31 October 2008

An early blast of cold air

I've been blogging for three years now. Time flies — my first post was on 20 October 2005 — and for a while now I have been posting daily. As I've said before, my two motivations in blogging have been to find an outlet for the pictures I love to take, and to help fellow Americans and others see what life (or "a life") in the French countryside is all about. There is much beauty to admire here, and much good food to be cooked and eaten.

The view from the kitchen window yesterday morning —
a dusting of snow on the neighbors' rooftop

The pictures in this topic are pretty much my view of the world these days. All were taken out of my front windows. We are having a pretty fall, but not as pretty as the autumn of 2003 (here's a link to some 2003 pictures). And we are having cold weather early. As you know, it snowed yesterday — in October. Last winter we didn't have any snow at all all winter long. However, today's weather in no way indicates how cold or mild our winter is going to be. Only time will tell that.

The maple trees off our front terrace, and our woodpile

When I say this is my view of the world, I mean it. I haven't been out of La Renaudière since last Saturday. In other words, I haven't started the car in a week. I've walked the dog once a day out in the vineyard — with the exception of yesterday morning because it was snowing.

The snow didn't stick. The temperature never went all the way down to 0ºC. The low was 1.1, I think, and by afternoon it was 5 or 6. This morning's low was higher than yesterday's high. We had a hard rain shower early this morning, but no repeat of the cold blast of air we got yesterday.

View through a window pane

I appreciate all your comments yesterday. Remember, I didn't say I was going to stop blogging. I guess what I was saying was that I wanted to apologize for being boring. And explain why I was posting translations of local newspaper articles. Since I haven't been out of the house for a week now, I don't have much to report on when it comes to local life.

Walt just took the car out — we had actually put it in the garage when freezing temperatures and precipitation were predicted — to go shopping up at SuperU. We don't need much, but he has a couple of sale items he wants to check out so he went today. I decided to stay home. I'm going to make soup for lunch.

Another view from the kitchen window

I appreciate the comments from the "regulars" — you know who you are, and I know many of you personally, not just virtually. I also greatly appreciate the comments from people I don't know personally, including those who have never commented before.

I get statistics from an outfit called SiteMeter that I use to track visits to the blog. In three years the blog has been "hit" over 91,000 times. If you open the blog 2 or 8 or 20 times a day, each time is recorded as a visit, so "visits" or "hits" don't equate to a number of individual visitors or readers. Walt and I have set up Blogger to ignore all the many times a day we open our own or each other's blogs, so our visits don't get counted. That keeps the number down to a level that's a little more realistic than it would be otherwise.

We really need to have double-glazed windows
put in all around the house.

Right now, Living the Life in Saint-Aignan is opened about 140 times a day. The average length of time a visitor stays is about three minutes. I also can get a report showing me where visitors are located — in what city and country. There are some other statistics too, having to do with the operating systems visitors are running, the resolution of their monitors, and so on.

Blogger limits the amount of storage space on the server I can use for my blog photos. It's 1024 MB, and I've used about half of my allotted space now. That took about three years, so I figure I have another three years of blogging ahead of me.

They say a work of art is never finished, only abandoned. I'm not comparing my blog to a work of art, but abandonment really is the only way to end a blog. There is no natural conclusion, no happy or sad ending, no wrap-up.

Here's a movie of our excitement for the week:
big fat snowflakes falling at La Renaudière

By the way, our neighbors the mayor and her husband have been back nearly all week. I've seen him a couple of time but not her. I imagine her duties as mayor meant she had to hit the ground running on their return. He, J-M, said that he would be busy processing a few hundred photos from the trip and that we would be invited to some kind of get-together soon to see the photos and talk about the trip.

About the U.S. presidential election, I'll say this: I would really love to be able to vote in my native North Carolina this year. You understand. But it's been decades since I last lived there, so I'm not registered.


  1. Hi ..I have only been reading your blog for a while. I find it very interesting, love your photos. I also read Walts..both very different, but both a good read.

    So here is to the next 3 years. I started my blog January 2007, and sometimes I find it a struggle to post. I just wait for a while, to see what comes up. Off on our holidays soon, so that will be of interest I hope.

  2. So pleased to log on today and hear that you are not going to stop the blog - since we arrived here in 2005 we have really enjoyed reading your blog and gained so much info about our own area. Lovely photos and we enjoy your recipes etc etc., - never boring to us.

    Keep on blogging


    Carol - St Romain sur Cher

  3. Walt - dont worry about your 1024limit. Open a new email account once you get close to the limit, then invite yourself at the new email to become a contributor. Once you upload your first photo in the new name you will have a new Picasa acount too.

    It's a cheat, but there you go...

  4. So nice to see the resounding chorus of comments on your last post. If that many people are saying the same thing, we must all be right (grin). It's amazing to see the shift in seasons happen so quickly. One day your photos have a long, lazy summer sunshine quality and the next day, or so it seems, it's snowing. You even manage to make watching the grass grow interesting.

    Just out of curiosity, are you able to vote absentee? It's fascinating to read accounts of people spending hours waiting in line to vote just to make sure that their votes count. Regardless of one's politics, it is indeed an interesting time.


  5. Anne, I hope you enjoy your holidays. Are you coming to France?

    Carol, are you the Carol at the Maison de l'Ecluse? Did you get any quinces this year?

    Simon, thanks. I suspected you might be the sneaky type! But that's a good tip.

    Susie, no, we have not tried to register to vote in the U.S. as expatriates. My understanding is that we would have to vote in California, since that's where we lived last, and only in presidential elections. There wasn't much to motivate us to do that, since the California results are pretty predictable these days.

    Gotta run, the grass (or collard plants, in this case) are still growing and I need to get out there and keep an eye on them. LOL.

  6. We all hit dry spells in our blogging life but your photos can always fill in when words fail. I love the shots out of the window...

    Thanks for sharing...Vicar-ious experiences have to be enough for now!

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  7. Lovely pictures today. I like the misty quality of the light snow. Can't you vote as expats even without a U.S. address? I thought that was possible.

    But not to worry (I hope). There are many, many working to turn Carolina blue this year, and so far it's looking good. As of this morning, a news story said that more than half the voters had voted early.

  8. Hi Ken,

    Yes it's Carol who lives close to the Ecluse de Bray - I hadn't forgotten you with the quinces but this year we had virtually nothing on the trees. My neighbours also had the same problem but nobody really knows why! The next time we have quince you are definitely going to know about it.

    Regards, Carol


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