Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 2016

Wild Morning Glory
September 2016

I will start with my usual weather report. September started hot, in the 90's. Then suddenly it was fall, days 60 to 70 and cool nights.
Still unusually dry, just 2 days with some rain. Obviously, no mushrooms so far with the extreme dry spell we have had.

And of course the days are shorter. Sun sets here with the cote in the west at about 7:15pm.

The 3rd of September, the History, Heritage and Genealogy association (I am a member)  had an outing. Part one, the canal called Cent-Fonts (100 springs), and part two a tour of the abbey Citeaux. A little history about this. The abbey of Citeuax is a few miles from Gevrey. It was established 1098 (monks are known as cistersians or trappists). Then at the start of the 13th century they needed water, so they built a canal to transport water from Fénay to the abbey. The canal is 11km long. Work started 1212 and was finished in 1221. In the village of Noiron-sous-Gevrey, the canal passes over the stream Chairon.

The hiking group started in Noiron-sous-Gevrey at the bridge (the bridge is called Pont des Arvaux), ready to hike the 9km to the abbey. It was a little warm, very sunny day, but the morning was cool.
Water passes in the canal above, Pont des Arvaux 
On top of the bridge

The canal a little further down stream
Then of course there were flowers 
Cardère sauvage (Dipsacus fullonum L.)

beautiful path next to the canal

Still a few km to go!
Hops- how did this get there?

Laitue vivace (Lactuca perennis L.)

Crételle des prés ( Cynosurus cristatus L.)

Centaurée scabieuse (Centaurea scabiosa L)
Saponaire officinale ( Saponaria officinalis L.)
Used as soap
Eupatoire à feuilles de chanvre (Eupatorium cannabinum L)

When everyone arrived at the abbey, we had a picnic. As usual, there was too much food. Everyone brought a lunch and also had food to share.I had my egg, tomato and cheese. Due to the generousity of others, I also ate cold zucchini terrine (excelent), wonderful cheese tart(wow), prune tart and a little white wine from Gevrey (family private stock), mmmm just a little full.

A step into history, we took the tour at 14:30. There are only two old buildings remaining. The tour is mostly verbal history of the abbey over 900 plus years. The abbey still functions as an abbey and is also famous for its cheese. Have to live here to be get the cheese!
The library is one of the older building still that existing.
old library and scriptorium

old library and scriptorium
Work in progress

Upper level

Example of the monks work- person picking grapes

library et scriptorium
The down side of the day, I lost my small camera. I turned around on the canal walk at about the half-way point to retrace my steps. I did not find it. I was picked up back at Noiron to go to Citeaux for the picnic. I went back with a couple of people on Sunday (next day), and still no camera.  The camera started to have a few problems, and it had a dead battery. Zut alors, I have to buy a new camera ;-).

Because of the extreme heat, Keith and I had not gone out on a picnic all summer. So I threw some things into a bag and off we went. We went over to Saint Roman. Pretty village built into the hillside. Of course, I took a couple photos.
Walked out to the Cross and belle vue

Belle vue from the point
Picnic near Rocheport
Pull in and park, a still at the stone table (Keith is at the table)
Vines near to the picnic area (grapes not so good)
View from picnic area
Just down the road from our picnic was a view of the
chateau Rochepot...beautiful roof

Keith had a thought to search for a old village from the XIV century.  The name of the village was Dracy. It is known that it was deserted by 1420.
Took a while to get there, a very narrow dirt road goes up the hill and then runs along the hillside. Whew!! It was hot by this time.
There is a sign there about the village and the archaeology study and location of the buildings. The place is now very overgrown.
Not a lot left here, more all covered in forest growth

Then as is habit (comme habitude) got a walI went for a walk with MT. We went to Mont Myon, to a field that we visit every so often,  and it was full of fall flowers and butterflies.
Gentiane d'Allemagne (Gentianella germanica)

beautiful butterfly "Paon du Jour"

Looking toward Villars les Fontaine

Taking photos and dog waiting

Grasshopper (maybe Grande Sauterelle Verte-femelle)

Flipper happy in the woods

light through the trees

although very dry, found these mushrooms
Only ones!!!

Then on Wed the 28th, the Reserve Naturale de la Combe Lavaux organized a hike on Montfée by the village Semezanges. It was a great hike through the forest and ferns. Mostly information about the forest and prairie and difference. Great hike
Sun in the forest- beautiful light

Tree is very vrey tall and the branches are twisted


The forest was cut away for the electric line, and this jungle
of ferns has taken over. A little further along it was shoulder high!

As for Keith, he took off to climb a couple mountains in the Alps. Just a two and 1/2 day trip, before the snow starts. He is filling up his cards (brevet) of France. One visits a region (by cycling of course) and get stamps from specific villages of the region, and when full, send it in the to the national federation of cycling. He gets a small medal for each brevet completed.

