Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red wine harvest II

All week the neighbours continued harvesting the red malbec grapes - thanks to the marvellous weather.
Midweek however something strange happened : all of a sudden some of the winemakers stopped harvesting.
Asked for the reason they told me that because of the weather forecasts for the next week - temperatures between 29° and 31° - they still hope to get a bit more maturity in the grapes.

In the meantime - together with some guests - I gave the neigbours a little help.
Yesterday we went to Château Fages and helped them harvesting their top red wine à la main.

Some impressions of this day. Thx to Toni & Rita for the pictures.

Of course afterwards we were well taken care of : a superb experience for our guests - and of course also for me.

Have a nice wine.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Red grapes and small animal wild life

As I told you last week the red grape harvest started, beginning with the grapes that are used for the rosé wine and the vin de table, here often called ségalin.

Aren't they nice?

So all week the same scenario: harvest machines from morning till dawn.

The more so as they also started the harvesting of the sunflowers.

Therefore there was a lot of time to pay more attention than usual to the small wild animal life around the house.

Some nice impressions: a baby lizard, an evening cricket, a bee and a toad.

The last one, the toad, who pays me a visit almost every night, is called George - don't ask me why.

Thx to Gunter & Marleen for the photos.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wine harvest, open season and ... give names

Two season "premières" this week that come back every year :

Thanks to the very favorable weather during this year's spring the wine harvest started on the very first day of September - it has never been so early.
For the moment the white wines have already been harvested, such as Chardonnay, Sémillon and Viognier.

Also the red wine harvest will be much earlier this year than usual. The beginning of the AOC malbec harvest is set tomorrow already, the 12th of september.

This morning while getting some croissants I noticed the first men at arms in the valley. I must admit - as I am no hunter at all - that I had completely forgotten about them.
Afterwards I read in the press that this morning the hunting season was opened in the Midi-Pyrenees.
The open season will last until the 29th of February 2012.

To continue on a positive note: Also next week the weather will be marvellous, so our neighbours winemakers will be very happy :

And to end humoristically :
We've been cooking for more than two months now and you know what is very difficult: to give names to the menus and different dishes.

See for yourselves.

Thx to Loïc for that.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tomatoes, cats and ... birds

It was a tomato week. As we are always late with planting our tomatoes they are only ripening as they should right now. Here the harvest of one day :

The seven varieties are (from left to right): Roma, yellow pearshaped cherry tomato, thai pink egg tomato, noire de Crimée, coeur de boeuf, red cherry tomato and green zebra.

So all day we are making a lot of tomato soup, (spaghetti) sauses and tried even to make our own ketchup for the home cocktail sause. Not that bad.

This week Chiara and Marcello discovered the pleasure of climbing the trees and chasing birds together.

Such a joy to see. Especially Marcello whose special pleasure consists in jumping on the trunk and hanging there midway.

Nevertheless, all their activities outdoors couldn't prevent a strange bird from landing in our porch at the front door : a huîtrier variable (Haematopus unicolor - Variable Oystercatcher), called Le Vertige (meaning Vertigo, dizziness).
We kind of like him already. Artist: Geneviève Caplet.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week of extremes - fauna of birds - some new French expressions

It was a week of summerly extremes:
on Sunday and Monday 38 to 40 °, sun burning, on Friday 20 °, rain pouring.

Even for cats the week-end was way too warm: Chiara was searching for shadow under the deck chairs at the swimming pool - me a little late there for the picture - and under the terrace table, whereas little Marcello preferred to stay inside.

I don't know why but this year we see a lot more birds (of prey) than other years.
Here is a short schematic survey of them (thx to Kwinten):

1. l'aigle royal (Aquila chrysaetos - Golden Eagle)
2. la buse variable (Buteo buteo - Common Buzzard)
3. le circaete Jean-le-blanc (Circaetus gallicus - Short-toed Snake-eagle)
4. l'épervier d'Europe (Accipiter nisus - Eurasian Sparrowhawk)
5. le faucon crécerelle (Falco tinnunculus - Common Kestrel)
6. le faucon pèlerin (Falco peregrinus - Peregrine Falcon)
7. le gypaète barbu (Gypaetus barbatus - Bearded Vulture)
8. le milan noir (Milvus migrans - Black Kite)
9. le vautour percnoptère (Neophron percnopterus - Egyptian Vulture)
10. le vautour fauve (Gyps fulvus - Griffon Vulture)

A lovely site to know more about them and see them in real: Les oiseaux du monde. Just click on the links above.

Also seen here for the first time in our garden two beautiful birds : the Eurasian Hoopoe (upupa epops, fr. huppet fascié) and the Eurasian Jay (garrulus glandarius, fr. geai des chênes).

To finish today: again two French expressions. Many thanks to Céline.

Ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canard : to be more or less mediocre, having nothing extraordinary.

Il a le cul bordé de nouilles : he is very fortunate.

Two "philosphical" questions here : is it better with sause or without? And when yes to the former, which sause?

Don't think too long on these and have a nice week-end.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Figeac, the Prayssac monkey & varia

Up to now one of the best loved places by our visitors is Figeac, the city of Champollion, the decipherer of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, known for the Rosetta stone.

Some impressions :

The best loved dessert this summer so far: tarte aux pruneaux d'Agen, trempés dans du thé noir, à sa mousse.

As Ine seems to say: yami yami miam miam.

We all know the gnome mania in some gardens but as can be seen in Prayssac nowadays this phenomenon could be over: the gnomes are being taken over by the monkeys.

To be continued.

Some nice notes on buildings:
the first one excells in coherence (sic!) and the second is a good try to sell more.

And to finish with the best quote of the week, out of the mouth of a little girl, called Juliette:

Says she to her dad:

"Les vacances c'est pour se baigner, parce qu'il n'y a pas de piscine au travail."

Who could have said it better? Very logical indeed and wonderfully found if you want to stay at the bed & breakfast and swim all day whereas your parents want to take you away to visit some places you don't want to see.

Thx to Kwinten & Co and Dominique & Loic for the pictures.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

French words and trouvailles

One of my best friends, Céline ("CJ"), adores to use the following expression nowadays, coming from popular speech:
On n'a pas le cul sorti des ronces.

Meaning: we're still in a very bad situation / position.
And indeed the situation is not comfortable at all if you know what ronces means in French: wild brambles.

For bedaine, another word we published in this blog, we found a very good illustration:

But the curiousest thing we saw this week was the following message on a closed store: réouvrira quand réouvrira.
What a wise thing to know !

Thx to Roel & Brit and Lieven & Barbara for the pictures.

Have a nice sunday from summerly Prayssac.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

En attendant ... : chat massage

En attendant il sole some new photos of our two cats, Chiara and Marcello, living now peacefully together :
lying one besides the other on the rocking chair, cleaning each other and ... giving each other a foot massage : just lovely.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Intermezzo : a goose story : on the road

A quiet and lazy goose afternoon in the Lot - honking at the pool.

But all of a sudden:
Where's that noise coming from?
What the hell is goin' on here?
Who dares disturb us?

Let's have a look.

Who's this strange intruder?

Well, well, well, if that isn't a ...

... oh marvellous, what a beauty !!

Just click on the picture and see for yourself.

Thx to Vickie.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer nature impressions

Lovely pictures from the nature at and around mas de l'houvande :

two kites (French: milan noir) flying together,

bees ...

sunflowers ...

... the litte owl that stayed around the house after his saving last week.

Thx to Klaas & Riet.