Friday, September 30, 2011

Sept 2011

Here it is the end of Sept. As always I have procrastinated once again, and I find myself at the last day of the month without a word on the page.

But it has been a good month. Actually the weather has been more July like than the actual July we had here in the Côte-D'Or! It has been about 25 degrees this last week with warm summer-like evenings (about 77°F). Ah how long can this last!
It is also very dry. Not so good, but I am sure the next few months will find a way to correct this problem. October can be a very wet month.

The vendanges (harvest) started about the 5th of Sept here in our area. That is about 2-3 weeks early. The week was grey with heavy skies, threatening the vendanges day after day, but in the end there was very little rain.
When to start the vendanges is the serious question.
Workers have to hired, but the grapes have to be at their peek. Each winemaker is busy checking his grapes, tasting the grapes and having the grapes analysed at the lab for the sugar, acid (and other things too). And then, the decision is made, and the vendanges starts.
Vines just before harvest

Leaves had started to turn on some vines

Here in the midst of the wine area, the vendanges is a major event. It, in a sense, takes over the village. The vandageurs ( workers) arrive, the grocer stocks huge quantities of food (large cans of vegetables, very large sausages, large giant size pates,...), and a flurry of activity takes over for the next week to 10 days. Parking is difficult with all the extra cars parked everywhere throughtout the villages. There is tractor or truck traffic (trucks loaded with grapes) at every intersection, and the vineyards are crawling with workers.

This year the grapes will need to be sorted carefully if the winemaker wants a good wine. There was a lot of mold on the grapes, and that means less grapes for the wine making. Some were healthy and hardy and others not. You can see the difference in the two photos.
Good grapes

Grapes covered in mold

 Because the weather was gloomy and the harvest difficult, I did not take many photos of this years vendanges. Better to stay out of the way. Although I took a few photos in upper Gevrey, and the others were from my kitchen window.
Picking grapes by hand is not easy on the back!

Vines even in this little patch, are hand picked

Tractor passes down the line to to get the boxes of picked grapes

Had time this month to go for a few walks in the woods. Early in the month we searched for mushrooms. With the dry weather the forest floor was dusty, and there were no edible mushrooms in the woods. Then we had a little rain and went out again to look for chanterelles (called girolles here). VOILA...we found them. Had a couple of nice dinners with chanterelles and had enough to put a few into the freezer.
Oops, not a mushroom, it's a snail

Pretty little mushroom, but not edible

Ah yes, a whole basket of chanterelles...

I always enjoy walking in the woods. It is cool in the hot weather and calm, and the colors are extraordinary. There is a quiet beauty to it all.
And down we go... near Reulle-Vergy

Flipper leading the way, near Chevannes

Of course there are lots of spider webs here and there, and when off the path looking for mushrooms, you run into them. I take a stick at times and wave it in front of me, until Flipper the dog decides he wants to play with my stick. He wins of course, so what, there are plenty of other sticks for me on the ground.
Outstanding in the field

Everyone has to come and see what is going on...

Nice view - church near Reulle is visible on the distant hill

A walk in vineyards of Gevrey (Here starts CHAMBERTIN)

Vineyards of Gevrey

All my fall activities have started once again. French class on Tuesday mornings, pottery on Thursday morning  Photo Club Thursday night and History Club (the main group meets only once a month, but the committees meet as often as necessary for the work that needs to get done).
Our theme this year in the Photo Club ( for our annual Expo May 2012) is 3. Trying to get my head around two photos with 3. The theme is based on the fact that the club is 33 years old, therefore two photos with 3. So three trees, three flowers, three wine glasses...

In the history /patrimoine ( heritage) group, I have been taking photos of a couple of the villages. The idea is to document the village as it is today. Some photos will be pretty, others will be a photo of the street, telephone wires and all. Also trying to document what I would call a curiosity, a little point of interest. You start to see a village a little differently when you search out little details. It is an enjoyable project.
Chevannes- After the harvest, note vines are taller in the Haute Côte.
Note the dust cloud from A tractor

Late summer poppies

Chevannes with the church tower

Ancient relief on a house in Messanges

Dovecote and old oven in Messanges

Old house in Messanges

Dry wall around a garden -Messanges


Vines in the Haute-Côte after harvest

Church tower in Chevannes- beautiful tiled roof

Keith has been busy. He has been sanding down our shutters and putting a new coat of varnish on all. In between he tried to ride his bike.
Then he work a private tour for a week and went to the Nebraska to visit his parents. He just returned and is trying to get back into this timezone.
It is fall now, and he will start going to Bligny-sur-Ouche to work on the trains. Winter is repair time, and they get together to work almost every Saturday to work on the poor old engines.

Fall is also the time for the Musique de Chambertin. I only went to one concert this fall(although there are many to choose from), it was with Thierry Caens. He plays the trumpet and he is also the Artistic Director. The concert was at Clos-Vougeot, and he played with an accordionist. It started early, so we had a light dinner at MT's before, outside in the warm late afternoon. Then off to the concert.
Clos de Vougeot

The concert room was crowded and we were in the last row. I really enjoyed the evening, Th. Caens is a very talented trumpet player. For an encore they played Flight of the Bumblebee. WOW.. I had never heard this played on a trumpet before and it was truly amazing.

I think that about ends this month. Keith has gone out for a ride, and I am here finishing this Blog. Not much more is going to happen.

Recipe of the Month
Last night I threw together a great salad. I decided it was good enough to share with you.
It was a hot day, and the dinner I had planned was a little heavy. A looked around, and I thought of this salad. Pears are coming into season now, so it is a good time. And it is so easy.

Spinach and Pear Salad
For 2 people ( or 4 if a small side)

  • ·       2 ripe pears ( I used poire Willaims)
  • ·       About 4 ounces of baby spinach
  • ·       6 Walnuts chopped
  • ·       3 oz blue cheese (Roquefort ), crumbled
  • ·       ½ cup olive oil
  • ·       1/8 cup white Balsamic vinegar 
  • ·       1/8 cup walnut flavored vinegar
  • ·       1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ·      2 tsp sugar
  •        Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  • 1.     Prepare the vinaigrette

Place vinegar, sugar and mustard together and blend completely
Add the oil a little at a time while whipping the mixture until all the oil has been added and you have a thick vinaigrette. Check and add salt ( remember the cheese is salty too)
  • 2.       .Put the spinach in a bowl
  • 3.       Peel and cut up the pear and place on top of spinach
  • 4.       Sprinkle with chopped walnuts
  • 5.       Add the crumbled cheese
  • 6.       With peppermill, add some fresh pepper
  • 7.       Pour over most of the vinaigrette
  • 8.       Toss and if more dressing is needed, add now and toss again.

So easy…let me know if you like it.