Keith just noted that the Tour de France is going through Nuits Saint-Georges next summer. Wow!

Recipe of the Month

SQUASH AND APPLES SOUP (or sweet potato and apple soup)

I looked at a lot of recipes, and then put my recipe together. I thought it was great. Keith thought a little bland. It is pureed, so very smooth. 
I ate it cold the next day, and all the flavors were there, more so than when it was hot. 
I think it is worth a try, and like it or not, Keith is going to get it again. It is a easy soup to change and create your own version. So think of the flavors you want and give it a try.
I really like it, and will make it again. I did not go for a strong sweet taste. It is up to you, I have added notes (ideas) below.


  • 400 grams (14-15 ounces) of butternut squash-peeled and cubed ( or for sweeter taste use sweet potato)
  • 1 apple ( I used gala, many recipes use Granny Smith-not my favorite)peeled and cubed
  • 1 leek- use white end cut in small circles
  • 1 small onion-chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 regular size potato ( or if using squash, maybe a sweet potato here?)-peeled and cubed Note, the potato also thickens the soup to a nice texture. Cream is not necessary, but if you want add some cream at the end of the process-but not much
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (sweeter if you add all apple juice and no chicken broth-less apple flavor if only use chicken broth- I would recommend some apple juice)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 inch of ginger-chopped ( add more if you want a strong ginger flavor)
  • salt and pepper

  1. Melt butter in pan and add onion and leek and saute until translucent.
  2. Add ginger and stir about one minute
  3. Add sqaush, carrot, potato and apple
  4. Add juice and broth
  5. Simmer until vegetables are cooked through
  6. TASTE- add salt and pepper and any other adjustments
  7. Put in blender, about 3 or 4 batches (never fill a blender with hot food)
Done, serve warm or cold. maybe add a little blue cheese crumbled on top when serving?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Août 2016

August 2016

August is at an end. I would say this month has seen some bike action ( oh wait, not by me)!!

This month Dijon hosted the"La Semaine fédérale internationale de cyclotourisme". What is this? Each year somewhere in France, there is a week of planned biking. This includes road bikes and mountain biking, and it is indeed international. There are usually about 13,000 bikers registered. This year there of course English, Germans, Italians, but also Australians, New Zealanders and Chinese.

There are seven days of planned rides. The rides go out in a circle from the starting point with short (about 24-30km) medium and long. Each day is different.

On Tuesday the 2 august, the ride had a food stop here in Gevrey. Since all three, short-medium and long passed here, there would be about 12,000 riders through our village!!
Keith worked Friday and Saturday on registrations, then he helped out a few more days at the "Permenance" (permenance is the central location where kiosks are installed to sell food and bike paraphernalia and much more)  in Dijon, answering questions and listening to complaints.

I opted for Gevrey. I got asked also to help with set up on Monday. Starting Monday morning, we set up tent after tent and tables and benches!!!  Think of seating a few thousand at a time! Thankfully they do not leave Dijon all at the same time, and some ride faster than others. But they came through in droves at times; blocking the entire road to local traffic ( not good- now that went over real big with the locals).

This was all set up in the football (soccer) field, not far from our house.

On Tuesday, I had a 6 hour stint at a corner to direct traffic. Cars on the right have the right-away, so I had to stop the cyclist to let cars pass. Thousands of riders past by!!
A friend stopped and took a photo of me in my nice yellow ensemble.
see the little pink arrow on the road..not far in front of the
bike wheel, that marked the route 

After 6 hours, at 2pm, I took my tickets over to see what I could get to eat, I got a lunch for the work I did ( they use money tickets so the people selling food do not work with making change). Not a lot left to eat at 2pm!! Ate part of a dry ham sandwich. Keith said other days, I riders said the food was great.

I did  take some photos though. At this time, some who went on the medium to long route were coming back through Gevrey, for water or beer and snacks.

Some entertainment- Polish dancers

A local band!!
Note the bike racks

Swarm of cyclists-meeting friends as they came into the

Too tired!! Could not even make it into the food stop I guess!!
The picnic day, Thursday, Keith invited 5 english gentleman over for a picnic lunch chez nous. Have to admit, we bought most of it. But how can you loose with the french market? Paté,charcuterie,
 salads, cheese, wine and bakery goodies for dessert. I put together some hor d'oeuvres. Three and one-half hour later, they mounted their bikes to return to Dijon ( and it was raining- they could have taken the train).

After the week was finished, Keith packed his bags and went west on his bike. Made it to the Atlantic and back, he was gone for 14 days.

And now of course it is the time for the Vuelta d'Espagne (Tour of Spain). So cycling continues. Froome is trying to win this tour also (he won the Tour de France), but as of Monday he is 58 seconds behind.

