Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012

Store in Vienne, France
 It is the end of April. I had just about finished this posting when I hit some key and it all disappeared!! ZUT.
I had even saved it, but that was gone too. Oh what key did I hit!! I worked at re=doing the whole Blog, but it is 10pm and still a few paragraphs to this will be a May 1st post!

April, cold and rain, and more rain. What a month. Really wonderful couple of weeks in March, and absolutely nothing really nice since. Some freezing, and up higher in places  on the Côte, some snow was seen. Brrrr

OK, first I am going to talk about french politics and elections. Candidates must register ( with a certain number of signatures and mayor endorsements). Then the race starts about two weeks before the first round (April 22nd). In the two months before, candidates are interviewed by the major TV stations, and try to get their names in the paper as often as possible. There are no TV or radio ads, no lawn signs, and no mud slinging. And as I said, it is for two months. Oh sure, before this, they try to get their names in the paper or on the news, but it is not the same ambiance as in the US.
The two top candidates from the first round go onto the second round (unless there is a clear majority of one candidate in the first round). So it will be Nicolas Sarkozy (Union of Popular Movement- a little right) and François Holland (Socialist Party). The second round is 6th of May, this coming Sunday (elections are held on Sunday).
Who will win? On verra ( we will see)...stay tuned.
In each voting region, photos of the candidates are posted.
There has been a little vandalism to some of the photos!
These all come down the day after the vote.

I have done a few outings this month that are very historical. I will keep those descriptions to a minimum. If interested, Google it or send me a note and ask. I have added photos instead.

My history club had a visit to the Château d'Entre Deux Monts (between two mountains). It is an XI century château, or at least parts of it are that old. It was a cold day with a strong wind and we all were freezing. Most of the tour was outside, and even the part in the château was cold because no lives there and it is not heated (stone holds the cold ). In spite of this, the tour was very interesting.
Front of the XI century Château

The back

Bridge over the moat at the back

Chapel to Saint Gertrude

And of course they hunted 
Also have a few other outings scheduled for the whole group and a few for the Flora and Fauna group (want to go see the Lady Slippers in bloom soon...protected here too).
Then as part of the history group I am on the archive committee. We are defining the criteria for the archive list. There are a lot of photos, documents pulled from the archives, old post cards.....and the list and the items need to be tied together. I am looking a little at Microsoft Access. On the club computer I have it in french!!! So I downloaded a 60 day trial in english to work. Any Access expert out there willing to give me free advise? Just thought I would ask.

Keith and I took a couple of days to visit a city just south of Lyon. It is an old Gaulic/Roman city called Vienne.
The Gauls were known as the Allobroges and came under the rule of J. Caesar in 47BC. It is on the Rhone.
We took the train down (and Keith took his bike) and stayed for a couple of days and tried to see everything. Across the Rhone there is a great museum with lots of artifacts and roman mosaics on the inside and an excavated Gaulic/Roman city on the outside. The glass ware, running water, heated homes, public baths....and then the middle ages? One does wonder why it was all lost.
Vienne and the Rhone looking south

On the west bank looking north

Cathedral St Maurice
Built between 1052 and 1533
3 doors across the front, this is far right
Inside...HUGE and stark

St André en Bas - XI century Garden of
St André en Bas

Temple of Augustus and Livia..started 1st century BC

I found the old middle ages doors interesting

The roman had all been covered in marble, as seen
in the first row. It is still used today.
St Pierre (or St Peter), originally 5th centruy
rebuilt in the 9th century. Part of the
Benedictine abbey 

Inside it is a small museum of some of the
stone archaeology findings. This is not the
main museum. There are 3, the largest across
the Rhone

A villa in the excavated city at the museum Saint-Romain-en-Gal.
This is the largest museum across the Rhone

 I will stop here with the photos before you loose interest completely!

I came back on the train on Friday, and Keith returned via bike and train on Saturday. He had planned on more time out camping, but the winds on Saturday of plus 100km were a little too much. He had a good day on Friday, 120km. And Saturday another 75km before giving up and hopping on a train home.
We had battled the winds on Wendsday in Vienne, coming up the Rhone valley from the south - it was hard  walking. But we had no rain and the weather had warmed up down there. When I got home Friday afternoon, it was 53 degrees in the house! Started a fire right away. Did not expect it to be that cold here while we were gone.

