Saturday, June 27, 2009

July 2009

Ever felt like you walked into a fairyland. I get that feeling everyday when I walk to the mailbox. We have planted lavender next to the walkway, and it has taken over. Who knew it would get so large. On warm sunny days, hundreds of butterflies visit the lavender (and bees too). So as I walk through the lavender, they take to the air and are flying all around me. What a glorious way to start a day. It has to make you smile. Colors of orange, yellow and white are breezing by and around my head. They flutter waiting to land again on the flowers. And the smell of lavender lingers too,since I have brushed it when I passed by. It is summer at its best.

Update on the butterflies ( papillons), July 22nd. We had them for the month of June and part of July, but most are gone now. Not sure why or where they have gone. There still must be nectar in the lavender, because the bees are still there. It was fun while it lasted.

Keith worked the first couple weeks of the month. The first week in July was extremely hot. It was in the 90's. I really feel for sorry for anyone trying to ride a bike in that heat. He was in the Loire Valley that week. But he did his job and was glad to return home. The week after was a tour here in the Cote D'Or, a tour he prefers. When he is here, he comes home on Monday and Tuesday night to sleep in his own bed.

Some tour information about Keith's job, bike tours for DuVine. They do not ride all that much each day, the hardest day is 30km (about 18-20 miles). The tour starts Sunday (afternoon) and ends on Thursday night. Friday morning the clients are taken to the train station to meet their trains. They do have some climbs, so it is not all flat. However, it is fairly relaxing with stops to taste wine. They ride, eat, and taste wine.

On one of the days, (Thursday here in the Cote D'Or) they picnic in the vineyards. Keith, my husband, enjoys preparing the picnic!! It is usually food from the market, but he actually made a potato salad (made with vinaigrette) for the last picnic. He also has put together other salads such as endive salad or a beet salad. He has not cooked much in the 39 years of marriage, but maybe he has started on something new. Just maybe I can get him to make dinner (or will that take another 39 years)??

The 4-14 Fete in Dijon was the weekend of July 11th and 12th. American chefs and musicians came over here to Dijon to showcase next to French chefs and musicians. Patrick Fitzsimmons from Vermont (a musician) was here to play for the 4-14 Fete. A friend of his who lives in Dijon invited the Burgundy Friends group to hear him play Thursday (July 9th) evening at her place. He plays guitar and sings in a folk style manner and writes almost all of his music. We all enjoyed his concert immensely and maybe (hopefully) he will be back next year to play again. As for the fete (festival) there were booths all around the "Les Halles" (indoor market building) with chefs and products (cooking related). The pastry chef from the White House was here. For 3.00 euros, you could taste what the chef's had prepared. So we sampled a little. I went for the Michelin Star chefs, and why not. If I was spending 3 euros for a taste, it had better be a good one. And it was. This was the first year of the festival, and it may be scheduled again for next year (if funding is found). A friend of ours, Alex M. had the idea for this festival and put it into action. He lives in Dijon.

Bill Yosses (glasses) White House Chef
An other chef preparing food at the Fete
Even Baseball was featured...with batting cage

I went out west in France to visit with a high school friend. Her and her family had rented a large farmhouse in Brtitany region. We met up in Bayeux where they had toured the beaches for the day. After we met in Bayeux on Tuesday evening, we had dinner before driving to the farmhouse (something over an hour drive). Wed was a relaxing day. Weather a little iffy in the morning as we went to the market, but all cleared up by afternoon. The market was an outdoor street market, with everything from fresh vegetables to live rabbits and chickens, to ready to wear cloths to needles and thread. Found some wonderful fresh tomatoes for dinner. We had lunch in town and dinner at the farm that evening. I left on Thursday. It was some time for me to spend with my friend and also to meet and get to know her family. It was a great couple of days, and wonderful to see an old friend again.

I took lots of pictures while I was there, even of the goat, cows and pigs on the farm. But alas, my camera was stolen (it was just the point and shoot camera), so I have no photos to share from this trip. This happen!!

Crime has been on the rise here in France, and yet, for the most part, it is pick pockets and theft that are the big problem. Even in Paris, I have never been afraid of anything but theft, so I try to watch my purse. This may have been on the train from Paris to Dijon, where there were compartments. There were just two of us in the compartment, we had even talked, and trusting me, I went to the bathroom and left my bag (cloths and camera) on the seat. Live and learn. But why not leave me my PHOTOS.

A friend here had a huge party on Sunday the 19th. It was with a military (WWII) theme. It was a riot. He had decorated his whole yard for the day with military paraphernalia. There were maybe 70 people there. Many came in costume. He served military fare for dinner, SoS (creamed beef on toast), creamed corn, his chili and guess what SPAM. Where in the world did he get enough SPAM to feed a crowd? Let me tell you, they do not sell SPAM here in France. There was other food too. What time and effort he had put into this party. It was great. Although we did not dress up, many guests were in cotume. Maybe next year.

Keith has had cycling depravation for weeks. The tours really do not give him a work out. He likes to ride about 70km per day, so 20km just does not cut it. So Monday (July 21st) morning at 7am, he hopped a train with his bike fully loaded for camping and took off for the Alsace and the Vogues mountains. He called on Tuesday evening and said he had done 158 km. Not that is with all his camping gear!! in the mountains!! I think he is getting the exercise he wanted.

Here is the difference between us:

Keith on a bike:
Me on a bike:

Anyone watcing the Tour de France. I try to keep up with it almost daily. It has been interesting this year. I think team Astana will have 1 or 2 in the top 3 spots. Can Lance Armstrong hang on to 2nd place. Contador will take first, barring any major problems. Just when you think he is too old (Lance), On Tuesday the 21st he did not get in the break (where Contador and Kloden were) and was 35 seconds behind on a mountain climb, when he decided to catch up to the break. Wow, it tooksome power to do that. France really does not want him to win, but is fascinated with his every move.

I have been working on a huge project, but I can not tell you about it yet. You will just have to wait a little longer until it is finished. But a lot of my time has been going into this project this last month.

And so ends another month in France.

Recipe of the Month

This is a easy and good summer snack or starter. Very easy to make


  • 1 medium endive
  • 2 oz blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup broken salted pecans


  1. Pull of leaves of the endive and arrange on a tray
  2. Break up Roquefort (blue cheese)
  3. Carefully mix nuts, honey and blue cheese Do not mix too much, blue cheese can color it and make it a dark color
  4. Put a small teaspoon full on each leaf
  5. Serve

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