21 June 2007

The last day of springtime

Now that the dog likes to go for long walks in the vineyard out back — or at least is willing to do so — the plan is for me to take her on one walk a day, and Walt on another. We want to keep her tired out!
Remember, you can click on any picture to see an enlargement.

The gravel road runs out into the vineyards that are part of
the Domaine de la Renaudie winery, run by the Denis family.

Seriously, the exercise will be good for all of us. Now if the weather will just improve a little so that we can enjoy the walks without having Callie stop for mud baths in big puddles along the way, we'll be in good shape.

The silver lining in the weather situation is that we are enjoying very dramatic skyscapes these days. The gravel road through the vineyard runs westward away from the house, and there isn't much to obstruct the view of the western sky. Our weather usually comes in from the west or southwest, off the Atlantic, the Pyrenees, and the Iberian peninsula, this time of year.

The big sky out over the rise, looking north

I just heard on the radio that the South of France — Provence, specifically — is having very hot weather and a pollution alert today. People are being asked not to do strenuous work outside or to jog or do other vigorous exercise. The air isn't good.

France is divided in half by air masses right now. The hot South is sitting under an upsurge of stagnant hot air coming off the Sahara. The north is plagued by unstable, humid air coming in off Spain and southerly regions of the Atlantic Ocean.

It's been showery with fairly frequent bolts of lightning and claps of thunder for a couple of weeks now. But breezes are keeping the air fresh-feeling most of the time.

The western sky looked stormy yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday it was warm and muggy. It didn't rain at all. But at 2:45 this morning, I was awakened by heavy rainfall. We have a plexiglass awning over our back door, which is just below the bedroom window, and heavy raindrops really set up a clatter when they fall on it. It poured rain for 10 or 15 minutes, it seemed to me, but then I was drifting back off to sleep by then.

I checked the rain gauge when I took Callie out at 6:15 this morning. We got just 2 mm, hardly a trace, of water from the early morning shower. To think that about 10 days ago we had a storm that dropped 35 mm of rain in less than 90 minutes. No wonder our roof sprang a temporary leak in that deluge.

Looking out over the rows of vines from
the edge of the surrounding woods

Yesterday afternoon when I took Callie out she stayed out of the puddles. Actually, I avoided walking close to any puddles by taking her around the periphery of the vineyard, along the edge of the woods, on the way out. She prefers that anyway; for some reason she doesn't like to walk away from the house on the gravel road.

The paved road a mile from the house is designated as
a route touristique through the Touraine vineyards.

When our path along the periphery took us back to the gravel road, about half a mile from home, Callie wanted to turn back. But I kept walking farther out, stopping frequently and calling her as I went. She would stop and sit and watch me for a while, but when I squatted down and called her she would come running to me, all squirmy if you know what I mean. We did another quarter of a mile in that mode.

The Domaine de la Renaudie vineyards

That's when we arrived at the paved road. A car went by just as we got there, and that scared Callie. So I put the leash on her, attaching it to her harness, not her collar. We walked east on the pavement for a couple of hundred yards with her on the leash. Another car came by (such traffic!) and Callie and I stepped a few feet off the road and just watched it go by. She needs to get used to cars.

Callie, 20 June 2007, looking fine in her harness

Then we walked along a line of trees and down a row of vines to get back to the gravel road for the return home. She likes that part of the walk the best. She was way out ahead of me on the leash. I was able to keep her out of the puddles; she wasn't even too interested in them, focused as she was on getting back to her home territory. This time she didn't need to be hosed down when she got home.

Today is the first day of summer. So far, it doesn't really feel like it. Predictions are for more cool, breezy weather next week.


  1. I think you need to think about taking up painting. Those photos are screaming out "paint me" "paint me".

    We get beautiful skies, but all that rich deep foliage is something we certainly miss down here by the Mediterranean.

  2. It's so nice that you have a walking companion again and that Callie is getting the hang of it.

  3. Wonderful.

    I've just made your big sky my desktop. Hope you don't mind. I feel like a thief!

  4. Minge, hope you enjoy the picture. You are not a thief in my eyes.

    Papa, that's what a lot of rain does for the plants. It's green, no doubt about that.

    Susan, hi, yes, Callie is figuring it all out. She's so afraid of the noise of engines, though, and right now the tractors are out in the vineyard (between rain showers) all the time. Soon their work will be done for the season.

  5. "il pleut comme vache qui pisse"
    the countryside way of looking
    "il pleut des halebardes"
    the old military one ;-)

  6. Just love your sky photos!


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