06 May 2008

Where we walk and work

While we are working to prepare the kitchen walls for painting, we continue walking the dog twice a day out in the vineyard. Here are just a few pictures from my walk with her yesterday morning.

One the way out, walking along the south edge of the vines, there's an old car slowly deteriorating from the effects of weather and plants. Those yellow flowers are scotch broom (genêt in French, as in the famous Plantagenêt dynasty). Broom is really taking hold around Saint-Aignan. A few years, you saw very little of it, but now it's everywhere. Maybe the wet, mild weather we've have for a couple of years now is the reason. The years from 2002 to 2006 were very dry.

Callie and I like to walk through this little portion of woods, now that the ground has dried out some and it's not so slippery and muddy in there. This is what the woods look like here in the Loire Valley: there isn't heavy undergrowth, and the ground is a carpet of leaves.

As we come out of the woods, we get to this big parcel of vines. Here, Callie has spotted one of her "friends" — a young man who spends a lot of time out in the vineyard all year round pruning the plants, repairing the wires and posts that hold them up, and pulling out the stumps when plants die. Callie always runs over to say « bonjour » to him when she sees him working.

This is what the grapes are up to right now. The leaves are fresh and very green, and little flower buds (I think) are starting to appear. Those will soon be grapes.

While Walt was scraping and patching walls in the kitchen a couple of days ago, I went out and pulled out a lot of tall grass that was threatening to suffocate our artichoke plants, which made it through the winter. We are hoping for a good crop of artichokes this year.

And then yesterday I did the same weeding job under a row of rose bushes that will produce deep red flowers over the next few weeks. They too were getting choked out by tall, thick grass, but I took care of that.


  1. I remember a picture of that car of some years ago. Nature seems to have taken over. In a while, the car will have disappeared and probably rotten away.

  2. It's great to see all the phases of the vine growing. The green leaves are so nice. Never knew about flowers before grapes.

  3. Ken, I just can't get over how beautiful it seems to be in your coin du monde! I've been wondering about something: Do you know what the difference is between La Vallée de la Loire and Le Val de Loire? I've seen both used. I asked my French colleague (une Lyonnaise) if she knew, and she said she's wondered the same thing. Now that you're un habitant du val de Loire, perhaps you can help settle this for us?

  4. Judith, that is a good question. Here's what Wikipedia says: « Le Val de Loire, tel qu'il a été inscrit en 2000 sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO, désigne la partie de la vallée de la Loire située entre Sully-sur-Loire (dans le Loiret) et Chalonnes-sur-Loire (en Maine-et-Loire). Il constitue un site exceptionnel pour sa diversité biologique ainsi que pour sa richesse historique et culturelle (parcs, châteaux et villes). » That's what I thought: the Val de Loire is the part of the Loire Valley from just east of Orleans down to about Angers where most of the famous châteaux are.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?