31 July 2008

Vineyard sunrise, collards, and walks

Of course, I'm looking west at sunrise, out over
the Renaudie vineyards — not toward the sun.

On my walk this morning, I picked a good bouquet of wild chicory, which I put in water. I'm waiting for the flowers to fade and then I'll get the seeds for my planting out back.

Cornflowers (wild chicory) for seeds

This morning I'm going to plant a row or two of collard greens so we will have a crop in November and December, before the first hard freeze. If we get a hard freeze... because sometimes we don't. I tilled up a new plot yesterday.

The new garden plot, for collard greens

The weather continues hot and dry. Too hot, almost. And too dry. After all my complaining about having too much rain in 2007 and the first four months of 2008, now I want rain and I'm complaining about it being too dry. Jamais content, décidément.

Seeds for two varieties of collards
that I brought back from North Carolina

Meanwhile, on my morning walk I actually counted the steps I take going out to the end of the gravel road that runs through the vineyard. It turns out to be 1,600 steps, one way. So 3,200 for a round trip. That's not much, since some people I know are now walking 11,000 steps a day for health purposes. I'd better start taking two walks a day instead of just one.


  1. Ken, about the wild chicory: I'm not an expert on reproducing flowers/plants ;), but don't you think it would be better to string them together and put them upside down to dry and collect the seeds afterwards? Maybe Susan knows what's the best way to be successful. Martine

  2. Bonjour Martine, je pensais attendre que les tiges de chicorée sauvage finissent de fleurir avant de les laisser sécher. Je ne sais pas. Je verrai quand les fleurs seront finies. K.

  3. You'll need a pedometer like Claude if you start counting your steps. I might get one in September. I'll be on my own then and it will help me to add a few more steps everyday.

    You have such nice skies. I always keep it a while on the big screen. We don't see much in a city. It's wonderful to see yours.

  4. You may find the chicory you have picked never sets seed, or if it does, it is poorly viable. Plants need to process a lot of nutrients and direct them to their seeds, and to do that they need to be healthy whole plants. I think you would be better off waiting for the ones in the fields to set their seeds and harvest them. Take the seed at several stages of development from quite green to very dried, as I don't know what the peak viability for chicory is.
    Susan (la bebitte)

  5. We shall see, Susan. I'm not trying to be scientific about it, and it's not costing me anything. If it grows, it grows. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying having big bouquets of blue chicory flowers around the house!

  6. Claudia, I've been thinking about a pedometer too. Often I don't walk straight out to the end of the road and back, but I wander all around the edges of the vineyard. I can't keep an accurate count of my steps and play with Callie too! I'll have to ask Claude where she got her step-counter.

  7. i love this post.
    the sky reminds me of this painting by o'keeffe.


    the cornflowers are beautiful, and the idea of a dedicated collard garden with TWO kinds of collards in it makes me swoon.

    how do you cook them? somebody just turned me on to the madhur jaffrey indian style, braised with a large handful of unsweetened coconut thrown in at the last minute, which adds the richness pork does, but in a different way. mmm! i also love the brazilian style, braised in the lightest touch of lard. oink.

    do keep us posted on the progress of the cornflower seeds and the december collards.

  8. I like to cook greens in chicken broth and, of course, white wine. The chicken broth is optional!


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