So bikes, cyclisme, much for one month. And it continues this weekend, although it will be September. It is the 20th anniversary Tour of Burgundy for Duvine Bike Tours. Keith worked for Duvine for a few years, especially and obviously doing the tours here in Burgundy. He is meeting some of the guides he worked with this weekend. Bravo Duvine.

For me this month, I had a walk before the canicule (heat wave) set in,. We have had dry, hot weather. Many days at 90-95, and with humidity! I know I said dry, meaning no rain. But even without rain, there is humidity in the air!!
But back to the walk with MT and dogs, it was a beautiful day early August, some clouds, but still very enjoyable. Of course I have flower photos.
Inula Montana and a grasshopper

Fall is coming and berries are on trees -Cornouiller mâle

Scabieuse des champs

Panicaut champêtre,

Épilobe à feuilles étroites

Laser de France 

Centaurée scabieuse
Keith and I decided to go out for lunch one day. Went over the hills to Semur. Beautiful village and I wanted to take loads of photos, but unfortunately I felt a little off after lunch (hey only one glass of wine, so not the wine), I think the heat had something to do with it. However, I had taken a couple of photos before lunch.
Old city gate

Once inside, the gate from the other side

Love these old buildings

Street with a few restaurants, and note the tiled
tower over on the top left.

I have been taking village photos, again. Trying to get the villages in the Haute Côte finished. Lots of work to take 200 photos of a village, then process the photos and then return for the retakes. But I do enjoy it.
Here are a couple of the photos of Semezanges.
Semezanges, just outside the village
Church, in village center 1865 (not very old)
Old village bread oven

Love the name "alley of the cat steps" or "cat paws"

Old village pump- still works

Wheels from a wood wagon (made of wood)
Small is a regular size wheel, to compare the large size.
About 2 meters in height

Other things that occupied me this month. While Keith was gone and we had the worst of the heat wave, I worked at making a new photo library for the Association. I am using Lightroom, and learning its in and outs and how to make it work for me. I now have over 6000 photos, The village photos comprise about 2,400 ( and no where near done with that), and another 1300 are aerial photos of the villages. The rest are nature photos, old class photos, old photos, events, excursions of the Assoc, and Expositions. Still looking through the folders for more photos from the old computer and taking more every day. They do add up! Hopefully, this archive of photos will be interesting to some generation of the future.

I want to give you another look into french life. I have said life is calmer in many ways. I have had to mellow (really I have worked at it!),
Meetings can be long, a discussion can go on rather long (forever)- especially for an American, but that is how it is, so I have learned to let it go and start to doodle. Everyone should and does get a chance to register their opinion.
Along that same line, subject of directions, as in where is that hotel. When we first were here we were frustrated that there was not a sign every 2 blocks telling us which way to go. We have since learned, keep going in the same direction until you see another sign. This could be a few miles, but it works. Of course now with GPS, this is less of an issue, unless the GPS puts you on a closed road.

Then this sometimes applies to the government too. One year taxes were delayed because the tax forms had not been printed, so a notice was sent saying more info later when the forms were ready.
.Another example, regulations were passed on small business (or self-employed) that were effective immediately . Keith ran over to the office and ask what it meant and how was he to comply. They just shrugged their shoulders and said don't worry, we do not have the guidelines yet. 
So one gets accustomed to the " be patient" attitude and it is nice once you take a deep breath and shake off the American attitude of NOW, and let life go on. Everything does get done, it is just how you go about it., in a panic or leisurely. I now prefer the latter.

On to the recipe. This time of year is so fun with all the fresh fruits and vegetables available. And oh the tomatoes from the garden. Although the crop is down, and the tomatoes are small, there is still nothing like a fresh one from the garden. I made a tomato chutney, it is really good. Recipe however is a little vague. I added here and there, tasted and added again!!!

Recipe of the Month
Melon soup

I had thought I would have a great recipe of chicken gelé, but I had a tad too much tarragon, so need to start over on that recipe. We ate it nonetheless.

So another hot night and what to prepare. I had some italian meat and a salad, but then I saw the cantaloupe and thought melon soup. Perfect for a hot night. Add a mint leaf to decorate, or some julienne chorizo, depending on your taste.

INGREDIENTS (for 2, makes about 2 cups)
  • one small ripe melon, chopped in small cubes
  • 1/2 c. creme fraiche or cream
  • 1 TBS lime juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  1. Cube the melon (it is easier in the blender with small cubes)
  2. Add the creme fraiche to the blender
  3. Add the lime juice
  4. Then add the melon
  5. Blend
  6. Now taste and start to add the honey to the desired sweetness. It will depend on the cantaloupe, and of course your taste. You might need more or less then I suggested
  7. Add pinch of salt
  8. Blend and taste