Monday, September 30, 2013

Septembre 2013


Sunrise looking out the back door
The days are growing shorter, I wake up to foggy mornings, with damp cool air and I know that fall is coming.
We had some cooler weather, then warm summer days arrived. However, the forecast has fall creeping back this next week.

The BIG announcement this month ( as some of you already know) is the arrival of a letter from the Interior Minister of France telling us that WE ARE FRENCH. Oh la la!!

We have dual citizenship now, American and French.
 Although we received the letter in Sept, it is official as of August 19th, but it may be a few months before we get the rest of the paper work (French birth certificates, ID cards, etc). To be able to vote here, we will need our French identification to register. The deadline to register to vote next spring is December 31st, will we get the paper work in time? On verra (one will see). 
This procedure took three years. It took a long time to get all the records from the United States: birth certificates of us and our parents, marriage certificates, on and on. The documents also needed to be stamped by the secretary of the state they were issued in (apostolate): then these needed to be translated by a certified translator!! But all that is behind us and we are now French.

The next big event, the landscaper came to do the yard (the proposed date was the first part of April). Almost everything was taken out and then seeded with grass. Now we have some little green shoots. What a difference, a naked yard!!
The big pine tree between our patio and our neighbors
yard is gone. It had started to lean (not good)
and was getting too big for the space !
I think it was a Norway pine

This front corner was full of bushes and a broom tree. Since this
is the water intake, we thought it best to plant something that
does not have deep roots (front yard south corner). Have not decided yet
what it will be.

Side yard- had lots of irises on the left near the
many will come back in spring? And now what tree to plant.
Something small, about 12-15 feet tall

Front yard. The lavender has grown to giant size and was
not pretty any longer. now what to do?

Backyard...replanted some herbs already and my vegetable
garden is across the back. Had it tilled and will plant it next spring

Empty back yard again

Each mid September here in France there is a weekend to experience "Heritage" (Patrimoine). Many places that are regularly closed are opened for this weekend. Sometimes there is a charge, but many places are free. It was a rainy weekend and Keith was working at Bligny on Sunday, so on Saturday we took off to see a Chateau that is privately owned, but had been listed for "La Journée de Patrimoine". This was in the village of Posange, about 40 minute drive. We sat in the car in the rain waiting for the Chateau to open at 2pm. Another group arrived and went to check the entrance at the rain. Finally a villager was walking by and they asked about the opening of the chateau. It is was only going to be open on Sunday!! OOPS!! ZUT! ( note to Sue, read the small print next time). Oh well, that is how it goes sometime. And Keith was working at Bligny on Sunday (also for the "Patrimoine" since it is an old train).
The chateau we did not get to visit

I have spent a lot of time this month working on the Tacot Exposition. As I have explained before, but in case you forgot, it is a train (called the Tacot) that was to connect Dijon to Beaune - cir 1900. So I have walked part of the old route, drove part of the old route, took photos of the old route, and helped with the cutting of the rail. OK to explain that last comment; a man here in Gevrey acquired two - 9 meter sections of the rail when the Tacot line was dismantled. For the exposition, it was decided to cut the rail into 6 inch sections and to sell them at the Exposition. 
First, how does one do this? Any idea how much a 9 meter length of rail weighs? Problem was solved and the cleaning, cutting, and grinding started this Saturday.
Keith working on a section of rail
An old vat that was used to make wood charcoal - near the line
that passed from Meuilley to Arcenant.

Keith walking part of the old line above Gevrey

Gevrey-Chambertin has a music festival every fall; called the Musique de Chambertin.  We went to a concert with friends on the 20th of September, at the church in Fixin. It was a guitar concert by Emmanuel Rossfelder; and the music included works by F. Tarrega, E. Granados, I. Aleniz, S L Weiss, H V Lobos, A Barrios, and  G Verdi. It was fantastic.  At times it sounded like two guitars playing. Also surprising how well the sound carried in the old church. 
Have another concert this coming Sunday with my niece and great nephew. It will be at the Château du Clos de Vougeot. 
The last few years the music selection for this event has been excellent.

As always, a few hikes in the woods, and now it is the season to look for mushrooms. We had thought with the rain there would be lots of mushrooms, but not that many have popped up!

The vendange will start this week (grape harvest). It is late this year, but the sunny warm week helped the grapes produce some sugar and ripen. There have been a lot of problems this year, and a lot of grapes have not ripened, or have contracted diseases, or been destroyed by hail. So the harvest of good grapes will be low.

Speaking of grapes, which leads me to wine, I want to add a note on a custom here in France. Some buy a newborn baby a bottle of good wine at birth ( like a Gevrey Chambertin Grand Cru) and then other bottles for important events thereafter. When the child comes of age, his wine cellar has already been started with some wonderful aged wine. To put wine away for 20 years, one does need to start early! To buy old aged wine is expensive.

Here is my latest pottery piece. We started doing Raku (Japanese pottery) this year at the atelier, so I made a teapot.

Keith has been getting better(his back). He has done a little bike riding( only about 30 minutes at a time) and some walking. Also he has spent a few Sundays at Bligny. Slowly he is recovering from what ever he did to his back. He also went to Paris for a couple of days to see and work with a former student, now a professor / colleague. 


LEFTOVERS- Beef Burgundy Lasagna

I am going to cheat this month and combine two recipes- sort of ! What to do with leftover Beef Burgundy. I had a large portion left with lots of flavorful sauce and did not want to toss it in the garbage. Lasagna may sound strange, but many people serve Beef Burgundy over noodles, and to add a little bechamel, that always is good. It was soooo good.

left over beef burgundy

for the bechamel
2 Tablespoons butter- melted
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup creme fraiche (or cream)
1/2 c grated parmesan (added to a regular bechamel this recipe)-( plus about 1/4 c more for the top of the lasagna)
Lasagna noodles (I used fresh noodles)

1. Make the bechamel..melt the butter and combine completely with the flour (this should be smooth- no lumps)
2. Over low heat slowly add the creme fraiche and stir continously to incorporate totally
3. When all the creme fraiche has been added, toss in the 1/2 c of grated cheese, stir and put aside
4. Sort the leftover Beef burgundy; sauce, beef, carrots
5. Chop beef up, and slice the carrots into thin slices
6. Add a little oil in the bottom of a pan for the lasagne, then one layer of noodle
7 add some beef and then thin slices of the carrot
8 cover with some beef burgundy sauce
9. repeat
10. I had 3 layers in a narrow pan (meatloaf type)

At the top layer, I put half of the bachamel sauce, then one last layer of a lasagna noodle. Topped this all with the rest of the bechamel sauce and the 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
Baked covered for 30 minutes and then ten minutes uncovered (so the top turned a little golden)

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