Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Septembre ( September ) 2015

The eclipse of the moon
Best photo I could take!!
September has come and gone

September is the month of fall, and this year the month of the "Super Moon Eclipse". I got up at 4 am on Monday morning to see the eclipse and try to take a few photos.
I had my good camera on the tripod (I had set it all up the night before) and stepped out into the cold outdoors for some photos. Then I realized that the large moon that I was looking at and was turning red in the sky was but a pin point on my camera lens. I do not have a much of a telephoto on the Pentax, so even magnified to the maximum, it still was but a small dot of light. I tried several settings, I tried a slower shutter, I tried higher ISO, I tried .....  I could not expose it too long because the moon moves.

One must also remember it was 4 am, and I was shivering a little in the cold! So I went to my other camera with a great telephoto (my Nikon bridge camera). Perhaps if I had taken the time to take the tripod off the Pentax and attach it to this camera, I would have had a superb photo. But alas, I did not do that. I took a few photos with the telephoto, and not half bad. Satisfied, I went inside the house, made a cup of hot tea and enjoyed the experience of having seen the red moon.

September has been overall a sunny month. I was out and about taking photos of Gevrey at the start of the month. I think I mentioned that I am working on a book of Gevrey, this is a project of the History Association. I will gather photos and work them into a book, and another will write the comments.  It will be a photo book of Gevrey as it is today and it will be for our Archives. After this project, I ( we ) will proceed to other villages in our canton.

Then things stopped, time stood still. I got a bloody cold (or whatever). Keith was in the U.S. visiting his parents, and I was curled up in my chair with TV or a book. Sometimes I even went up to the "office" room and worked on genealogy. But 2 1/2 weeks of doing essentially nothing! Hate colds!

But back to the book, so I have taken photos of the vineyards, the vendange (grape harvest) and others of around Gevrey. I have even scoured my past files for photos of Gevrey. So onto some photos.

The vendange this year was early. The average date is September 20th. This year there were vignerons who started the last couple days of August. Most of the vendange was done the first week of September, but others held out a little longer, and then, well it rained (not the best condition for picking grapes because the grapes fill with water and that dilutes the sugar content).

The Vendange
Vendangeurs ( grape pickers ) - Grand Cru

More vendangeurs -Grand Cru

Keeping an eye on the vendangeurs

Crispy, no humidity, sunny Sept day.
Village wine

Ah,  look at the fruits of their labor (pun intended)
all the bins full, plus the truck was loaded down
These bins sere waiting for the next truck
Back of our house in the rain...early morning
This is village wine- Gevrey-Chambertin

From the bedroom window_ what a wet morning
And now for some photos of the vineyards (vignes).

I love the slopes and geometric patterns of the vines

Clos Saint Jacques

Old quarry

Maisonette -small shelter house in the vines

Peach tree was next to the maisonette above, so I took this photo
and helped myself to a peach or two! Grapes are not the only
fruit in the vineyards
50 years since this great flood hit Gevrey -obviously
not my photo

Same wall as the flood in the photo above
A couple of other village photos.
As I was taking photos of the Grand Cru vineyards
a Bike tour was riding down the road.
What a great time of year to do a tour, well at least this year
since it has been fairly dry.

The train station here in Gevrey is getting a over-bridge.
Right now one has to walk across the tracks
There is an elevator too. How fancy!

The Chateau of Gevrey.
Last month I posted a photo from the front of the chateau.
The chateau was bought by a Chinese man for high price a few years ago. It was the gossip of the city. Others had wanted to buy the chateau and the vineyards, but his price won out. He (the owner) is having the chateau restored (historically).
It is a very long process; one has to study the architecture, regard the changes made over the centuries, and make decisions on the restoration (do you take out the changes from the 15th century or leave them?).
The architect in charge of this restoration has worked on other historical restorations. He was given a tour, along with some historians in the group and an archaeologist.

The chateau now has been empty (except for those doing the planning) for these past few years. During a tour, I took a few photos. My History Association is also working on having a book  on the history of the chateau and the restoration (we are a busy Association). This also will be a long running project (estimated 3 years).
This would have been the inside courtyard
The walls to the left are in ruins or entirely missing

The size of the fireplaces, and yet these
rooms would have been cold

Not the most comfortable window seat, but
the view was good

Old room full of old furniture
another window the window
Now off onto other topics. At the beginning of this month, Keith's railroad association had a evening BBQ. We all brought food to share, and the grill was fired up for the sausages and beef kebabs.
Before dinner talk and inspection! Keith on the right

All sorts the things..and wood needed for the steam locomotive

So good that there was a tent, it did start to rain during dinner
( due to french laws, I usually blur faces)
Despite the rain, with food and wine , the evening was a great success.
The rail association has had another great year ( CFVO- Chemin de Fer Vallée d'Ouche).

