Saturday, August 18, 2007

August Things

August 2007

Once again the time passes by so swiftly. It does seem to speed up the older I get. I remember when I was young; 3 months of summer seemed to go on forever. It was wonderful.

The grape harvest has been called (grape harvest is called Vendange). That means a grower can start any time now and harvest his/her grapes. It is very early this year, due to the unusually warm April we had this year. The vendagne in Gevrey will start around August 25th. Ads are in the paper for workers. The Vendange here in the Cote D’Or is usually around the 23rd of September. Hope we have nice weather. It is better for the grapes (not to mention the workers) if the weather is dry. If it rains, the grapes fill up on water, and of course that dilutes the flavor and the sugar value.

Speaking of the weather, our summer has been rather cool!! We have had about 2 days of summer. Many days have had a high of 20 degrees (68 degrees F) and nights have been around 12 degrees (54 degrees). And we have had lots of rain.

This past month I had a visitor in the kitchen! I turned and there was this large gray animal looking at me! It was a dormouse. I knew it was not a rat as I fled out of the kitchen, but was not sure what I had seen. I ran up the stairs and told Keith I thought we had a guinea pig in the kitchen! This is only the second dormouse I have every seen, and the first was a glimpse of one running away. They are rather cute, but they are rodents. I did not take a photo (too busy wondering what to do with a dormouse in the kitchen), and the photo I have included (on the blog site) is off the internet. My dormouse was gray, not tan. He did not want to leave, and when Keith finally got him out of the kitchen on to the patio, he closed the kitchen door. The little dormouse just sat there looking at us, and scratching at the door. How sad. We wondered if he was a pet on the loose. He did not seem to fear us at all. { side note; doors do not have screens here, so if the door is open any and all creatures can walk in, especially cats).

Speaking of cats, we have one visit time to time. However we do not know what cat has come for a visit. On our stairs there is a small window that I leave open most of the summer (again no screens). In the morning, we have fresh cat prints on the window sill and stairs. We have never seen this cat, but know it visits now and then. We have concluded that one of our neighbors cats may miss last call for bed, and now has found a place to go.

Changing the topic to photos, I needed a photo of a waterfall (cascade) for my photo club. So last weekend we went to the “End of the World” (Cirque de But de Monde). There was no doubt in my mind that there would be a waterfall, since we have had so much rain lately. It was certainly pretty. And now we have been to the END OF THE WORLD and back.

I planted zucchini (courgette) this year! Two greens and two yellows (summer squash); and did they grow. So I have searched and found lots of recipes for zucchini. Zucchini curry is very good. Also works well in spaghetti sauce…and …..I also found a Chocolate Orange bread that was very good. I do not know if I can print it here( or if it copy righted), but the online address is at All Recipes here : If the link does not work, go to : and search for Chocolate Chip Orange Zucchini Bread ( I used a chocolate bar and had chunks rather than chips).

Also last night I made a salad with zucchini.


1. Slice Zucchini very thin with a mandolin (as thin as possible)

2. Pour over a flavored vinaigrette ( I used olive oil and raspberry vinegar) -let sit with the vinaigrette about 30 minutes at least.

3. Top with a cheese (maybe feta ) I used goat cheese

4. And top it all off with a grilled sweet red pepper

It is great salad, or at least we think so. Difficult to say what wine should go with it though. Wine and vinegar are difficult. Since it is summer, maybe just a rose.

Keith and I have been busy with our projects too. Keith will be making the counter in the bathroom for our new sink. He has also been working on new kitchen cupboard doors. I have included a photo of the first door (on the Blog site). He has done the glass work and the door frame. One day, I may have new doors through out the kitchen.

As for me, I finished the sink for the bathroom. I have also included a photo (on the Blog site), but it does not do it justice, sitting on my work table.

Last weekend we had the annual (well second annual) Bligny picnic (the tourist train association). Everyone was to bring something to drink and a dessert. There were LOTS of desserts! I took the chocolate orange bread, bottle of wine, bottle of water and mustard (no mustard last year, so Keith wanted to be sure). JF (nickname pronounced Jeff) prepared beef kabobs and sausage on the grill and had bought (and brought) cartons of various salads. We had nice weather and a very nice evening. One of the newer members is a retiree (engineer for Hewlett Packard in Switzerland) has a summer house close to Bligny and an apartment in Dijon. His wife is an artist and is fixing up a art gallery in the summer house. We will have to visit it when it is ready. But he (Jean Claude) also bottled some wine just for the occasion. It had a photo of the Steam Train on the label.

So that has been our summer so far. I think I have said enough for August! Hope you have enjoyed yours.

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