03 May 2009

Getting serious now

May has come in like a lamb. I know, that was supposed to be March. But here in Saint-Aignan you never know how warm and pleasant May might be. The good news is that we've had several days of nice weather now.

Here are two survivors: Callie — two years in Saint-Aignan now —
and a pot of kalanchoe plants that made it through the winter.
I told her the plants are for her, but she's not allowed to eat them.

Callie is enjoying these beautiful days as much as we are. Maybe she remembers when we brought her home from the Elevage de la Vallée des Géants over in Montmarault on May 3, 2007. See Walt's post today for some pictures, or this one or the next one for some cute pictures from back then.

Tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers that we grew from seed
are now ready to set out in the garden plots.

Nice weather means planting the garden (finally). I checked out the 10-day forecast on weather.com, and it doesn't show any unusually cold weather between now and May 13. That's when we are advised to plant, normally, but we are going to jump the gun this spring.

A few days ago, there was a question about our barbecue grill
in a comment. This is it. Everybody around here has one like it.

The tomatoes, eggplants, and bell peppers are ready to be set out. I have hills and rows built to receive collard green, mustard green, sweet corn, and lima bean seeds. Yesterday when I was out with a spade, hoe, and rake mounding up the garden soil, it was actually hot. I had to stop and go have a sit-down.

The cold frames have been ideal for hardening off plants
and protecting them from the chill of the morning.

So then I worked on potted plants. I have many that over-wintered in the sun porch and garage. Some looked pretty sad, but once I took them out of the old pots, cleaned them up, and recombined some of them in new, bigger pots, I was pretty impressed.

Another survivor

We also planted impatiens and petunias in window boxes for the window sills and front deck. Those are the plants we bought at the market in Selles-sur-Cher on Thursday morning. The geraniums are in their planters too and out on the front deck, starting to grow.


  1. Happy homecoming birthday to Callie. She has grown into a lovely teenager bordercollie!

    Your barbecue pic inspires us. We'll get back to you on the subject :)). Martine

  2. Martine, dis-nous tes dates de séjour en Val de Loire... juin, n'est-ce pas?

  3. Happy birthday Callie! Hope you gave her lots of treats and tennis balls to celebrate the day. The gardens here are just starting to explode. The lettuce is nearly big enough to start making salads.

  4. I am just so impressed every day with your knowledge and hunger for knowledge about planting veggies and preparing the soil and allll of that. It will be so much fun to follow your posts again this summer to see what you and Walt are doing with your fresh take from the garden. It's always an inspiration to me to eat fresh!

    Happy anniversary, Callie!


  5. Changing the subject. Your header photo is said to be taken near the Grand Hotel. We stayed there in 1998 and our stay is memorable for the head waitress who served the cheese using two knives in one hand. She cut and served a slice or morceau of cheese with amazing dexterity whilst holding the plate in the other hand. I have never seen it done since. Wonder if she's still there.

  6. Jean, the Grand Hôtel changed hands a couple of years ago and the restaurant, I think, is completely different. I haven't been there in a while. I bet staff has changed completely.

    Judy, pas de voyage en France cet été? Si tu viens, il faut passer par Saint-Aignan.

    Martina, we are enjoying the radishes from our garden and hoping for much more in July and August. We don't grow lettuce but maybe we will next spring.

  7. Did you buy the barbecue like this or did you have it built? It is very nice. We are taking Air France to Paris then another flight to Toulouse in July. I am still wondering how expensive it will be to bring a webber barbecue with me or maybe I should buy one in France (though probably $300 more there than here) and let my sister chose one. I have ran out of ideas of what to bring them from the US. What do you miss the most (I know fresh okra) from here that you really cannot get in France? One of my niece wants only Ralph Lauren clothes.

  8. Hello Nadège, we bought the barbecue at Bricomarché for 125 euros or so. It came in three or four (very heavy) pieces. We had to bring two pieces home in our little Peugeot 206 and then go get the others. At the store, the salesmen helped us load it up, but at home we were on our own as far as getting it out was concerned. The second load was the two heaviest pieces, and they sat in the car for days before we worked up the courage to try to get them out. We succeeded, but just barely.

    By the way, we also have a little Weber "Smoky Joe" grill that we brought from the U.S. But we don't use it much because we can't figure out how the charcoal sold her works! It's not briquettes, but pieces of charred wood that burn up really fast.

    I don't know what to say about gifts from the U.S. I never bring any back. The stuff we want from the US is clothes (much cheaper for the kind of clothes we wear), drugstore products (also cheaper than here), and lots of food items that we could find in Paris but not out here around Saint-Aignan. Maybe some other commenters will have ideas.


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