liter, which works out to €2.85/bottle, just over US$3.00 per bottle. We spare no expense. The sales lady reminded me that they would stay open during our confinement because wine is considered un produit de première nécessité (a staple product). But of course.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Monday's moonset

Here's another shot of the full moon setting on Monday morning. The sun was up, lighting the treetops and vineyard posts as it cleared the eastern horizon. I had the 50mm lens on the camera, so the moon just looks like a white ball in the sky. My longer zoom lens (75-300mm) would have let me get closer (to make the moon look bigger) but it might have been difficult to get a good shot without a tripod in the low morning light.

Looking west. 50mm, f8, 1/800s.

It's too soon to tell, but the weather people are hinting at morning freezes and maybe some snow activity early next week. Yikes! And we're going into another confinement starting Monday. Movement around the country will be limited and non-essential shops and businesses will be closed. No haircuts for us for a while. I'm heading out to a winery, a hardware store, and a local market (to get a rabbit for our Easter dinner) this morning. I wonder how crowded it will be in advance of the holiday and the lockdown.

Thursday, April 01, 2021


Remember those vineyard parcels that were dug up last fall? Remember the piles of grape vine trunks that were burned last month? Here's a link to my recent post about them. Last week I noticed that those three parcels have now been plowed in the next step toward replanting. I'm assuming this was the first of a couple of passes with the plow, based on what I've seen before.

Two of the three vineyard parcels that will be replanted in the coming months.

Today is supposed to be the best and last of the nice days for a while. A northeast wind is predicted to build in on Friday and cool us down again over the weekend. April freezes are not uncommon in our region and I'm sure the grape growers will be watching the weather very closely in the coming weeks.