Monday, December 31, 2018

DECEMBER 2018 Final

  December 2018 

This is the end. I have had a long run, and I enjoyed doing the Blog. But as I have become more active in my hobbies, it was harder and harder to do my Blog. Sometimes it was more of a chore. 
Note that there is a search on the Blog and it will be out there if you want to look for something. Also, maybe I will post now and again, but not monthly.

Onto the month of December. We took our annual trip to Colmar and Eguisheim ( in the Alsace) for a Christmas lift, Alsacien  food and wine. Here are some photos from Colmar and the Christmas market
This is a beer merry-go-round!

Interesting building

Great decorations

Christmas market booths

The Alsace and storks

Pretty tree

Shops are decorated too
What treats, fruits , nuts and candy

Speaking of candy, this place sells nougat.
He is cutting a slice for  Keith
More Nouget...mmmm chocolat
After buying lots of treats we went up to Eguisheim. We went to our favorite winery to taste their wine, talk and catch up and buy some to take home. We checked on a resturant, made reservations and relaxed until dinner time. I tried to take a few night photos of the small Christmas market at Eguisheim.
Christmas market booth

Need a wreath?

One with delightful goodies to eat

Night time decorations
We had a wonderful dinner. The special of the night was Baeckeoffe , made with game (gibier).Traditional Baeckeoffe is made with layers of potatoes and the meat is ham, beef and lamb. In the morning we bought some sausage and knacks for Keith's Friday night dinner ( I love sausage, but sort of gave up on that much grease, sometimes a bite, but not too much).
 I took a few photos in the morning before we left. Eguisheim is a  beautiful village, a place to visit.
Storks nest in the Alsace for the summer. Baskets are placed
on high places to attract the storks. One nest not planned
on top of the church

Church stork nest. Winter and no bird in the nest

Place in the village with a statue of Pope Leo IX. born in

Mushroom deco
We left Eguisheim and started for home. Suddenly the screen flashed a notice that our tires were low.
We checked three times stopping at stations, and no loss of pressure. Once home and at the garage, it was nothing., loose connection!!!
Photo as we left the mountains Vosgues.
Not much snow, I do not think there was much skiing in December!
I did put up a few decorations for the season. I just pulled out the tiny tree, but one member of the family was happy with it.

We spent a nice Christmas with MT , Christian and family.  Always a nice Christmas day spent wit the french "family" talking and enjoying the day.

That sums up December. It has been cloudy, hazy, foggy and rainy for the month.

Why do we live here? Hard to explain, but the french Republic is based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. We find that the fraternity is important and interesting.

Family, food, wine and life are important. It is part of the "belle vie"-good life. I often write about food, but it so much a part of the french culture, it is a subject every one has in common. The idea of "break bread" with friends. We have had dinners with friends that have lasted five or six hours. 

We enjoy it immensely and still find new things to explore . History is extraordinary. Here you can find a cheese place that has been in the family for 400 years, or wine too. Place and building 400 and more years old. Churches 1000 years old, and ruins even older. Love to find these details.

I continue with the photo club, poterie and the Assoc for history. I am still working at photographs of the 16 villages.

Keith is working too for the decorations for Saint Vincent 2020, he still builds a few things here and there, and as always, he loves to ride his bike. A few neighbors have started riding together, going once a week, but this month has been difficult.
Keith went for a ride today hoping it would not rain, but when he saw rain coming , he turned around and headed for home. He ran into a vigneron we know, and stopped to say hello. They went into the celler and shared a 1992 Grand Cru.
It is a life we are enjoying.

Another note, you may wonder about the Gilet Jaunes (yellow vests) that have been in the news. As services have been shut down in the small villages and costs have risen, the rural population is angry. They have some real issues, gas prices rising, but rail service and bus service does not exist. So what choices do they have. Problem, no one voice and not really organized. Many are upset, but many have different issues. Not usre where it will go. Danger is the far extreme right woos them with promises! So far as a group they have resisted political involvement. Infortunatley, there has also been destruction, and 6 have died. Will it die out, will a political group absorbe them for better or worse, or will it continue as a revolution?
Also here in Europe, Brexit is a huge issue with the date of March 29th getting ever closer.

Now it is your turn to send a note every once in a while.

Recipe of the Month
 This is a recipe I found in english and the site has photos.
if done right, the juice should be absorbed. It is a stew, of course made with Alsacien wine. Sometimes plain food is the best food.


