Saturday, June 28, 2014

June (juin) 2014

June 2014   

Summer started 7 days ago.
Bring it on.
Days have been a little warm, but some gorgeous evenings. Oh the joy to sit outside on the patio with a glass of Crémant and watch the sun set (no mosquitoes- well maybe one)

To celebrate the first day of summer, usually the 21st of June, France has the Festival of Music (Fête de Musique). Villages all over France have some sort of a music program for the evening. It could be the local chorale group, or some other musician from the village. The larger cities have multiple venues, trying to appeal to everyone. Most of these concerts are free, many outdoors on a plaza.

Actually, June has been very, very dry. It rained last night. The grass was brown, and crunched when you walked on it. What a relief to get some rain. Unfortunately, it was very stormy. We had a little hail (grele) here at our house, fingers crossed that it was not worse somewhere else here in the wine country.

Went on a walk the first part of the month. This year things are blooming early. And there in the woods was one of the prettiest wild flowers. It is called the Lis Martagon -name in french (lily family). The deer love to eat the early blossoms, so we found many with stems and leaves and no flower.
I am working at using my old macro lens from the old camera that used film. It does not have auto focus,and the F-stop (aperture opening) does not show, so I have just started to learn how to use this old lens on the digital camera.
Lis Martagon - not macro

This was later in the month when it was very dry
The flower is smaller and paler.

Look at all the pollen on this butterfly's wings!

Macro lens...need to use more depth of field.
I will get there!!
Also early in the month and looked out the back at the vineyard. There was a jack rabbit (lievre)!!
The vineyard is heavily patrolled by the neighborhood cats. Not sure this is the best place for a rabbit!
Photo out the back door.(telephoto)
As the month continued, more days of 85-90 degrees and no water. A watering ban was put in place, no watering the garden between 10am and 7pm. We have those new bushes, and the rain barrel was dry. So after dinner I would water the bushes and tomatoes!
Speaking of my garden.
My little garden..vineyard is behind the garden [not ours :-(  ]
I should start to harvest a few things soon.(zucchini already coming in)
Herbs all over the place and I use them daily
There have been flowers on our walks, but as the month progressed and it was drier and drier, there were less and less flowers. Here are a few flowers from this month.
Path (or foresters road) lined with flower
Probably Queen Anne's Lace
This is called  Laser de France (laserpitium gallicum)

Orchid "orchis pyramidal" -not macro

The insect is called Zygene (Zygaena filipendula)

butterfly _ Le Demi-Deuil (Melanargia galathea)

Another orchis pyramidal

Wild sage ( macro and need to work on F stop!!)

Macro play again...tomato flowers

This is with the macro...more depth of field YEAH!

Mid month the Association had an outing (sortie). 18 from the club went west to see Guédelon.
"Guédelon Castle is a medieval construction project located in Treigny, France. The object of the project is to build a castle using only the techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages." 
If interested, more info in english here :

We left at 7am (yawn)...and met up at Pont de Pany. Pont de Pany is on the canal. A couple of photos of the lock.
The person who takes care of the lock lives here.

The lock

Canal boat beyond the lock tied up for a rest

It is about 2 1/2 hours to Guédelon from Gevrey. We arrived and went into the site. Each explored on their own for a good 2 hours. Although we had had hot weather, the day was a little cooler and most of the artisans are in the wooded area, so it was cooler.  I have a couple of photos here, but will probably put some out soon on Flickr ( I have over 100). The connection will be in next months Blog. It is a very interesting site and the artisans will talk and explain what they are doing. Enjoyed our day out very much.
Think of all the things needed to make a castle and how would you do it?
Hauling up a load of stones (left). Note the guy
in the cage who "walks" the wheel to work the pulleys.

Ebony And Ivory Live Together In Perfect Harmony
They have a lot of animals at the site that roam freely

Hand made wagon, castle in the background

We celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary. We decided to go to a Michelin one star restaurant. OH- LA- LA. We went for lunch on the 27th just south in a village called Tournus.
Keith thinks they are actively working on trying for  2 stars, because the food was wonderful, the service incredible and the food presentation extraordinary!
I should have taken photos, but I just had my big camera, and did not want to try taking photos at the table, not discrete. My cell phone is simple and does not have a camera, unfortunately.
Started with the "Amuse Bouche" ( amuse the mouth). My mouth was very amused. Five or six little tantalizing bites.
I am trying to figure out the entré ( this is the course before the main plate). It was whipped egg white, with the egg yolk in the center. Done sort of like a cocotte, but with a whipped egg white. Will have to try a few things! The white was so white, not browned from cooking..of course there was a lot more to this dish. On top were escargots done in a wonderful sauce de noisettes (hazel nut sauce).
Each course had a wonderful sauce, even the strawberry dessert. Then there are little treats after all is done (friandise). oh my!  It was truly a culinary delight.

Tournus is a lovey village too, and Keith said it is a tourist lunch stop-over for tours from Lyon to Paris (two groups of two Asians came in for lunch, one had the guide come in and help order the lunch-[no french and limited english], so obviously a tour).
There are now 4 one Michelin star restaurants in this little village.

I wanted to try some "HDR" photos inside the church, but there was a funeral. Next time, so a couple of photos of the outside and it was time to catch the train home. ( HDR is high density resolution I take 5 photos or so a different light settings-then blend the photos for more detail).
Outside, church tower

View of church (parked cars made it hard
to take a photo!)
Another note on food. There are cooking shows here that I enjoy watching. The last few weeks there has been a show to pick the best baker in France. France has a long tradition of giving an award for the "Meilleur Ouvrier de France ", the best craftsman in France. You may have heard of famous chefs that received the honor. But there are awards for the best stone cutter, the best master of stained glass, the best... So this search was for the best baker in France. For the finals they had to make bread to match the food at a starred restaurant in Paris. So each course had a special bread made to complement the food. Now that is attention to detail!!

Keith went off on another bike ride mid June. The trains or rather the conductors of the trains were on strike*, so he could not go as far as he wanted. He road south west, and stayed out for 5 days. The strike was over and he could come back by train. This is his second camping trip for this year.
    * strikes here seem to be a national pass time!! Always something on strike!!!!!!!!

A few pottery things I am working on right now, may be finished for next months Blog. Working on photos of the Monuments for the 100 year Expo of WWI. 28 of the 32 villages in the canton have a Monument aux Morts. Here is Gevrey's monument.
The lady in mourning is done in mosaic

The Assoc is also looking at trying to have a book written on the restoration of the chateau. It is a major project and not sure if we can do it or not! Yikes the money alone needed to do this, then finding the historians that are willing to write a chapter or so!! as they say in french "on verra" (one will see).

Always something to do, and never time to do it all.

Recipe of the Month

Summer Pasta Salad

This is a great salad for summer, and so easy.


  • Fusilli pasta, generous 1 cup dry pasta
  • Small can of corn (individual serving size - about 4 oz)
  • Small can of kidney beans ("")
  • 1/2 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • one tomato chopped
  • Feta cheese optional

     Honey-Lime Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp chopped jalapeno pepper or hot red pepper (OPTIONAL)

1. Cook pasta according to directions
2. Mix the Honey-Lime dressing
3. Mix pasta, corn, beans and dressing
4. After it cools, add the rest of the ingredients
5 Add some crumbled feta cheese if you want
6. Refrigerate and let the flavors soak in for 2 hours minimum