Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 2014

I had him in my March blog too...I guess I like him
AVRIL 2014

Spring is glorious. I love how everything starts to grow. The trees all have a vibrant green color, and the flowers start to bloom everywhere. So many photos to share with you this month.

The plants here are about 2-3 weeks in advance of normal. We have had warm weather all month, and now very very dry weather. Ah yes I complain when it rains and now I complain when it does not rain. But it has not rained very much at all this month. Clouds come over the hills, and then..nothing!
I guess at least it is spring and flowers have bloomed and the countryside is beautiful. So I will stop complaining. As for flowers blooming, lots of photos to follow.

Quick follow-up on elections. First, Gevrey had only one tour (as it called). One list was elected with more than a majority (64%), so we did not have the second tour (voting the second time). There is now a new law (this is for villages over 1000), the other lists (that did not get the majority) should still have some representation on city council. So the list with 61% votes gets 50% of the list in office automatically (because it had the majority). Then here in Gevrey where we had 2 lists, the second list gets 39% of the seats left.
19 seats in city council of Gevrey... 19 * 50% = 9,5 people on the list or with whole numbers 10 people. The second list had 39% of the vote...9 people left is  9 * .39 = 3.51, so they got 4 of the top names on the list to join city council.
After the election is final, the 19 people gather and elect a mayor. It is usually known who is going to be elected, but in cases where the list is split 50/50, who knows.
That was the final result of our first time voting in France.
Did you know that those in the EU, such as the english, are able to vote in the city elections (not national). Just thought I would tell you that.

Also, Christian Hoquet was elected mayor of Messanges. We had a little celebration.

Big news for Gevrey and for me too. Chistophe Mae, pop singer here in France did a benefit concert here in little Gevrey. The paper said it took 65 technicians to set it up!! He had a concert in Dijon at the Zenith on Thursday 17th of April. So Friday night, the 18th he did a concert here in Gevrey at the sports complex (indoor tennis court space). There were only 2000 tickets, and I bought two. The sports complex is walking distance from our house- "yeah".
Since I had never been to a rock concert, I was surprised that there were no chairs!! There was beer, soda pop and water for sale and sandwiches too. It was a Friday night, so families were there and the children were having a good time running around before the concert (this was not Orchestra Hall)!! Oh well, when in Rome....
Christophe Mae according to Wiki "Maé's music is largely acoustic. He has cited Bob MarleyBen HarperTracy Chapman, and Jack Johnson as well as French singer-songwriters Francis Cabrel and Gérald De Palmas as musical influences. He allegedly began to learn harmonica as a tribute to Stevie Wonder, who is commonly cited as his biggest influence musically."
He now has a New Orleans touch.. The concert was great, high energy and great music. Loved it, although I had very tired feet. I have now been to a pop or rock concert!
We were in the back by the doors for the cool air...but I
had my little camera in my purse. Not too bad.

Went for a walk at the beginning of the month and we had started to cut across a field. Did not climb a fence, just went under the wires!! This was a big field, and after 5 minutes of walking, we noticed horses. First one, then two and then they all started to come and see what or who was in their field. That is when we noticed Mr Bull, he was watching us. Was he a friendly bull? or not. Well maybe it was not a great idea to find out. So a U-turn and back the way we came. The horses followed (and so did the bull, but at a distance).
all the horses following

And he was watching !! bully bully

At the beginning of the month, my photo club group had an outing to take photos of the old church in Fixey (fee say). It is 1,000 year old church. Our outing (sortie) was to practice HDR. And what is that? you ask. You take multiple photos, from overexposed to under exposed, and then meld them. That way you gain a lot of detail other wised missed. I find the old church attractive as it is.
English..Romanesque Church of Fixey
"The church was dedicated to Saint Anthony and built from the 10th
century onward. Classified as an historical monument, it is one of the oldest
buildings on the hillside region stretching southward from Dijon."

vineyard with the church in the background

It was a great day for photos
This is the backside of the church. Here I did a blend using
over and under exposed photos (HDR). Note more detail in
the shadows. Then I played with some options and selected "PAINTING"
Unfortunately, I cut the top of the bell tower off. Maybe I can
merge and tower on....
Even tried a Black and White
a grape hyacinth with the church in the background!!
I will try anything

Other hikes and flowers. There have been a few hikes, and love taking photos of the flowers and of other things too!  This last month Marie Thérèse, her sister Michele and I have put photos out on Flickr. If interested, visit it to see some pretty photos..

