Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 2014

Ancolie sauvage
MAY 2014

It is spring and there are flowers blooming everywhere. Such a wonder to see some of these beautiful flowers.
This month there will be lots of photos of flowers, as I have been in the forest and out on the hillside.

I have my garden planted and things are growing. Already have a few zucchini and flowers on the tomatoes. Can not wait to start harvesting some of the fresh vegetables.
backyard garden

Herb markers I made in pottery
As noted under the photo, I had fun and made markers for all my herbs. I did not realize how many I really had until I started this project. They are a little more yellow than the color int he photo, nice soft yellow. Very rustic, but I like them and that is what counts!
Cibolette or Chives
Since I am talking about herbs, I took a macro photo of the flower of the chives. I just started to use the old macro lens from the old Pentax SLR (film camera) on my digital. A little manipulation needed, but the results are not too bad. 

I have to tell you about potatoes. My cooking in the US was with red potatoes, white potatoes and Idahos for baking. Then along came the yukon gold. Wow, there were 4 choices! Here in the bigger grocery stores, there are about 10 varieties, so I read the sign that tells how to use the potato. The Bintje potato is used for mashed potatoes, it is the best! I had never heard of this variety before, but they are good. When I went to the garden center for plants, I looked at the board that was posted for the potatoes, and there were at least 32 different kinds of potatoes! THIRTY TWO! My little garden could be filled with just potatoes. Alas, I did not plant any, I can get most of these at the store, and most of the time I am not that fussy, I use Charlottes or Agates or ....

More flower photos below !!

But now a little on politics. The elections for the EU were last week. We vote here in France for our representatives in the EU. France voted far right, the FN (Front National) came out with about 25% of the votes and all the other parties votes were scattered ( note that there are numerous parties here, not just 2). The FN is for going back to the franc (no euro), leaving the EU and not allowing immigrants. If you looked at any press from France, everyone is in shock! How did they get so many votes. It is a clear protest against the administration of the EU (and in my opinion, it does need to be reviewed), and probably a vote against Holland. Many are very disappointed in Holland. So what happens now? Good question. Today I read that A.Merkel's suggestion for president of the EU body was rejected. And so the opposition has started. I do hope that it is not all negative and some that there will be some constructive results.

At the end of April and the first part of May, the group Flore et Faune (part of the Association of history and heritage) prepared the Tourist Office window. We had 63 photos.

This is a really bad photo, but I went there 3 times on cloudy days, and each time the sun came out when I got there and I had reflections on the glass window. So, this is just a small portion of our expo showing some of the photos.
The bottom was covered with moss and ivy. A few mushrooms that we made in pottery, and some rocks and a few fossils.
All the photos have the french name and the latin name. Inside there was a book with a little information on each photo. 
I was a great success.
The Photo Club had their annual photo exposition on the 10th and 11th of May. On Friday night we had the vernisage and the pizza party (vernisage is the openning, often with Kir, wine and snacks- it is by invitation). 
The photos were all hung and the tables were set up for the vernisage. At the far end there was a slideshow of photos from the club members, and a small photo studio.

After everyone left, we had our traditional pizza party. Everyone brings some food and wine, and pizzas are ordered. We have appetizers, salads, pizza of course, cheese and dessert!! I left around 12:30 when some were making coffee.
Not sure who brought the cheese, but they were HUGE...besides the 3 in the photo, there was another very large Comte that was on its way around the table. More than enough cheese for the 23 of us who had stayed for dinner. Keith unfortunately missed out on dinner. He had a allergy sinus headache...poor boy. 
We had some very good wine too! This is burgundy. But there was one "foreign" wine, someone brought a bottle of Hermitage - oh la la la la -, very nice (Hermitage is from the region south of burgundy).

I took time here and there to do a few other things too. We have been working on the exposition for november, centennial of WWI.

Have to show you a photo of the neighbors cat at our house. I started brushing him because he was shedding so much. He absolutely loves to be brushed. This day I held out and was not going to brush him at his command, so to get my attention, here is the photo!!!
Neighbor's cat- we call him Tim
There is a shop in the village just north of Gevrey where the owner makes kites. The other day he had a display at the grocery store. I think they are beautiful kites. It is just I get bored after a few minutes when flying a kite!! So did not buy one. The two examples are huge - maybe 15 feet wing span at least.

Then of course I took some walks and and photos of scenery and flowers. Here are some of my photos for this month.
Poppies...this is just off the main road not far from Gevrey
And then one day I was on the road above and below two people were plowing the vineyard. So looking down on the scene I took this photo. This in part of the Clos de Beze, a Grand Cru of Gevrey.
Gentler on the roots to use the horse,
so often the Grand Crus are plowed by this method.
Wild orchids are flowering...such beauty.
Orchid Homme Pendule (hanging man)

Orchid Limodore à feuilles avortées-
a rare orchid 


Orchid Boudron

Orchid Mouche - also hard to find

Orchis purpurea

Platanthera bifolia

Néottie nid d'oiseau

Polygala vulgaris
Wild asparagus
Zygaenidae caterpillar (obviously not a flower)
That about finishes the month. Keith has had problems with allergies the last few weeks. But he felt recovered enough to hit the road for a bike ride and camping. He left this morning and we will see when he gets back. Bon route
Everything has been blooming and we have also had a lot of dirt in the air. Supposedly the dirt is from the Sahara! When it rains everything is covered in mud drops. It certainly does not help the air either. It seems everyone is having more allergy problems this year.

Recipe of the Month 
This is a delightful salad just in time for summer. All those great veggies are coming to market, and the herbs are fresh in the garden. 

Thin sliced Garden Vegetables with a Vinaigrette
  •  1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon  chopped fresh basil leaves (used 6 large leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano leaves 
  • 1 clove garlic minced very fine 
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon chopped chives 
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 medium zucchini 
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion * ( see note) 
 Use what you want as the fresh vegetables come to market, you do have to
stay within the guidelines of this recipe. The other day I used the leftover broccoli stem- sliced thin

*Note: You want a sweet flavor, and sometimes an onion is strong. To avoid it taking over the flavor of this dish, if it is a strong onion, I recommend marinating
the onion a little.

Boil 1/2 cup water with 2/3 cup white vinegar and ¾ cup sugar. When sugar dissolves take off the heat and cool until tepid. Add onions a let marinate.

  1. Mix all ingredients for the vinaigrette in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Set aside. 
  2. Trim squash ends. 
  3. Slice yellow squash lengthwise into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandolin, discarding outside ribbons and core. 
  4. Slice zucchini crosswise into thin round slices with a knife, using a peeler of mandolin. 
  5. Slice carrots lengthwise into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandolin.
  6. Thinly slice the radishes 
  7. Slice the onion in thin rounds also, use a mandolin or slowly with a sharp knife. 
  8. Place all except the radishes in a bowl and toss with the dressing. 
  9. Serve (soon after adding the dressing )and decorate with the radishes