On Sunday, a colleague of Keith's stopped by to say hello. I was leaving to go to Messanges and hopefully for a nice walk. Keith and Tom decided to join us. We walked for about 2 hours looking at plants, flowers, trees and a ancient borne (stone property marker). I goofed up with my camera, therefore no photos from our nice walk!

Keith went off to Bligny this morning, May 1st. It is a holiday here in France ( workers day), so almost everything is closed. There had been a brush fire or something (Keith did not have the details) and the track needs to be fixed. So there was a call for everyone to come today and help. Hope it is not too serious.

I will sign off here for the month of April.

Recipe of the Month
Caramelized Cherry Tomatoes
Not too difficult appetizer. Looks wonderful  with the bright
red color.  Keep the cherry tomatoes small so it is a single bite.

  •  15 cherry tomatoes 
  •  5 oz powder sugar
  •  balsamic vinegar 
  •  sesame seeds, or finely chopped peanuts or finely chopped pistachio
  1. Put picks in the tomatoes ( long wooden type used for kabobs)
  2. Put the sugar in a warm pan and let it caramelize (watch this step!)
  3. Add a little balsamic vinegar until the carmel is dark
  4. Quickly dip the tomatoes in the carmel and then the bottoms in the nuts
  5. Set aside on cooking paper
  6. Put in the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you serve

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March 2012

A wild daffodil

you thought this would be out in March -    I bet!

I know, it is April, not March. Just a little late.
Spring has arrived. It has been warmer than normal, and I find that the warm weather and sunshine are wonderful. Flowers have bloomed and so have the trees. Bees are a buzzing.
As always in March,Marsannay-la-Côte has a "Journées Gourmandes". Keith and I decided to head over there and see what we could have for lunch. There is a wealth of choices of things to eat. This year they even had fried frog legs, but I did not go there. I picked a charcuterie plate (assiette)  and Keith had oysters and cheese. We bought some fresh bread and a glass of wine. Could it get any better?
So simple and yet SO GOOD...the ham was sublime

One of the warm days I stopped by the old mill just outside of Messanges. The mill had been given to the Catholic church at Cluny ( not this exact one, the mill in the photo was built later) by the family Vergy. It is now an historic monument.
The red dot on the right of the mill is the historical plaque

Yes-my feet, I decided to take a moment and listen to the birds and enjoy the sun.

One Sunday it was cold and rainy, so we hopped in the car and went in search of somewhere to enjoy lunch. We ended up on one of those picturesque french roads, that is really just one car wide, but has stripes down the middle. I took a photo to from inside the car to show you the proportions. Do note the scene in front of us on that small windy road.
If you can see it, there is a village on top of the hill
After lunch we took a small walk to see the village, Mont Saint Jean. However it started to rain and cut our walk a little short. There is a chateau here too, but I did not get any photos this time...maybe next time.
Mont St. Jean

I enjoy the countryside. Here is one photo near Messanges again, and the other near Chambolle-Musigny.
Ah those grapevines and flowering fruit trees
And just as an added measure, a few more photos to show off spring.
Flower pot in Gevrey

In the neighborhood
Same day when I was out on my walk, I took this photo of "going to the market".
I really need to get my bike out of the garage, washed up and tires pumped and use it to go to market!! My basket is on the front, I do not have the panniers on the back like this bike.

Yesterday, Keith and I both thought to surprise each other. I had gone over to Chambolle-Musigny for their Fete, and I found some goat cheese. Keith on coming home from Bligny, stopped at a little shop on a goat farm and bought some goat cheese. Mmmm, guess what we had last night.
Fresh goat cheese "artisinal"
Keith has been out on his bike increasing his kilometers with each ride. Also he has started to make a new light for the upstairs hall (stained glass light). He is busy in the garage (his workshop) as I write.
In pottery I am working on a large lizard. Finished his body and letting him dry so I can paint him. As for photo club, had to get my three photos in this last week. The theme is 3...sooo two of the photos had to have the theme of 3 and the 3rd photo had to be some kind pf portrait. The Expo is not until May.
A couple of you might recognize this photo!

second photo with 3

Did not want to do a "portrait" so did a family tree!!

Kind of ran out of steam at the end...
So that brings us to the end of the month, or to the beginning of April.

Pear Salad
This salad is so good and yet so easy.


1 pear ( fresh better, but a well drained canned might work)

hand full of walnuts

4 oz of roquefort cheese

2 large handfuls of lettuce (I prefer small mescalin)

vinaigrette with honey

Toss together and enjoy