Magnolia (not wild)

Ficaire Fausse


Euphorbe des bois

Anémone des fôrets

Violette ororante

Sceau de Salomon

Violette ororante

Anémone des fôrets

Le Tircis


? ID in progress-Ranunculus- je pense

Cardamine des prés

Parisette de quart feuilles

Anemone sylvestris

Stellaire holostée (Maire T suggested this, I think it
just might be the right identification)
La Flambé - the butterfly

Vinca ( the forest floor was covered in these purple flowers)
I took some photos of places we or I walked, not just flowers.
Going up the hill above Gevrey

Taking the horses to pasture

Born free 

Colza (canola) in bloom near Messanges

Walking towards the woods with the dogs

Forest with flowers in bloom

Lonely tree

This last week, my little group Nature, Flore et Faune, prepared the window at the Tourist Office in Gevrey. We had 60 photos to display along with covering the bottom with moss and adding some fossils, rocks and mushrooms (fake). I think it is a real success, however since it will be on display for three weeks, I have to go water the moss today!

Now that the window at the Tourist Office is done, my group has to prepare 12 photos of Faune. We have some great photos of bugs and butterflies, so I am not too worried about this project, but I must get it done soon.

Keith has done some bike riding. He wanted to go out camping for a couple days, but although we have had a great start to spring, the evenings are still cold. Then he was almost ready to go south, by train and then ride, and the there was a strike at the SNCF (Sydicate National de Chemin de Fer), the nationalized train company. He continues to volunteer at Bligny with the tourist train.

Recipe of the Month

Chicken with Dill and Mustard sauce

You can find this on the internet. However I did my own version. A few years ago my cousin had made chicken with dill. I did not get the recipe, but thought of it the other day. So I went to the internet. Lots of variations, and here is mine.

( for 2 or 3 people - depend if Keith has ridden his bike for 100km or not)
2 hours marinade
20-30 minutes to prepare

  • 3 chicken breasts- no skin or bones
  • 1/2 cup 0% fat yogurt 
  • 4 TBS chopped fresh dill
  • 1 TBS oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped leek
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2-3 teaspoons mustard (Dijon of course or ancient with seeds)
  • oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Mix the yogurt with 2 TBS of dill and 1 TBS oil
  2. Cover chicken with yogurt mix on both sides and marinade at least 2 hours
  3. Heat about 1 TBS of oil in pan
  4. Add chicken (with yogurt still covering) and brown a few minutes on both sides
  5. Place chicken on a plate
  6. Add leeks and saute
  7. Add wine to de-glaze
  8. Add mustard and blend and then the chicken broth
  9. Place chicken back in pan
  10. Cover and cook until chicken is done -depends on the thickness of the chicken breast
  11. Put chicken on a plate and turn up heat.
  12. Let the sauce reduce some, thicken a little if necessary
  13. Add in 2 TBS of fresh dill 
  14. Stir 
  15. Put chicken on a serving platter and cover with sauce
  16. Serve immediately 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March 2014


I know that most will open this on April 1st. It is called the Poisson d'Arvil here in france

He is showing off for the female not far away..
He is looking good, isn't he!

Spring is here. 

Days flucuate between warm and wonderful, and cloudy and cool. Nights still down into the 30's or 40's. 

Boy we had had a lot of rain Jan and Feb. It has slowed down and actually getting very dry!

I had to mow the grass twice already! It appears that this new grass that was planted last fall grows faster than the old grass. Looks like a summer of mowing!!  sigh

I have taken a few walks, as usual. Sometimes I go to the ponds just east of Gevrey. The ducks have started to migrate through.  Although the ponds are fun to walk around and watch the pond life, the train tracks are not far off, so the quiet is interrupted by trains and some traffic on the nearby road. I usually prefer the woods where there is more solitude.
The good news is that some spring flowers have started.
Mr Cormorant...He was on the other side of the pond!
 I used the telephoto, but he must have moved his head slightly!

