We didn't get any rain at all in Saint-Aignan yesterday or last night, as the front went through. That means it has been three weeks since our last rainfall.
I ran into a former neighbor — the daughter of the neighbors two doors down — while I was out walking with Callie yesterday afternoon. "It hasn't rained at all here?" she asked. "In Blois there was a big thunderstorm and quite a downpour this afternoon." Béatrice (that's her name) works in Blois, which is 25 miles north of Saint-Aignan, and lives up in Contres now.
There was also rain in Lower Normandy and the Paris region. There was hail along the Atlantic Coast and up into Brittany, with heavy downpours of rain. We didn't get any of that. It's something about the Loire Valley. The weather systems often split in two as they come east off the ocean, making the areas north and south of us wetter than we are.
We were really hoping for rain. Walt is watering the garden this morning. The tomato plants were starting to droop. The greens look okay, but they and the beans and corn surely need some water.
I spent yesterday morning making meatballs. Well, quenelles de viande hachée, really — they aren't shaped like meatballs but like little (American) footballs. I had a kilo of veal, a pound of beef, and a little less than half a pound of smoked pork lardons. Walt ran all that meat through the meat grinder. We flavored the mixture with onion, shallot, garlic, dried thyme and chervil, salt, and pepper. And we added some diced sun-dried tomatoes and little cubes of dry white bread, along with 5 eggwhites, to finish it.
The little footballs are now frozen and we'll use them as filler for some folded chard leaves — it'll be little stuffed cabbage rolls, but made with Swiss chard. The veal was on sale at the supermarket this week, and the beef was some we had in the freezer.
Those are our summer activities. Harvesting from the supermarket, the freezer, and the garden, and trying to come up with interesting meals based on what we find or have on hand.
No rain, and the temperature didn't really go down (high 31ºC). But yesterday afternoon and evening, we had a good breeze, for a change. For most of the week, we were in what the weather reporters on France 2 called un marais météorologique — a meteorological swamp — characterized by very stagnant air. A dead calm.
I picked about a kilo of sweet cherries yesterday afternoon, off three different trees in the neighborhood. And I picked a few of those small red plums, but mostly those are not yet ripe.
The weekend weather is supposed to be nice, but a little cooler — 80º instead of 90º. Parfait. Ouf.