I think I might be on vacation. It's that time of year. Now that the weather is much nicer — not so hot but still pretty — I have a lot of yard work I'd like to get done. Does that sound like a vacation to you? It does to me, because I will feel rejuvenated if I get the outdoor work done. By the way, the photos in this post are some that I took more than a month ago, when CHM and I visited friends of his just south of Paris. They have an amazing flower garden.
Our weather is supposed to be warming up again already, but not drastically. It almost feels chilly this morning, though temperatures are supposed to be back up in the mid-80s (30ºC) this afternoon. We've had some rain, so everything feels fresher, less dusty, and less parched. As always with the weather, you just have to take it one day at a time. And take advantage of the good spells of weather to get things done and to just enjoy living.
There is so much going on in the world. The U.S. Supreme Court rescued the federal health care system and then ruled in favor of marriage equality in all the U.S. states. My head is spinning. Now the Greeks have voted to thumb their noses at Europe and its austerity policies. What that will do to exchange rates remains to be seen. It would seem logical for the euro to go down in value — it has been too strong for too long. After years of scrimping because of a weak dollar, things are now looking up for people like us, who live between two currencies — all income in U.S. dollars, and nearly all outgo in European euros.
Here at home in Saint-Aignan, there have been many changes too. A few months ago we bought a second car, which has changed our outlook on life out here in the country if not our actual lives all that much. We don't drive more, but we've gained in independence. We had some needed work done on the 15-year-old Peugeot to keep it running smoothly. Then we went through the woodstove research process and finally decided, for a multitude of reasons, to keep our old stove for another few years. Walt will not longer have to be a lumberjack, since we've finally found a source for wood already cut to fit our old stove.
Instead, we will probably get a new boiler installed this fall, greatly improving our central heating system. Our old boiler is 23 years old. It's inefficient and fragile, not to say decrepit. It's not easy to work with, and the danger is that it could easily break down at the worst moment, plunging us into the cold when we need heat the most. Stay tuned.
And of course there has been the refurbishment of the den. It was the last room in the house that still had some 20- or 30-year-old wall paper in it. There was a nasty crack in the ceiling. Now it's repaired, and the ceiling and walls have been patched, sealed, and repainted. I think we can say that we have finally made the house completely ours, with new windows all around, new paint everywhere, and a whole new upstairs, where we spend a lot of time. This summer has reminded us how much we enjoy living here.
I also think it's time to get a new refrigerator. The way we live here, doing all our own cooking, mostly from scratch, and not going to restaurants much or buying much prepared food, having a good, clean, reliable refrigerator is also crucial to our well-being — on the same level with having a freezer, a good kitchen stove, and bread deliveries. We are lucky that 12 years after acquiring our first set of home appliances we are able to start replacing and renewing them. This is what passes for excitement around here.
By the way, all these macro shots of flowers are ones I took with my Canon SX700HS camera, for those who are interested in such things. I'm regularly using it at well as the Panasonic Lumix camera I got back in June. With two cameras, I'm drowning in photos, both from my travels in early June and from my daily walks in the vineyard. I can't blog enough to even start to catch up with them all.