25 March 2009

The state of the vines and the weather

Okay, 3.6ºC this morning: high 30s F. Brrrr. And gray, with rain threatening, and predicted. Time to think of other things. There's still garden work to be done — isn't there always? — but it will have to wait for a week or so, if the MétéoFrance forecasts are to be believed.


We will have our memories of a fine month of March, no matter what. And these pictures, all from yesterday or the day before. Maybe the nice weather will come back when March ends.

Grapevine canes all tied to the wires that support them

So it's time to hunker down again. And cook. Blanquette de veau, that old standard, tomorrow. Did you know that blanquette is the favorite meal of more French people than any other?

Trees along the south side of the vineyard

Yesterday we took a drive over to Loches. The Leclerc hypermarket had cold frames on sale, and we bought two of them. That way we can get some plants started even before the weather warms up. Radishes, for example. Or mustard greens. Those are a couple of our ideas.

A neat and kind of barren landscape for now

The vineyard owners and workers have been racing to get everything trimmed, tied down, and cleaned up before this next stretch of damp weather moves in (any minute now, they say). So the vines and vineyard plots are tidy in a kind of barren way, waiting for the explosion of green that is bound to come in April and May.

Looking over the vines toward the hamlet

President Sarkozy gave a speech about the economic crisis yesterday. I just heard snippets of it, but in one excerpt he seemed to be saying that he wasn't going to pay attention to all the demonstrators who turned out last week. Instead, he will focus on the famous « majorité silencieuse » — Richard Nixon's Silent Majority, for Pete's sake.

Getting the dead wood out

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


  1. Re: gardening. Don't they have greenhouses in France? Cold frames sound like such hard work - all that bending down and sliding tops on and off.
    Re: food. Blanquette de veau - a French comfort food perhaps?

  2. More bramble digging for me and great mourning for the loss of the lovely passion flower, (which mormally grow like weeds) that didn't survive the winter.


  3. Anonymous: not everyone wants the trouble of erecting and maintaining a proper greenhouse - a coldframe nicely fits the bill for salad greens and other low-growing plants.

  4. We've talked about and looked at a greenhouse. But it's a much bigger investment than a couple of cold frames. We'll see how this works before investing in something bigger.

  5. Oh, and re: comfort foods. I guess this is a kind of security blanquette for French people.

    Is a comfort food something you are supposed to feel guilty about eating? I'm not sure that the term means the same thing to everybody.

  6. "security blanquette" heh heh heh :))


  7. My understanding of comfort food is something warm, tasty and very familiar, often childhood or simple nursery food. Eg shepherds pie, rice pudding, beef stew. It can also mean luxury food eg chocolate, but rarely too exotic. The sort of food one turns to when the weather gets bad or your football team has been knocked out of the championship.

  8. The silent majority rears its head again and has apparently traveled. Everything old is new again...

  9. Anonymous, my preference is to have comfort food every day of the year. For example, a big bowl of collard greens. Or a nice serving of blanquette de veau.

    Ginny, isn't it amazing? Politicians who speak for people who don't express themselves -- what is that about? How do such politicians know what those people want them to do?

  10. It's been months since I've dropped by your blog . Am so glad it's still here . I wish I can do it more often. On my to-do list when I retire -- read your blog every day --- better yet, visit France ... Cheers!! Don't go away !


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