26 September 2010

Winding down

Fall 2010. That's what has happened to our weather. It's almost cold in the house this morning, and we don't have working central heat yet. There's no water in the boiler, and therefore no steam in the radiators. The temperature outside is 7ºC, or about 45ºF, with a bright blue sky and a big moon.

En théorie, the heating contractor will come back this week and get everything going. Most of the radiators are hooked up, and it's just a matter of refilling everything, checking for leaks, and bleeding the air out of the radiators. We already had the boiler maintenance man in last week to replace a part — the expansion tank — so that the heating system will work properly. And we ordered and took delivery of 2000 liters — 500 gallons — of fuel oil.

The back gate — did I mention the hedge that needs trimming?

We also had a roofer/chimney sweep in last week to clean out the wood stove and the chimney. That maintenance is required by insurance every year. The man also went up on the roof and cleaned out the valley between the dormer window over the kitchen and the main roof, to try to prevent the kinds of leaks we had in June 2007 and again this past July. We may end up having to have that part of the roof rebuilt.

The last gasp of the 2010 sunflowers and nasturtiums

That's what it's like getting the house ready for winter. Soon, we'll need to start bringing potted plants inside to protect them from frost. And we'll need to clean up the vegetable garden by harvesting the rest of the tomatoes, eggplant, corn, and peppers. If the weather doesn't go too wet, I'll run the tiller through the garden plots again. I'm still hoping for some warm, dry days before the dreary rains set in around the first of November.

Autumnal skies, yesterday afternoon

Then we'll be ready to deal with the falling leaves. We rake up most of them and spread them over the vegetable garden plots to keep the weeds down. And then they'll get tilled into the soil early next spring. It doesn't get cold enough here in Saint-Aignan to stop grass and weeds from growing over the garden plots in wintertime, unless you put down tarps or a layer of dead leaves.

Working on tomatoes yesterday morning

We have a lot of wood to cut too. Walt has started on the woodpile out front, cutting the long logs into shorter sections that will fit into our wood-burning stove. In addition, there are at least three trees out back — including one mostly dead apple tree and two plum trees that blew over in last winter's storms — that all need to be sawed up and stacked as firewood for coming winters.

The sauce pot

Meanwhile, the tomatoes keep coming. I trimmed, cored, and sliced three or four dozen Roma tomatoes yesterday and put them in a big pot with wine, onions, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic to make sauce. We'll have to pack all that up for freezing, or put it in canning jars, today or tomorrow.

I'm almost looking forward to winter, when we can relax and just enjoy cooking, eating, reading, and waiting for springtime to arrive.


  1. What a lovely post and what a great life you have in St-Aignan. The new header photo is lovely, too.

  2. Ditto to Jean's comments. Lovely pics as always.
    While you are about to wrap on scarves and winter coats, I've just enjoyed the start of spring. http://melbourneourhome.blogspot.com/2010/09/when-siren-sounded.html
    Having said that, we will enjoy your winter blogs in contrast to what we are having in OZ.

  3. love the new banner pic of your house....we r finally getting a break from 90+ temps and today only in the 70s.....whew, its been a hot month...and dry (but i'll prob get rain for the 2 wks i'm in paris in oct...lol)

  4. Like your new banner. But what happened to the so-called basement? A quake? A sinkhole?

  5. Once again I was too fast and my initials didn't record. Sorry!

  6. Bonjour CHM, non, pas de tremblement de terre à Saint-Aignan, ni d'effondrement de terrain. C'est le flou artistique du photographe qui te met sur la mauvaise piste !

    Tout va bien ici ; là-bas aussi j'espère.

    Melinda, it's good that we are having the cool, gray, damp weather now. October might turn out to be warm and dry. I hope so -- for you and for us.

    Hi Leon and Sue, I'm wondering if you had a typical winter. We had a good summer, which I would be grateful to have last a little longer, but I'm ready for a change. I'm already wearing a coat on my morning walks with the dog.

  7. I agree with Judeet, love the new banner. Your house looks great.

    Fall is my favorite time of year. Les tournesols sont really beautiful avec the orange, rust and yellow petals. Love the cloudy sky pic as well. :-)

  8. The house looks so pretty in the banner.....enjoy the cool weather, we are still in the 100+

  9. Agree that the new banner photo is gorgeous. I was wondering how you managed to get that angle, making the living room look like it is on ground level. Cool!

  10. Lynn, 100+ degrees F is just unimaginable. Remember the weather we had in mid-June, when you and your family were here? That's like the weather here now.

    Cheryl. I just took the picture from M. and B.'s yard across the street, which is at a lower elevation. So you don't see the ground level of our house. What looks like the second floor (1er étage) is actually the third (2eme étage).

    Diogenes, and Judy, yes, the house is pretty nice, really. The woman who sold it to us called it "un havre de paix dans un océan de verdure." She was right.

  11. Greetings from Sault Ste Marie, MI- it's chilly up here, too! But fun.

    Love the new banner and the banter about said banner;)

  12. What an idyllic home and garden area. The grapes with their rosey hue look fabulous. Les tomates, les tournesols et ce qui je vraiment aime, ce sont les nuages dans le ciel!


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