I have posted other recipes from Alsace.(use search)

Bon Appetit

20 mins
4 hrs
Temps total
1 d
AuteurSandra Pascual
  • 3.3 lb of meat 1.5 kg, 3 meats to choose (often beef, lamb and pork)
  • 3.3 lb potatoes 1.5 kg
  • 1 large leek or 2 small
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 bottle of white wine-dry
  • 1 bouquet garni (parsley thyme, bay)
  • 1 Tbsp. juniper berries
  • 1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
  • salt
To close the pot
  • 4 1/2 g cups flour 400
  • 1 cl cup water 25
  1. Cut the meat into cubes of about 1 inch and place them in a bowl.
  2. Cut the leek into quarters lengthways, clean it well and then slice it into pieces. Peel the carrots and cut them into slices. Add the vegetables to the bowl.
  3. Salt, add the bouquet garni, juniper berries and peppercorns. Drizzle white wine, mix well then cover and marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
  4. Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin slices. Peel the onion, cut it in half and then chop finely. Mix the potatoes slices and onions, salt and pepper.
  5. Grease the pot and fill with 1/3 of the mixture of potatoes / onions. Using a slotted spoon, draw half the meat and vegetables and place them on top.
  6. Add half of the remaining potatoes mixture and the rest of meats and vegetables. Baste with marinade, making sure to remove the bouquet garni. Finish with a layer of potato.
  7. Mix flour and water to obtain an elastic dough. Form a roll and place it around the edge of your pot. Place the lid and seal with the dought.
  8. Bake for 3,5 to 4 hours at 350°F / 180 ° C, cold start.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

NOV 2018

November 2018

Since my next and last Blog will be at the end of December, I will say Merry Christmas now:

Merry Christmas

 Christmas has broken out, but I just not ready yet! I will get there, and on time.
The weather at this time of year is mostly fog. Some days of drizzle, other days of just fog or haze, and then the rare moment of sun. I was going to take a morning photo,but by 10am; the fog actually lifted, then the grey clouds came. And so is winter here. Today it was 4° low and 10° high, celsius!

On the 11 of November, Gevrey, as all over France, commemorated the 100 anniversary of the end of the war. On the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the 11 hour the agreement to end the war was signed. The 11 of Nov is stilled called Armistice Day and it is a holiday (this year however it was on a Sunday, so no work day off).
 Each year on the 11th, there is a ceremony at the Monument aux Morts and a couple students read their essay about the war. It is lesson no one should forget. It is not a celebration, it is a remembrance. I took photos at the ceremony and also included some photos of the  exposition that my Association had set up.
A little grey and wet, but no rain during the ceremony.
 Band and childrens chorale group under the tent. 
This was set on the stage

For France: 1,4 million died, 3,6 million injured
Let's not forget
There were about 38 panels of information
I forgot to note that one person in Gevrey found photos her grandfather had taken during the war. He had an American Kodak camera and took photos in the trenches and of the villages the soldiers passed through. He had a small notebook and numbered and noted each photo with information. We had 68 of these photos on display.

Onto other subjects. The association is also involved with the chateau in Gevrey. It was sold some years ago to a Chinese man who was interested in the restoration of the chateau. Our group was interested in the documentation of this and wanted to have a book done about the chateau. As things moved slowly over the last couple of years, both the restoration has stepped up and so has the idea of a book we have wanted. We met with the architects and the historians, and the archaeologists who will be contributing chapters to the book a few weeks ago. It was a kickoff meeting with a tour of the chateau. The interesting part, as they start to renovate, changes made century by century become obvious. The question is what level to restore it to. The chateau started in the XIII century with significant changes in the XV and XVIII. It was a chateau fort.  Here are some photos of the outside of the chateau.
Large tower on the right is XIII century

Small tower

I find this project to be fascinating. which

Early this month, I met a cousin of my from my maternal grandmother's side of the family. Through the Commeree family, we are second cousins. We went up to Margilley (mar gee ee) is a little over an hour from Dijon (if you get on the right road)!!  Nicolas Comirey was born there in 1702, and he was transported to Canada 1732. He was sent to Canada because he was a salt smuggler. During the period there were huge taxes on certain items, such as salt. He could get salt at a low cost and would smuggle it into a region with the high tax. Many smugglers were hanged, so I guess we are fortunate that our ancestor was sent to Canada. 
It has been a wonderful year for family. A  trip to the USA in April/May to see sister and nieces, a niece in Paris in June, a cousin and husband in Paris in September and a cousin in Dijon this November.
Church of Margilley where it all started 1702
I have been working on photos for the May 2019 exposition that has the theme "Reflets" (reflections).
More on that next month.
I may need to have photos for a small exposition, an honor given to winners of last years expo. Here are some that I am considering. Have not finished looking at photos, and no decisions until much later. Some black and 
white work (or colorized), and some color photos too
Stairs to ?

