August 30, 2009
Summer is almost over! Most of the schools will start this next Wednesday. I am always a little sad at the end of summer, knowing that short winter days are ahead. That said however, we did have some very hot days this past month. You have to remember too, that when it is 35 (95F) degrees here, there are a lot of places that are not air conditioned (including our house). So my morning routine starts about 6am. Open the doors (french patio doors), and put the fan in front of the door to bring in the cooler air. Check the temperature outside and in, to be sure it is cooler outside. Then when the temperature is equal (between 8 and 9 usually) close the house up completely. I can keep the house below 25C (80F) degrees on most days. Even though we have had little rain this last month, many of those hot days are also humid. You can see the haze when we look out the back door at the hills (the Cote). The wind from the south brings up a lot of moisture from the sea.
At the end of July I went with friends to an art show (Keith was working). It is just west of here in the valley of the Auxois (oh swă). Five villages join together for a weekend art show. Artists exhibit throughout each village. When you arrive in a village, you park the car and then search for the big yellow signs indicating an exhibit. The artwork is in all media and varies from excellent to..well, I will just say it is not to my liking.
We had a picnic with us that day and rested in a village park for lunch. It was an absolutely lovely sunny day.
I met them at their house in Fleurey, and found that they have a summer guest in the yard. Mr. Bunny was not too nervous and let me take his photo. I think he is rather cute.
Keith has only had a couple of tours this month. He also had a week (well 9 days) of biking. Each year the National Federation of Cyclisme sponsors a week of cycling in some region of France. This year is was Pas de Calais. Pas de Calais is northwest, on the English Channel. He signed up for tent camping. He left Friday morning and was to arrive there on Saturday. They all arrived in a small village called St. Omer, all 15,000 of them!!! Can you even imagine riding with 15,000 other cyclists? A different route from St Omer was planned for each day, Sunday through Sunday with prepared detailed maps. The riders did have 3 or 4 choices of routes that varied by kilometers. However, all 15,000 riders started out on the same route up to the first checkpoint. Keith said that first 20km was very slow going. The “gens de nord” [people from the north] as they are called have a tradition of giants that are used for all festivals. I presume that it is a village that makes and keeps their giants. Many giants were out and located along the routes each day for the riders to view. Keith did over 1,100 km for the week.
I had a friend of my sisters come and stay for a couple of days. It was just “us girls”, Keith was away on his ride. I tried to show her as much of Cote D’Or that I could squeeze into the time we had. I love it here and I really do like being a tour guide too. We had a small tour of Dijon, then the next day a little west to Chateauneuf, a drive through villages, aperitif at Messanges (with Marie Therese), and a visit to the fromagerie (cheese store). And ah, while she was here, she introduced me to flat peaches. They are from the south of France and oh soooo good. It was an enjoyable couple of days.
Did some touring also this month. An old abbey was purchased a few years ago and the man has been doing renovations (Abbaye de Ste. Marguerite). This year he opened it for visits (of course there is a charge). Marie Therese and I went over to see it. She remembers when you could just go there and walk around. Then we I first went with her about 6 years ago, it was all fenced off. Changes and renovations on a place like this are very slow. He has renovated the old house (refectory) so he has a place to live. As with all the buildings it was in total ruins. He has also fixed up the dovecote, the water system and the caveau. Now he is starting on the church. To me it is so overwhelming, all the work that needs to be done and just one person, I do not think I would know where to begin! It was originally built at the end of the 11th century.
This last week Keith and I visited the Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin. We have lived here 8 years and had never taken the tour. It was built on a Roman site about 1015. It has endured many battles and reconstructions, and was probably constructed as a fortified chateau around 1100, with draw bridge and moat. There is not a lot of detailed information about the different phases of renovations. It once belonged to Cluny (Benedictine religious order), but a chapel or religious artifacts have not been found. It was an interesting tour however, and the chateau makes its own wine, so we had a wine tasting with the visit, can bad. It is privately owned with the family living in parts of the chateau, so the tour includes one main room, and then the medieval tower and rooms therein.
As always I have to mention the bakers vacation. It was all of August!! But now he is back and the truck stopped this morning (august 30th) in the front of our house. Good to have him back.
We had a week with rain and sun, and Marie Therese and I went mushroom picking. The woods were full of Cepes. We gathered a couple of bags of mushroom (only a couple of chanterelles, zut). Since neither of us were sure of Cepes, one is able to take them to the pharmacy for identification. We gathered on Sunday, and the pharmacy here is closed until Monday afternoon. Alas, I left my mushrooms in the car, which was in the sun. By late Monday afternoon, in a closed plastic bag, well let’s just say I did not bother with the pharmacy. Marie Therese had checked with her pharmacy, and they were good mushrooms-oops. Next time. Here are some photos of non-edible mushrooms. From that time on however, it has been very dry and therefore we have not tried to search for anymore.
The vendange (grape harvest) will probably start around the 10th of September. A little early, but if this sunny weather continues, it could be good. Of course it could rain the next 5 weeks!! More on that in September. If you want to read about a grape harvest there is a woman who is married to a frenchman and they live in the south of France.I read her articles from time to time, it is here;
Genealogy & History Club will start next Monday on the 7th of September. Photo Club will start too next week, and this Thursday I will return to my pottery classes. French lessons should start toward the end of September. I almost feel like I am back in school, with everything starting up. Hmm, what paper and pens do I need to get to start this fall?
This last weekend and next weekend the village activities have also started. Instead of just an individual garage sale here, the whole village participates. The roads are closed and everyone cleans out their garage and attics (and cellars) and sets up a booth to sell their treasures.
And so ends the month of August. I do have to add that my garden has been wonderful this summer. Oh the sweet tomatoes, and zucchini, and beans... there is something so satisfying about havesting and eating food from my own garden.
Recipes... this month I will not add a new recipe. You can view the first 15 pages of my book and copy any the recipes that you are able to see... it is from the salads and starters sections.
My book is at www.blurb.com under “Cooking with a French Accent” or http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/836127#store-price
Most of the recipes in this book come from my experience here in France or Europe. I have revised recipes to my taste and also tried to make them simple to prepare. There are 39 recipes total, 64 pages in the book. Some of the recipes are simple. I wanted to have some recipes that highlighted the wonderful taste of vegetables.