Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 2011

August  Harvest

The month is drawing to a close and I have not started my Blog. I do not write my Blog tidbit by tidbit throughout the month like some might do, but I find my photos for the month and write around the photos. It seems to work most of the time.
 Or it works for me at least, not sure how the reader finds it.

This is August and nothing is open and nothing is done during the month of August. France is on vacation. Our baker was on vacation too ( as always the problem of finding bread when the baker leaves for 3 weeks). It was a slow month, and I was slow too. Not a lot to report.

We finally got our summer heat. We had a couple weeks of 90+ temps and high humidity!! But cool weather is back. Nice and in the 70's.

Started the month off with some good hikes. One was not difficult, but long. Marie Therese and I were going to walk from Messages over the hill to Chevannes. Marie Therese wanted to show me the Lavoir ( a "lavoir" is the old wash house or place. Water runs into the lavoir and the women would go there to wash cloths).
Lavoir of Chevannes
Hike route...

After our visit we started on the road back and met up with a couple of friends from Chevannes. So we continued on into Meuilley walking and talking and finally we all ended up back at Messanges. We did a large circle of almost 10km.

A few days later Marie Therese had arranged for a grand hike up, over and around Chambolle-Musigny. We started out walking straight up a steep hill. What a great view from the top. Took a little huffing and puffing ( by me for sure- not the others)!!
Chambolle-Musigny below and vineyards at the top

At the top we walked along the cliffs, sometimes a little close to the edge for me, but I made it. Up near the top we found an old cave. During hard times a family had lived in this cave.
Cave entrance goes back a little 

Then more walking on the edge of the cliffs,  steep descent, then climb the other side. More scenic "belle vue" , passed a old well and then down a path past an old chapel and back to Chambolle! Although we flirted with the edge of cliffs here and there, it was a wonderful hike with some truly awesome views.
It is a long way down!! 

Old well...Flipper jumped in for water!!

Th chapel in the woods
The white by my red "arrows" are cliffs..the road goes between the 2

On a calmer note, we went searching for mushrooms a couple of times. Walks through the forest are usually on a lore level plain. The forest was very very dry mid-month. It was a little surprising to find the ground so dry and dusty. The second time out, it had rained and it was damp. The walk in the woods is always enchanting. And the fields of flowers too have a certain charm.

 Mid-month we had a couple from Australia stay with us. They had ridden from Budapest and were on their way to Paris ( they were on bicycles). We had a lovely evening talking with them and hearing their travel stories. 

Saulieu has the Fête de Charolais each year ( for you city folks, Charolais is a race of cows -all white cows). Keith and I had never gone over to Saulieu to see what this fête was about. I thought a nice Sunday outing, stop for some cows and lunch, why not.  The fête, it is about cows and which cow wins the ribbon. But there were pigeons, ducks, geese, sheep, and chickens. This was all inside the building. Outside they had old and new farm equipment and some stands selling this and that. And there were equestrian events ( we watched part of the carriage competition), and woodsmans (lumberjack) competitions. It was all quite amusing.
Not very happy charolais

One fancy pigeon...all puffed up!

Looked at those feathered feet!! Pretty fancy

old tractor

and the lumberjacks..

and now the BIG Skil saw

Other notes for the month, Keith went to his bike camp; Semaine Federal. This year it was west in Normandy region of France. He rode about 1200km while he was out there. Took his tent with him and camped for the week.  The event usually draws over 10,000 bike riders each year, Keith thought they had about 13,000 this year. There are different routes each day, so each person has the choice of a short ride, medium or long. If anyone out there likes to ride, here is the site:

Me, I finished taking photos of the monuments. One project is done, YEAH. I took several photos of each monument. One from afar for placement, then close-ups for detail.
 I have been working with another person in the club to sort through the 1,000 arial photos that were taken of the area! This is another project....The sorting is done, now to check the photo and straighten the horizon of a few!
Church with monument in front

The vendanges is on. It is very early this year. It has been a strange year for everything. So the vendanges starting a month early is no surprise. Because of the wet cold weather of July, there is a lot of rot in the grapes this year. The vingerons need to sort the grapes and cut out the rot. This cuts down on the volume of course. It will not be an easy year to make wine, but I am sure, the best ones will be up to the challenge. Here in Burgundy, wine is generally not blended. One year can not be blended with another. Also,( here is where it gets complicated)..a wine with the name Gevrey-Chambertin ( a village wine) can not be blended with an ordinary Pinot noir, such as Burgundy. I will leave it at that.

The other day I when I was shopping I started to think about the rhythms of life here. If I want good produce, I buy my vegetables at the fresh food market or store, then pass by the fromagerie for some good cheese, then of course the bakery for bread, and wine merchant for wine. I can buy everything at the grocery store, but the for better quality I make the rounds.

It rained last Friday. There is always something to do when it rains. A taste of wine perhaps? Found a new place just south of Nuits St. George.

Recipe of the month:

Chicken with artichokes, lemon and capers

This is a simple and light recipe that is easy to prepare.

  • Olive oil 
  • 4  Chicken breast Escalope, uncooked,  
  •  salt to taste 
  •  pepper, black to taste 
  • 1 portion stock cube, chicken, make up 150ml with hot water 
  • 400 g artichoke hearts, in water, drained and halved 
  • 2 tablespoon capers, drained 
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried 
  • 4 tablespoon parsley, fresh, chopped 

1. Add oil to pan and brown the chicken on both sides
2. Add chicken stock and let simmer covered for about 5 minutes
Turn breasts over.
3.   Uncover and simmer for 5 minutes plus ( this will depend on the thickness
of your chicken breast. I have rather thin breasts when I make this, and the
chicken is done and the water has cooked down to about 1/2 cup)
4. Add the artichokes, capers , lemon juice and oregano.
5. Simmer a few minutes more until all is heated through.
6. Serve on a warm plate and spoon some sauce over each breast

If you want to , you could add a good tablespoon of butter at step 5.