Twisted trees





Not sure how many I need, so still playing around with photos and ideas.

Here is a very fun Christmas ad here for a telephone company. You really do not need to know french to watch. Check it out, you will like it, and let me know if you watch it 😃
CLEVER AD :  CHRISTMAS AD     It will start with another ad, you can see the SKIP on the right. This one starts when you see DROLE PUB (funny ad)

Recipe of the Month

This is a a "sauce" to put on potatoes, much like sour cream with chives. It comes from Alsace. it is rich and not something I make often, but so good on a winters night.

Here is the recipe for 4 persons

  • 500 gr de fromage blanc à 40 % + 200 gr de crème fraîche épaisse
  • 1 kg de pommes de terre fermes type Roseval ou Charlotte
  • 2 échalotes ou 1 oignon
  • 1/4 de gousse d’ail
  • ciboulette
  • sel et poivre
OK, in english
  • 700 grams of sour cream (about 25 ounces. Recipe calls for fromage blanc and creme fraiche, ingredients you may not be able to find, so I just listed sour cream)
  • 1 kilo of potatoes (2.2 pounds)
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 1/4 clove of garlic
  • chives
  • salt and pepper

I like to make it the day before, for the flavors mix better .

Chop garlic and shallots, Cut the chives very fine.
Add all to sour cream and mix well
Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the potatoes (over, under, slathered with...).

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Octobre 2018

Happy Halloween

We finally have rain  and we had some snow on the 30th!! We sort of went from summer to winter without a fall in between. There were a couple of cooler days and I had started some of the work in the yard. I mowed the now dead weeds (even they had died with the lack of rain-finally). I tilled the garden, and cut back some of the plants. But, not really finished. Thought I had another couple of weeks before it would get wet and cold. Sometimes you loose when you gamble!

Went for a walk early in the month... having trouble syncing schedules with MT for walks.
Out with the dogs, Dolce and Flipper

Dried flowers overlooking the gorge

Dogs and played with lighting a little
One day I went into the vineyard to work on the camera obscura. As I explained last time, there is not lens on the camera, so no setting for F-stop, no settings for distance, nothing! All you have is a very small hole.
There is a very small hole in the middle of the white
circle. This is not a lens, it is just the cover to
the camera body. Using this cover or cap, one can
make a pinhole camera
Now for photos of the vines

DId some pinhole photos of this maisonette. Posted one below

Wall and maisonette
same wall looking the other way- black and white

Leftover grapes after the harvest

Looking towards the cemetery
Pinhole...remember, no focus or auto focus possible
I added some vignette around the edges
We had one exposition this month. It has been 100 years since the end of WWI. Our association did some panels on Women in the War. There was a man with an extraordinary collection of military artifacts. I have of picture of some of the men in uniform!
Do you know who is who?
Gevrey is having an exposition the week of November 11. Lots of work to do yet!

Like the small doors in the walls here!
This last weekend a friend that Keith had worked with on bike tours stopped by.
On Saturday we went to Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Fête du Bouru. Bouru is grape juice that has started to ferment, so very slightly alcoholic. It was possible to taste wine from different winemakers and lots of good things to eat also. We bought some chocolate from a Monsieur who won the competition for the best in the world! Oh it was good.

pretty chocolate too, an soooooo good
Only 9 pieces 😥

World Champion
Not a lot to add to this months blog. Maybe I am getting boring or everything is very normal and I do not call it out as something to tell you about.
Should add that Keith has had a bad foot for a couple days. The x-ray did not show any fractures, but probably a good case for arthritis. Ah getting old.

Recipe of the Month
Ganache au Chocolat
It is used to cover cakes and to make candy such as Truffles. There are many variations, so look up some and try them.

  • 20 cl of fresh cream
  • 200 g of pastry chocolate

  1. Bring the cream to the boil and pour over the broken chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Cover and let it wait for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir vigorously with a whisk to obtain a smooth preparation.
  4. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. This ganache is simple:put in a baked pie crust and then refrigerate for a chocolate pie.
  6. Chocolate lovers can also enjoy it alone with a little custard or topped with melted white chocolate.