16 September 2012

Bats, clouds, and grapes

When I went out early yesterday morning for my walk with Callie the collie, I stopped in front of our old garden shed and had a look at the shutters on its only window. I don't even know why it needs shutters on it, but there they are. And they really need — do you detect a theme here? — a fresh coat of paint.

I unlatched a shutter from the exterior wall so that I could move it and examine the other side, wondering whether the shutters were just too decrepit to be re-painted. As it pivoted on its hinges, I saw what I at first thought was a gigantic moth or beetle clinging to the top of the shutter.

The bat behind the shutter

Then I realized that it was a bat. A tiny bat, not more than three or four inches long. It was hanging upside-down on the shutter, spending the daylight hours in the dark up against the wall of the shed. I snapped a few pictures, but when the little bat started to move I quickly put the shutter back in its original position and left the animal alone. We see a lot of bats swooping around at dusk, but we seldom see one sitting still. I bat in French is "a bald mouse" — une chauve-souris.

There was a beautiful sky yesterday morning and I snapped a lot of pictures of the clouds. Here are two of them.

I continue examining the grapes. As Walt mentioned, a lot of the bunches out farther from our house don't look great. It seems really mixed. In a few places, and for some reason in the vines closest to us, the grapes are really beautiful. Here are a couple of pictures I took yesterday.

Not sure what these are. Gamay? Cabernet Franc? Pinot Noir?

My sources tell me that these are Grolleau grapes. Grolleau is a local blendng variety.

I've started work on another radiator that needs re-painting, and now I know I also need to paint the shutters out on the shed. And I still have several window ledges to paint.


  1. Maybe I wouldn't be so afraid of bats if I lived in a country with no rabies...
    If you get a chance show us a photo of the "not looking good grapes".

  2. Such beautiful colors in your photos today :))

    We (Elliot) found a brown bat clinging to the bottom step of our deck about two weeks ago. It never moved when he tried to poke it with a stick. It was dead... started to smell a bit. Yuck. It was finally gone after a few days and big storm. Do possums and raccoons eat already-dead things??

  3. Evelyn, I probably have some pictures of those grapes that are doing poorly. I'll try to find one, or take some tomorrow morning. And that's right, no rabies here. The dog and cat don't need rabies shots.

    Judy, according to the Wikipedia article, possums eat carrion, but raccoons don't. We don't have possums or raccoons over here (except at the zoo).

  4. You wouldn't want to have raccoons nearby- they create havoc. Back in 2009 we had a family of 7 living underneath the patio and it was not a fun time. We had new sod laid down in an area that we had just landscaped and they kept "lifting' the sod looking for grubs. Now every fall I put a bag of moth balls and another bundle of rags soaked in hot pepper oil to deter them from hibernating underneath. They are cute to look at but........

  5. Ummm, yes, I would agree with you on that new paint job for the shed!
    Lucky you now know you will be working around a bat!

    So with the grape harvest/weather/for 2012 that you've ably reported, does this mean the 2012 harvest will be one to avoid? Perhaps it is too early to tell and not necessarily in all areas of France.

    Those clouds are wanting me to pick up a paintbrush and try to recreate them!

  6. At least, you don't have bats in your belfry!!

  7. Mary, I forgot to go see whether the bat was still behind the shutter yesterday.

    As for the wine harvest, the vignerons will tell you that quantity does NOT equal quality. The are expecting a small harvest but hoping for high-quality 2012 wines (given the hot dry weather for nearly two months now).

    Starman, I don't even have a belfry!

    Beaver, I know about raccoons. And squirrels. And skunks. We are just as well off without any of them here in France.

  8. The bat was still behind the shutter this morning. He's tiny — smaller than I remembered. About 1½ to 2 inches from head to tail.


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