16 January 2011

Better weather

We seem to be having a few days of clear weather right now. By clear, I mean not raining, with a few rays of sunshine in the afternoon. In fact, it's sunny this Sunday morning, but there's a layer of fog right at ground level.

Gray skies over the Renaudière vineyard yesterday morning —
our house and hamlet are in the far distance.

Yesterday morning there was some blue sky too, so I took my camera out with me on the walk with Callie. As soon as I got a few hundred meters from the house out on the gravel road through the vineyard, a thick layer of gray clouds rolled in and completely blocked out the sun.

Sunrise over the vines, 15 January 2011

I cut the walk short because there was a chilly wind blowing and it felt like it might start raining at any moment. It didn't rain, however, and the sun came out in the afternoon. A friend came over for apéros in the evening and we went outside with her dog and Callie. We marveled at how mild it was for a mid-January evening.

A closer view of the hamelt called La Renaudière,
near Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher in the Loire Valley region

Walt just came back from the walk this morning and reported that there are about a dozen hunters out in the vineyard. They are having what is called une battue — an organized hunt. They "beat the bushes" to flush out the game. The hunters are after roe deer — the small European deer called chevreuils (Capreolus capreolus) in French. There are a lot of them around here, and it's a reality that the populations need to be kept under control. Chevreuil meat — venison, or venaison de chevreuil — is also good to eat.

Moles, unlike gophers (which we don't have in France), eat
only grubs, bugs, and worms, not the roots of plants.

Now that the weather is nicer, I'm going to have to force myself to go outdoors and do some cleanup work around the yard. There are leaves to rake, bushes to trim, and mole hills to tamp down. The moles have been having a field day in one particular section of the yard. The landscape out there resembles a range of mini-volcanoes. There are more mole hills every day.


  1. That sunrise over the vines is so beautiful it almost looks like a painting! I saved it as my desktop background.

  2. Well, Bertie, better get to
    work on those moles.

  3. Thanks, Rick, for telling me. Enjoy the picture. It was a very pretty sunrise.

    Sheila, Walt took Bertie out a couple of days ago and showed him the molehills -- stuck his nose in one or two. We'll see. Meanwhile, a few days ago Callie got interested. She sniffed and sniffed and then started digging wildly into one of the hills. The mole must have been right there, making noise and/or smells.

  4. The vineyard soil looks as boggy as ours at the moment! [or is that frost?] Second picture is great... as Rick says.
    As for moles.... don't forget that there is such a thing as mole-seed. It blows in the wind and takes root wherever it lands.... surely this is the only explanation for mole hills on roundabouts!

  5. If you 'planted' a bunch of grubs in your garden area, you'd never have to till soil.

  6. No Tim, that is not frost, just standing water. It is boggy out there.

    Starman, we have enough moles and mole hills around the vegetable garden without puting any grubs or worms out there. Nature takes its course.


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