24 April 2009

Summery days about to end

Off to the market in Montrichard this morning, so not much time for blogging. Why Montrichard on Friday rather than Saint-Aignan's market on Saturday? Because our string of warm, summer-like weather is about to end, according to MétéoFrance. It will be more fun to go to the Montrichard market today in the sunshine than to trudge through the closer market tomorrow in chilly rain.

Out walking with Callie yesterday afternoon, I noticed another tree
that will bear keeping an eye on. It has big pinkish white flowers
and big roundish green leaves. What kind of fruit will it produce?

Callie is going to be very disappointed when she finds out she won't be able to spend warm afternoons out in the back yard this weekend. I hope the good weather comes back next week, but we are supposed to have a crummy Saturday and an even worse Sunday (steady rain). One rain front after another will be coming in off the Atlantic and sweeping across all of France. We foresee having to build a fire in the wood stove.

I tilled and then made rows for greens and
maybe lima beans in one garden plot.

We're feeling really proud of ourselves for all that we've accomplished in the yard and the garden. I did some more tilling yesterday morning, and Walt mowed the whole yard (it's half an acre) over the course of the day. I potted some more plants. Now we have to worry about the weather turning chilly. I hope we don't have to bring potted plants and trays of seedlings back indoors.

A summery lunch: salmon, potatoes, and green asparagus

For lunch we had asparagus (what else?), potatoes, and salmon. These are the "escaped" asparagus that I found growing right outside our back gate, where a big compost pile used to sit. We marinated the fish in white wine and olive oil with shallots and chervil, and then cooked it in the oven. It was very good.


  1. Your blossom is a quince (I happened to see somebody else's yesterday, so I am +/- certain). Had my first asparagus yesterday for dinner while Simon was out :-)

  2. When I retire, one of the things I look forward to most is doing what suits the weather each day. All too often it's warm and sunny when I'm at work and really grotty at the weekends. Can't wait !!

  3. Susan, I should have recognized the cognassier... Our neighbors have several of them and I love quince jelly. I guess I never paid attention to the leaves or flowers, just the fruit.

    Jean, you are right about bad-weather weekends when you work. It used to happen to us that way all the time in Washington and then in San Francisco — chilly rain on Sat. and Sun., and then Monday would dawn bright, sunny, and warm. Arrrgh.

  4. Anonymous, I have decided to delete your comments because I don't want advertising on my blog. Please do read the blog and comment, but no advertising. Sorry.

  5. I think that our weather is pushing toward you-- we just finished several days of all-day rains and chilly temps. Since then, the sun, humidity, and warmth have pushed in, though, so just hang on another week! It was 70F Wednesday, 79F Thursday, and we're expecting 83F today.

    Lunch looked great :)

  6. I have been a regular reader of your site for a year or more, following a few helpful comments to me through the slowtravel site. Thankyou. We will be staying in Thenay for a week early in May,(I know it's a boring town, but it's flat!) and plan to visit the St Aignan market. I feel like I know your mushroom lady et al. As we are from Australia, I think I have the autumn and spring stuff a bit mixed, no mushrooms and such, but I'm sure it's all good.
    Please understand, that if an unknown person comes up to you and says "gedday Ken", it's probably me. If so I hope I can buy you a drink. Thankyou for your everyday aspect on your part of France.
    Sue Sims

  7. I guess we lucked out on the weather. We just got back to the US after almost 4 weeks in France (mostly Ardeche and Savoie regions), and had almost no rain and mild to warm temperatures.
    The lunch looks great. What Loire white wine is that on the table? We to had asparagus many, many times on our trip, generally from the Ardeche or Provence. Then we got back to the US (Maine), and one farmer told me that his asparagus aren't even poking out of the ground yet.

  8. Maybe it's my eyes, but the dirt looks so much more healthy than in the years past. Your amending with leaves, ashes and crottin* de cheval seems to have done wonders. Now, the weather has to cooperate! Looking forward to taste your home grown vegetables.

    *Is it imported from Chavignol

  9. Hello Bob R., that white wine is a vin de pays from the co-op in Saint-Romain-sur-Cher. It's about my favorite value white around here. I like it better than most of the AOC Sauvignons. The vin de pays in largely Chardonnay, they've told me at the co-op.

    Sue Sims, I hope you get my e-mail.

    CHM, I don't know if the crottin (a.k.a. fumier) comes from Chavignol. Actually, it doesn't smell as strong as Crottin de Chavignol. And the soil -- well, maybe it's just my excellent photography that makes it look so good!

  10. So what do you think about the French custom of always peeling potatoes? I find it odd that they insist on peeling even the tiny red and white ones. Last time I was there I cooked an "American" meal for a bunch of French friends--fried chicken, corn, and smashed (i.e., with the skins) potatoes. They kept commenting on how strange it was to actually eat potato skins.

  11. Whoops--I am NOT anonymous (the potato peel comment; I am Leslie!

  12. Hi Leslie, well, what I think about the potato-peel issue is just that I have seen French people peeling cooked potatoes at the table. I wouldn't bother; I would just eat the skin, on tender new potatoes especially. In a French restaurant, I don't think you'd ever be served unpeeled potatoes, except maybe baked potatoes (en robe des champs). And I don't think people would eat the skin.

  13. I never knew anything about the French practice of peeling potatoes. I guess I never paid attention. And we did just eat at a Savoyard restaurant in Annecy, and a big bowl of boiled potatoes, with skins intact, were served with our raclette. Maybe that's a Savoi thing, or a standard thing with raclette.

  14. Hello Bob R., that's interesting about the unpeeled potatoes with raclette cheese. I wonder how many French customers thought it was strange. Or maybe things are just more rustic up there in the Alps.

  15. Ken, I think most customers were probably so engrossed in their cheese that they wouldn't have noticed. We were presented with a huge half wheel, and despite the fact that I felt like I had a lead weight in my stomach by the end, we didn't come close to finishing it. Yet at a nearby table, 2 people finished the entire interior of their half wheel, then one of them started eating the rind!


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