Friday, June 1, 2012

May 2012

Sabot de Venus

Here it is the end of the month and I am "wordless", or almost. It has been a busy month and I have more photos than words maybe.
Summer arrived suddenly about a week ago, and WOW, it is wonderful. Sunny skies and 75 degrees. No need for a fire in the fireplace or a blanket while sitting in a chair. Windows areopen and doors are open to the great open fresh air (and because there are no screens, a few insects and the neighbors cat).
Speaking of the cat, he is not as cuddly with the hot weather. He wants a pet on the head, but does not want to sit in our laps. He just walks through the house now and then to say "meow".

With the warm weather,the flowers have come out too, so I have been taking walks and enjoying the wild flowers in the woods. It is orchid time too, and the wild asparagus is up too mmm (more on that later down the line).

Brief stop at the political picture. Yes, Holland was elected. He is a socialist, and the last was Mitterand. Is this a change? Yes, it will probably be a movement back to services for the people. But wait, it is not finished. In June we have the assembly elections ( the 2 houses essentially--to keep it simple). If the elections continue to elect those more left or essentially the socialist party, then Holland may get programs through. If the assembly stays to the right,not much will be passed. Again, "on verra" (one will see). Stay tuned.................

This month we had our annual photo exposition.
As usual it was held in the caveau de Gevrey-Chambertin, one of our community spaces. On Friday evening, after the "vernisage" (opening by the mayor and a toast with Crémant) we had our annual pizza party. Have to say the pizza this year was not great, but there was no lack of food. Everyone brings a dish to share (good old pot luck), and the table is laden with goodies. And true to form, some great wines too. A nice Clos de Napolean was served, I certainly did not mix that glass of wine with the pizza, but savored it all on its own. Then a ratafia was passed around after dessert(In Burgundy, the ratafia is made with marc de Bourgogne and the must of the same origin). So once again, a pizza party with hors d'oeuvres, pizza and other salads, desserts and a digestif.
Our theme for the Expo  this year was 3. We needed two photos with the theme 3 and one as an auto-portrait.
Theme of 3- left and right and the portrait in the middle...I liked the humor of this grouping

Caveau Chambertin...unique space isn't it

I had arranged two outings this last month for my group (sub-group of the history club) Flora and Fauna. It ended up with just Marie Therese and I at both of the outings. First was above Chambolle-Musigny to looking for wild orchids. The second was a drive north about 45km to a reseerve where there the flower Sabot de Venus grows wild ( same family as Minnesota's Lady Slipper).
Spring light green leaves with the sun...fairy like 

my flowers


Mélitte à feuilles de mélisse


Colza in bloom ( rape seed)-on the way to Messanges

Path in the woods above Gevrey

White flower is "Laser de France"- above Chambolle
Wild asparagus- stem is about 1/4 inch wide only

Keith and I went over to Saulieu for the annual Festival Gourmet. Each year they have this festival. Lots of good things to taste and wine too. I only took one photo there, that is the photo of spices. Oh the smell when standing there. I bought a "hot" curry and a Cajun spice. Well maybe spicy in french standards, but really nothing!! fzzz...zzz.
On the way home we just happened to pass through Bligny, Keith's favorite train place. While there, they had a "hive" of bees looking for a home and it was right next to the tracks. They had a bee keeper come and of course I took some photos(and had bees all  around me too). Very interesting to watch the process. Did you know that water sprayed will calm bees (at least this type of bee). They do not like water, so they return to the swarm. connection to Picasa with bee photos.

SPICES...sniff the wonderful scent

Bligny station (Gare..pronounced gar)

The depot

The Meuse

Keith with workers and the Meuse ( and 2 tourist-right)

Keith, co-worker and the Meuse

Doesn't show well, but a church at the end of the road. This and others were taken
from the car as we were driving

photo on route -more colza and colorful countryside

on route, a little village

Here at home the beautiful irises are in full bloom, or almost finished now. I have been trying to get the garden a little more organized, and not easy after I have not paid any attention to it for a few years. We bought a new awning, and since the back patio faces west, we absolutely love the shade screen (curtain) that we bought as an extra option. We can sit and look out over the vineyard and not have the harsh sun shining directly on us! Wow what a difference.

Love the new awning and screen !!

side yard with hundreds of irises

une belle iris

soft pinks too

This last weekend was full of things to do, and of course did not get to most of the events. It was Pentecost here in France and therefore a 3 day weekend. Some of the vignerons had open house for wine tasting. The place where I take pottery lessons, Chrisitne had her annaul pottery expo and her husband had a wine tasting. I had a few pieces on exhibit and also went over Sunday afternoon to work on a few of my pieces ( called "animations", so visitors can watch and see how it is done, or even participate).
My latest pottery...had a little fun  making Lizzie
Also those with a keen eye might notice a little plastic under the wood chips. Trying a new thing this year to keep some of the weed growth to a minimum!! It is cornstarch "plastic" that is biodegradable. So by the end of six months I should not have much left, if I do, I can put in on the compost. Hope it works, even a little is better than all the weeds I get in my garden!

Have to add the mouse story. One night I went out to the BBQ. I lifted the lid and turned on the gas. It did not light. Then I saw a mouse standing there looking at me!!!! I threw the lid down. hmmm the gas was on, do I leave it on to kill him?  no, no that is actually dangerous and could explode! darn. I quickly ( and carefully) reach over and shut off the gas. "Keith, come here please...quickly". He arrives and lifts the lid and tells me there is no mouse. Just then the mouse jumps down from the inside of the lid, and then jumps off and runs...scared Keith a little, the suddeness of it all! I turned the grill( all three burners on high) and cleaned and cleaned with the wire brush and 500 degrees...

Keith has been riding his bike. The weather is good and he has been out and about. He took off camping for a few days, but I called him home when our winter wood was delivered. Hey that is a LOT of wood to stack. Slowly he is getting his strenght back, and can ride almost as well as last year ( it is also hard to admit at times that one is no longer 20 years old!). With the beautiful weather, he will hit his 1,000 km this month.

Recipe of the Month
Salsa Verde- Italian
I am going out on a limb here and putting an Italian recipe in my Blog.
It is salsa verde. OK those from the south of the US, this is not the Mexican recipe.
This is made with parsley (primary ingredient). It is used with fish, chicken ,roast..whatever.

I have seen red pepper flakes added, and/or chopped sweet pickles, shredded carrots....go with it and make it blend with your dinner. I like it, but I did learn the hard way that my capers were very salty and should have been rinsed ( it was a different brand from the one I usually buy).

2 handfulls of flat parsley -chopped
1 handfull basil -chopped
1 hadnful of mint -chopped
½ cup capers ( check the saltiness, and rince if real salty)  -chopped
Salt ( be careful) and pepper
2 tbl lemon juice fresh
1 or 2 garlic cloves --minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Zest of a lemon
Olive oil to bind
And whatever….pepper flakes?, or chopped pickles? or

Chop all the ingredients and mix, add olive oil until you have the consistency of a pesto.
Check carefully for the saltiness, due to the capers

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