13 November 2013


We're off on an expedition today. North to Contres first, then to Vineuil (south edge of Blois), and on over to Mont-près-Chambord, toward the famous château. Shopping is our mission. And a just plain getting-out-of-the-house-and-neighborhood change of scenery.

My collard greens and kale finally got touched by frost a couple of mornings ago. Now the leaves are ready to be picked and cooked.

Yesterday we had that weird weather that you might call "heavy drizzle" — how's that for an oxymoron? You can't call it rain and you can't call it fog. It's mist, or drizzle, but it's soaking. We used to get that kind of rain in San Francisco, I remember. It's what I had to go out in with Callie in the afternoon. Actually, the drizzle wasn't so intense by then but the ground was mushy and the grass was slushy.

The vines in November at the top of the vineyard are red and gold. I recognize the blue car as belonging to one of the local vignerons.

Yesterday Walt went to town to pick up the chainsaw, which needed another tune-up. Dominique at Gamm'Vert got it running smoothly again, after cleaning the carburetor. The saw is 20 years old. Maybe it will last a few more years. When you think about it, the motor doesn't run for very many hours over the course of a year.

Mid-autumn reds, greens, and golds

When the weather cooperates, the vineyard is really beautiful at this time of year. It doesn't take much sunlight to make everything out there glow. Hey, I'm reaching for the positive here... At least the heavy rains have stopped.


  1. How did you make out with removing the Local Moxie thing?

  2. I got rid of it finally, after much downloading of virus removal tools — things called names like Hitman Pro and Junk Removal Tool — but after I ran four removal tools two times, taking all morning, the virus was still in control of my browser. Finally, I did what Firefox calls a reset (under troubleshooting on the Help menu) and that took care of the last traces of Local Moxie.

  3. Ken, as I grew up we used to call yesterday's weather "grizzle" or "grizzly"....
    grey and drizzly...
    one step on from "gamp"...
    grey and damp....
    which is how I still think of them!

    And it is a nasty rain, yesterday's drizzle, it goes through every layer and chills sommat rotten!!

  4. In Yorkshire we used to suffer from coastal fog when inland all was bright and sunny. Yorkshire folk call it sea fret and further North it's known as haar. Two nice words! P.

  5. Wasn't the weather you had yesterday what in French we call "crachin" [pluie très fine] seen mostly in Brittany [le crachin breton]?

  6. The colour of the sky in the last photo is the most beautiful soft pearly lavender.

    I had a conversation with one of our local nurserymen this morning at Loches market. He was trying to sell me a bare rooted tree and I told him the ground was too saturated to be planting anything at the moment. He said, yes but there won't be any dust!

  7. I wonder if Tim's "grizzle" is related to "gresil" in french
    I know it is going to seem strange but I can't wait to have this kind of weather. Warmth and sunny is wonderful, but once in a while some rain, cold and damp would be nice here.

  8. I had a beautiful Basil plant outside this year--it was lush and healthy. I forgot about it when the first light frost was forecast... the next day, it looked like droopy dead bats clinging upside down on the vine. Such a waste.

    Colorful photos :)

  9. i'm kind of wondering if you'll use some of that thick bacon with your greens? some of us farm nerds were wow'd by how beautiful the bacon was in your pic of sauerkraut saturday. thats the kind of bacon we make here on farm. keep up with the great pix of the vineyard - really enjoying them. :-)

  10. Yes, I will have bacon like that with my greens. I am thinking that in a few days I will make a French potée -- a boiled dinner -- with kale, collards, potatoes, carrots, winter squash (buttercup), and leeks, and with pork shank, smoked sausages, and slab or thick-sliced bacon, probably smoked. The weather is supposed to start turning chilly, so it is time.

  11. Ken, we had our first taste of snow yesterday morning, nothing that stuck as the ground and roads are still well above freezing. But it turned cold, dropping to -3 C. by this morning in metro Boston.

    I tried your meatballs burgundy this past weekend, and it was a hit with the family--Norma, my son Brian and his wife, and Millie, Norma's 92 year old mother. Next time, I will remember to get the leanest ground beef available.

  12. CHM, the weather reports call it 'bruine' and my dictionary says that is a synonym for 'crachin'. I don't know much about Brittany, but I sure remember 'le crachin normand'...

  13. I had forgotten about 'bruine', but c'est tout du pareil au même... LOL

  14. Hello Bob, I'm glad the Burgundian meatballs were good. The beef we get and grind ourselves is very lean. Snow this far before Thanksgiving? I noticed this morning that it was something like minus 8°C in Urbana. We haven't yet been down to freezing here in the Loire Valley.

  15. Try to "store" your chain saw for the winter or off season when you don't use it too much by emptying the gas and running it until the saw is free of gas. The gas eats away at the idle motor parts. I too have a couple of old saws and I'm sure this procedure has lengthened their life.
    Keep up with the great picture. I feel as if I am almost there walking through the vineyards.

  16. Did I understand that kale is ready after a frost? I thought that worked only with persimmons.

    Here in Southern California we call cloudy weather "June Gloom" even when it is not June. Our weather in June is many times overcast until about 10:00 a.m. and then it burns off and its all good.

  17. Richard, I try to remember to do that with my rototiller too. Good advice.

    Ms. Lemon, collard and kale leaves are sweeter, i.e. less bitter, after they have been subjected to freezing temperatures. I have been told that you can also just put the greens in the freezer for a few minutes before cooking them and get the same effect. As for the gloom, I lived in San Francisco for nearly twenty years, so I know about that phenomenon.

  18. Another handy word for that sort of weather is the Scottish "dreich" (pron. dree-kh). Apparently a survey of Scots voted it their favourite word (make of that what you will).


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