The Walks
Did get out for a walk before the dreaded cold set in. We have had a very dry season, and because of that there is not many wild flowers, and hardly any mushrooms. Not the usual vast choice of flora in the woods, but some.
A friend found this and stopped by to show me!
Bolet satan- poisonous!! But what a beauty
The red on this one is incredible, but not edible!

Gentianella germanica

Dolce in for a bit of a swim, happy dog. Dolce is MT's father's
dog, not mine. 
Out and going for a sunrise photo on Sunday
Sunrise (aube)
I know I said that there were not many flowers because of the dry spell, but I believe this is a planted field just outside of Gevrey.

The Concert
And last, Saturday the 26th of September we went up to Messanges. MT had arranged for a friend of hers to give a concert in the church at Messanges. The woman sings opera. And what a voice! This little person has a huge operatic voice, and sang pieces from Verdi, Puccini and even Gershwin. It was a great concert.
Bell tower of the church. MT had researched and written
an article on the bells of the church. She also did a presentation
of this during the intermission.

Rachel singing in the church at Messanges
(making this photo small, made it blurry..mine originam is sharp?) 
The Bistro
Before I start on the recipe of the month, I want to add a few comments about Bistros. Bistros are the heart of France. Here in France, a company often offers a food voucher for lunch. Many Bistros accept these vouchers.
The real Bistros are in the small villages and it is where the workers go to lunch with their vouchers. Lunches at these Bistros run between 13-15 euros for a complete meal. Usually only open for lunch Monday through Friday.

Food is basic family food. Some have a set menu, others may offer some choices. We just went to the one near us for lunch. For 14.30€  we had :
ENTREE : A piece of Flammenkueche ( sort of a  Alsacien white pizza - see Dec 2013 for recipe).
MAIN PLATE: Chicken breast (poulet supreme) with Ratatouille
CHEESE: Fromage Blanc
DESSERT: Creme Brulée (Keith had apple tarte)
and wine and coffee included.

This place always offers two choices for each course. We go every so often when I do not feel like cooking. Then an easy light dinner like salad, if even that!

The quality of a Bistro varies from excellent, to mediocre, to " it's food". The Paris bistro if usually open until about 7 pm, and offers a set lunch menu for a reasonable price. But the fun is to find the gem in the small villages.

Recipe of the Month
With a good ratatouille for lunch, it was on my mind. Keith does not like a ratatouille that is mushy. In the summer I have made my version by grilling the onion, zucchini, eggplant, and red pepper separately, just until done and then combining everything with the other essential ingredients. I have served this cold and hot.
At todays lunch, Keith liked the ratatouille. Except the tomatoes and onion, the other vegetables were cooked, but firm.
Here is a recipe for ratatouille, and never worry about being too exact. Making ratatouille should be easy and not a science experiment.

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 2 Red bell peppers, seeded and sliced ( like like long strips-just my preference)
  • 1 medium eggplant, cubed ( not necessary to peel) -1/2 inch, not more
  • 2 medium zucchinis, cubed-1/2 inch, not more
  • 3 good tomatoes
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TBS more of olive oil if needed when cooking
  • Bouquet garnish- Sprig of rosemary, couple branches of thyme, a bay leaf (tied together)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil ( 2 tbs) in skillet 
  2. Saute the onion - over low medium heat -10-15 minutes
  3. Add garlic and bouquet
  4. Add tomatoes 
  5. Add bell pepper and saute 10 minutes more
  6. Take the onion and peppers out of skillet or push aside and brown the eggplant (add oil as needed) [NOTE -Push aside to make room for the eggplant and then the zucchini -personally I use the one pan, or you can remove each time and do each separately or use 3 pans]
  7. Add the zucchini, and let brown 
  8. Cover and let simmer about 10 minutes ( check if eggplant and zucchini are done)
Depending on how firm or mushy you want your ratatouille, continue step 8 until done to your personal taste.

     9. ADD a little salt and pepper to taste, remove bouquet
   10.  Spoon vegetables into bowl and reduce liquid until almost gone (1/4 cup)
   11.  Pour reduced liquid over vegetables and serve