Vineyard in Gevrey..first day of March. What a
stream flowing through the vineyard!!

Another vineyard in lower Gervey, plowed and ready for spring

Tree in bloom as I walk around the pond

We took a couple of days and went down to Marseilles, south of France on the Mediterranean. We took the train down and back, so walked around the old port (Vielle Porte) for two days to see the sites of this very ancient city.
We explored a couple of museums, the one of the "old" port was excellent; old as in very old and a distance back from the port of today. The shore has moved out from this previous port excavation. It is interesting to see how far it has moved! 
Another museum called MuCem opened last year. New architecture, but the museum does not feel organized. Some interesting pieces to see, but a real sense of disorganization.
We were a little weary, so we took the ferry out to the Château d'If. We did not get off the ferry, just enjoyed the ride in the sun and on the sea.
March is a out of season, so some restaurants were closed, and so were some of the excursion by boat. The seasons appears to start in April.
We ate some very good fish..mmm, this close to the sea, what else. Keith tried bouillabaisse, the famous fish soup from Marseilles. There are many versions of this soup, he said it was good fish soup.
Port full of sail boats

Fort St Jean on the old port

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde at the top of the hill
Fort St Nicolas below- on on side of the port

Post from another angle and Fort St Jean at the left

Who would of thought he was here in Marseilles

Château d'If ... Le Comte de Monte- Cristo

Was taking a photo of the daily fish market, Keith is there
with his head in the shade

My association (history and heritage) has a group called Flora and Fauna (renamed to Nature, Flore et Faune this last month). I am responsible for this group. We made a decision to do the window at the Office de Tourisme. The window always features something from the area. We have about 61 photos to exhibit and want to add some fossils, rocks and maybe some flowers. Here are a couple of my photos that have been prepared for the this exposition. We prepare the window on April 23, so more info and photos to follow.

We were able to vote in our first elections here ( we have dual nationality, France and US).
All of France had mayor elections for all of the cities and villages. Elections started March 23rd for the first round. 
Here is how it works, at least for Gevrey. We are a city of over 1,000. If someone wants to run, they make a "list". This list is made up of members that will be the city council if elected. They are put in order of priority. The one that makes the list and intends to be mayor is at the head of the list. This list is then registered with the Prefecture before the end of Feb. Elections have two rounds..23rd of march and the second on the 30th. 
Gevrey had two lists. You go to vote, you pick up an envelope and copies of all the lists on the table. Then you go into a booth and put the list of your choice into the envelope. After you have made your choice, then you go out and are checked as a  registered voter and eligible to vote, then you drop your envelope into a clear box. It is called out that you voted. There is no automation.

If one list wins a clear majority, then there is no second round. If not, the two top lists go for the second round on the 30th of March. 
OK so far? In Gevrey the one list got 65% of the vote, so we did not have a second round. With the new regulations though, the second list gets a percentage of people from their list on city council. So the first list that had 65%, here in Gevrey, they get 19 people on city council, and the second list gets the 4 top people from their list on city council.

Then the newly elected city council votes in the person to be mayor. whew!!

Messanges had only one list. M. Christian Hoquet (husband of Marie Therese) is now mayor of Messanges.

So this was our first experience, and it was very interesting. 

Recipe of the Month

Céléri Rémoulade

This month’s recipe is an alternate to Cole Slaw. It is Céléri rémoulade, made with celery root. By the way, cole slaw is slowly coming to France!

  • 1 celery root grated
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 tbs vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1.  Peel the celery root and grate and sprinkle with lemon juice-set aside
  2.  Making the mayonnaise
    •   Put egg yolk in a bowl
    •   Add the mustard and a few drops of vinegar
    •  Whip in the oil a little at a time...slowly as the mixture expands in volume 
    •  Add additional drops of vinegar and then the oil until all is incorporated and you have the consistency of mayonnaise.
    • Add the salt and pepper
  3. Mix in the grated celery root 
  4. Chill for a least two hours