16 April 2024


...is a neighborhood on the east side of Paris, in the 20th arrondissement. It is one square kilometer of land with a population of 35,000 or more. There's a beautiful park in the middle of the neighborhood and from there you get great views looking westward out over the city. I've been to Belleville only a few times in my life, and the only really memorable time was in April of 2007. Walt and I drove up there back then to see friends Chrissou and her husband T., who were visiting from California. We had lunch in Belleville and took a long walk around the neighborhood. It was a lot of fun. Below is a quote about Belleville that I found on Google.com, along with some of my pictures.

 Belleville est un quartier branché où se tient chaque mois un marché de cuisine de rue qui s'étend le long du boulevard de Belleville et où des tables sont installées en plein air. Le secteur comprend également un quartier chinois, avec ses épiceries et restaurants simples, ainsi que de nouvelles galeries d'art contemporain et des œuvres d'art urbain. La paisible rue Sainte-Marthe est bordée d'ateliers d'artistes et de restaurants internationaux, tandis que les hauteurs du parc de Belleville offrent une vue sur la ville.

15 April 2024

April means asparagus

Avril veut dire asperges autour de Saint-Aignan. And yes, they are white, and they need to be peeled. One way to eat them is boiled or steamed and served with a home-made dressing: vinaigrette, mayonnaise, ranch. Serve the asparagus spears chilled or at room temperature. That's how we often eat them at our house (photo below).

Another favorite way to eat asparagus is in a pie. Make bundles of two, three, or four spears and wrap each bundle in a slice of ham. Make a custard of cream, eggs, and parmesan cheese and pour it into a pie shell. Lay the asparagus and ham bundles on the custard, pressing them down slightly. Bake the pie (or tart, I should say) and serve it hot, warm, or cold, as you prefer.

Here's an old post about making the asparagus tart using green asparagus. And another asparagus pie using bacon instead of ham. Finally, here's a post of Walt's that gives you a recipe and that is made with prosciutto-style ham.

14 April 2024

April flowers (4)

It's very warm here this morning. Our outdoor thermometer, located in a shady spot on the north wall of the house, says it's 14.4ºC (58ºF) right now. The high this afternoon will be 23, Accuweather says. That's between 73 and 74ºF. That's very warm by our standards, but it's not supposed to last. We are expecting highs around 15ºC (below 60ºF) starting tomorrow.

Meanwile, we enjoyed spending time sitting out on the front terrace yesterday afternoon. In the morning, Walt was able to do a lot more mowing out in the yard yesterday. He's taming the beast. These are photos I took in late April of 2009, which was pretty mild compared to this April so far.

13 April 2024

April's grapes

This is what the grapes ought to look like in late April. They're not at this stage of development yet. It's supposed to turn chilly again next week. I hope we don't have a freeze the way we do in some years. Grapes bloom when they want to. The vineyard is not like a vegetable garden, where you can wait until later (mid-May here) to set plants out to avoid springtime freezes.

12 April 2024

April flowers (3)

The camera that I was using back in 2009 took really good macro shots. My late friend Charles-Henry had the same camera, and he always said he was amazed by the sharpness of the pictures it took. It was a Panasonic Lumix TZ3. C-H's TZ3 stopped working one day and he never could get it fixed. I replaced my TZ3 with another Panasonic, the TZ18. I still use that one a lot.

11 April 2024

April flowers (2)

I have a lot of fun combing through my photo archives to see what I can find. I often look month by month; right now I'm looking at April photos I've taken over the years. And sharing them, sometimes for the third or fourth time. According to Blogger's blog statistics page, yesterday my blog got 3,011 "hits" or views. And the total hits for March came to 97,985. I find those numbers unbelievable. Maybe I'm misreading them. Anyway... Hello, everybody!

10 April 2024

April flowers (1)

Yesterday when I went out for a walk in the vineyard with Tasha I noticed a patch of ground not very far from our house where there were about two dozen orchids growing. I didn't have my camera with me. However, I do have my photo archives on my laptop. So I picked a year, basically at random — it was 2009 — and loaded all the photos I had taken in April that year. These are some of them. They're the orchids I'm talking about, and they grow wild in this area. In French, they are called fleurs de Pentecôte. The ones I saw yesterday weren't as tall as these, but maybe they'll get taller this week. Predictions are for more and more sunny, warm weather as the days go by.

09 April 2024

Me and my camera out for a walk

When I went out with my camera the other morning, I didn't just take pictures of clouds. I also saw these things. The tree with pink flowers is an ornamental cherry in our yard. The picture of that yellow vehicle shows work being done to renew a few parcels of vines out in the vineyard. Below, cowslips next to a wood pile. In a neighbor's pond — can you see the raindrops?

08 April 2024

Yesterday at sunrise

We didn't really see the sun come up. It was too cloudy. But when it got a little lighter outside, we certainly saw the clouds. They looked threatening but they just blew on by.