Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

French Rose Fertilizer

“Well, look at that! Those French even put oysters in their rose fertilizer!”

Monday, May 16, 2011

re: Progress is a relative thing....

I have been reluctant to post progress pictures of the Great House Project because, well, because you really wouldn't be able to see much progress. Tom has spent hours and hours and a lot of effort over there, it's just that  gouging deep trenches in the walls and then refilling them after the electrician and plumber have been around just doesn't look sexy in photos. Then there are the final coats and coats of plaster. Again nothing to see unless you are there in the room with the warm glow of perfectly smoothed finish work.
So instead I am posting pictures of what is happening outside the windows of our house. With a little hint of the state of the progress inside........
bathroom

bedroom

back hall

bedroom

office


Why be in a hurry when this is our view from where we are now?







Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday's Petite Aquarelle

Swallows Over the Dronne

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring Choices

As I rode my bike to the Friday Brantome market I decided that I would focus on strawberries. They have just come into season and are to die for. Have you ever tasted woodland strawberries? Almost all of the strawberries in France taste like that. Well at least here in our region where strawberry is queen. 
The strawberry vendor was there ready for us early Friday morning. He had made the 40 minute trip up from Vergt which is our strawberry capital. On May 15th they have a strawberry festival with a tart 10 feet by 10 feet. Each producer's family contributes several tarts that are then put together to make this one grand tart. Before I knew this 'trick' it was a marvel to think that enormous tart was made all at once... oh the foolishness of my  non-baker American mind.

After my morning at the market I was going to come home and give you a recipe for something using strawberries. But standing there eating them warm out of the bag I realized that there is no recipe - the only way to eat something so perfect is au naturale.

So I wandered around and just in the nick of time found the last of the morning's sweet peas. A friend had mentioned having pea and ginger soup and I was eager to try this combination.

I purchased several handfuls of this green gold. The price of 5 euros a kilo includes the shell and does not include the time to shell them. 

But the soup recipe I found from the New York Times made up for any effort and time.
Here goes my lazy, yet delicious version:

2 cups shelled peas (can be frozen)
2 tblsp fresh sliced ginger (up to 1/4 cup of ginger depending on taste buds)
4 cups water or broth
salt and pepper

boil peas and ginger until mushy

puree.......hmmm it must be spring!








Friday, May 6, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

You are french country when.....





The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Arch de Triomphe are iconic images of Paris. And Paris is the iconic image of France for most Americans. 
Way out here in the countryside I always thought I would achieve the status of being a french country girl when I had a brood of chickens in the yard. But that is the romantic American view of a symbol of French country life. 


You know you are truly French when you have a cement mixer in your yard.


One of the first things you notice when you are here for more than a month or two is that every one that has a yard has a cement mixer some place in that yard. At first I thought this was the stupidest thing. Why couldn’t all these people just borrow the neighbor’s mixer? That would at least temporarily budge that massive orange eyesore that broods over their property line. Or why not rent one? It’s not like the monstrous thing is a dishwasher that gets fired up every day. If they are so important why we don’t we all have them in the USA-- land of the backyard gizmo?
Well soon enough we had our Very Own Cement Mixer in our yard, too.



Many of you will remember the story about Tom and the wavy floors. That was the first use we had for our Very Own Cement Mixer. I still wasn’t convinced we needed to own one full time. There couldn't possibly be any thing else at the house that we could use it for.  Then came two more poured floors, repaired garden walls, studio foundation, patio paving--- you get the picture. Living in a world of stone changes everything for someone that grew up with wooden houses.
I just hope that at the end of our building project we can find a place to hide the cement mixer from view-- both mine and the neighbor’s.