Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 2010

Better get it started on my October journal now, instead of the end of the month panic.

As I always make a note about weather, so far not too bad. Keith had his group of Mexicans here for 8 days (ended Oct 2nd). The last week of September was a cold week, the temperature around 50 degrees, with very chilly mornings (not nice for people from Mexico City). Since then we have warmed up into the 60's to 70's. Foggy in the morning, but it burns off fast. Could not ask for more.

These beautiful fall days are here to stay a few days. "Il fait beau, profiter", which is "it is nice, enjoy" - more or less. But the word "profiter" carries with it so many nuances. We can and should profit from everything around us (and not in the financial sense).

I took a walk through the village of Gevrey the other day. The wine is fermenting and the air is saturated with the scent of wine. I find this pleasing.
Birds were flocking in the vineyards...color was starting to show in the vines. Such a lovely walk.
Birds Flocking in the Vines
Looking down on Gevrey
Cellier des Dimes- Medieval times you paid taxes here.
Church tower behind the Cellier
The harvest finished that last week of Sept,although there was some the 1st week of October. A chilly, rainy time for the harvest this year. And the cold and wet days did not improve things. A friend did the vandanges (harvest ) and said it was indeed hard work, down on your haunches for the day cutting off grape bunches with cold numb hands! Muscles and back was sore at the end of each day, it is really hard to stand straight. But she may do it again next year!!

Keith is finished with tours for the year. His last tour ended on Friday the 8th of October, and paper work finished on Saturday. The end of this month (22nd-24th) he has a meeting (aka - party) in Italy with his company.

Have taken a couple of great walks this month, with the warm weather and all. Now as I finish this at the end of the month, we have had a few gloomy days. Just when the vines are at there golden best, the has been cloudy and dreary. Looks like sun today (the 22nd), but wow it is cold. We had a freeze last night.
Lone Tree
Arcenant from above

Last week was the a national week of tasting, "Semaine de Gout". All around there were festivals to taste artisinal food and wine. Since I am still watching what I eat, I did not go to these. However to give you an idea, the cheese place near us (fromagerie) had free tastings. You get a plate with 6 different cheeses that they make, some bread and of course a glass of red wine. A few years ago my sister and niece were here for this weekend. We tasted cheese in the morning before the huge crowds arrived (OK some wine too, but it was almost 11am by then ), and went to the festival in Nuits St. Georges that featured many booths of food and wine. Keith and my niece shared some oysters (not my taste).

Speaking of food, I have to mention a TV reality show here. It is Master Chef. I have seen the US version where chefs come together to try to win the big prize and title of Master Chef. Here it is a different version. Over 100 people started in this contest, and not one of them was a trained chef. These are all people with other jobs (i.e. teachers, electricians, plumbers, ....etc). It is now down to 10 finalist. Wow, the food and presentation that these people turn out is absolutely amazing. The judge panel is made up of two chefs and one food critic. More than just a few times, they (the judges) have been totally amazed and stated that the plate could be served in a 3 star restaurant ( 3 Michelin stars is the highest here in France). Food and wine is a passion here.

OK to finish this up and post my monthly journal. It is now October 23. France is in a state of turmoil, to say the least. They want to change the retirement age from 60 to 62 for early retirement and from 65 to 67 for full retirement. Some of the problem, as I understand it comes from the fact that the President N Sarkozy was talking with the unions. Supposedly he stopped and just announced his plan. This is a simplification for sure, but the unions are angry. They are also upset with the change, and the University students are protesting too. They feel that if people work longer, then there will be less of job turnover, and no new jobs for them. The result of all of this is a huge disruption of transportation. The trains are very limited if not cancelled all together, the air traffic is slowed way down so all flights (if there are any) are all late, bus service is at a minimum with about 1/2 of the buses cancelled (this is local buses included), the Metro in Paris is at a minimum, and the refineries are blocked so gas is not being delivered to any gas stations. Now 25% of the stations in France are totally out of gas. There are gas lines all over. People are trying to get to work, but it is more and more difficult. So does this effect us. Yes, it does. I just filled the tank hoping that it will last for a while, but we are not just taking off in the car to do things that we would normally do. But we are coping. We do have our bikes, the grocer and baker (but unfortunately not the candlestick maker) are within 2km. And wine and cheese too.

Keith has his work meeting/party this weekend. There was a train at 6:20 this morning (Oct 22nd), so he took it. He is heading to Orange, where others are meeting to drive to the northern corner of Italy (there will be gas in Italy for the return trip- no problems there). He should be home on Sunday.

Hopefully trains may ramp up the next couple of days. Why, good question. It looks like the Senate may pass the bill, and unions said they would continue to strike (greve). However, the next two weeks are "vacances" (school break vacation). There are families all over France with planned vacations, so maybe, just maybe, a few of the strikes will ease off for the next two weeks. We will see (on verra)

Have I told you about Keith's winter hobby? He bought an old Bianche bike and is restoring it. He has been in the garage more than once, just polishing. Some of the components need replacing and he searches the internet to find the original parts. Keeps him busy.  I will post a photo when he has done a little more.

This last week he replaced the sink in the kitchen. I noticed a crack in the floor of the sink (it shouldn't happen, but it did), so he wanted to replace it immediately. A person who does DIY projects is a "bricoleur" and the process of doing the work is bricolage. Since our kitchen in transition (Keith making new cabinets during the winter- now on its 3rd winter), it was not a good time to get a new sink. We want a completely different style in the future. So he went out to find a "cheap" sink that would fit the existing whole. So now we have the black counter tops, and a creamy/white sink. Oh well, it works well .

My Genealogy/History group started up again this month. Making plans for the next exhibit, plans for the next Gazette, and plans for future outings. Sounds like another good year ahead.

 HAPPY HALLOWEEN ...(not a big deal here at all, they tried for a few years, but it is fading away)

Recipe of the month

I am going to stick with something very simple for this month.
It is a  great dessert and is not hard to make. Pears are in  season and delicious.

Please give me feedback if you try any of the recipes. I could have made a typing error...could happen..

PEARS and BLUE CHEESE   for 2 people
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 2 oz of Roquefort (or other creamy blue cheese)
  • 2 Tbls of honey
  • 6-8 walnuts crushed
  1. Peel and slice the pears (about 8 slices per pearm or thinner if you want)
  2. Lay slices on the plate (maybe fanned in a semi-circle)
  3. Drizzle each pear with 1/2 of the honey
  4. Crumble each pear with 1/2 of the Blue Cheese
  5. Sprinkle each pear with 1/2 of the crushed nuts
Now how simple is that.

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