30 August 2014

Sépia et couleurs ensemble

Few words but several photos. Here are some contrasts in color and in sepia. First, the local soil, which is called terre à vignes. It's poor, as you can see. It's composed of heavy clay with a lot of chalky limestone in it.

We've struggled with the soil in our vegetable garden. We've been moderately successful in our efforts to improve it by tilling in a lot of compost every spring.

The local viticulteurs take another approach. They don't try (much) to improve the soil. They just plant a crop that thrives in it: grapes. They work under beautiful skies (sometimes) to nurture the vines.

The carpet of green that is the vineyard in August conceals uncountable bunches of plump grapes, including the ones below and thousands more.

There are of course green grapes for making white wines, and purple grapes for making red wines. Everything is ripening now and the weather seems to be improving. Vivement un beau mois de septembre.


  1. I'm glad you've put (half of) the colour back in your header. It looked so sad yesterday. It reminded me of my first sight of Saint-Aignan in 1999. It was raining that day and I didn't like the town at all, except for the Relais du Moulin where we had a memorable meal. Mais il n'y a que les idiots qui ne changent pas d'avis. Aujourd'hui j'apprécie Saint-Aignan, en partie grâce à vous :)

  2. Color is elusive in Saint-Aignan and all of the Loire Valley. Most of the year, grays and browns dominate in the landscape. The colorful days are just a limited few in spring and summer. Sure there is green in summer, but skies are not always blue. There are autumn colors, but not every year, and winter is gloomy gray.

    I first saw Saint-Aignan on Dec. 10, 2002, and recognized it immediately as a place where I could be happy to spend time. Luckily, it has worked out -- no regrets. I had visited the Loire Valley on quick trips in the early 1970s, the early 1980s, and in 1992, but usually in winter. I always liked the way French was spoken in this part of France, and I still do like hearing it spoken here. I came back in the early 2000s and spent more time, in autumn and in early summer. I loved it.

    This is an area that welcomes many tourists in certain seasons, but it's not a touristy area. Life goes on year-round, so you never feel lonely or isolated. You also never feel overwhelmmed by crowds -- even though, in our case, the Zooparc de Beauval is only 2 or three kilometers distant.

  3. Lovely photos Ken. The Loire Valley is one of my favorite places on the plant. Thank you and Walt for bringing a little bit of it into my life each day.

  4. Hi C. in Calif., the Loire Valley is about my favorite place too. The weather is what it is -- iffy. But it's in no way extreme, compared to most other places. And then there's the history, the scenery, the food, and the wine. Not to mention the slow, seasonal rhythm of life, and the absence of hustle and bustle. C'est le jardin de la France, et le berceau de la langue française.


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