03 July 2009

No rain in Saint-Aignan

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.

Deep shadows on what was supposed to be a stormy day

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.

The grapes are enjoying this weather.

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.

Artichokes in the back yard

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.

Beef, pork, and veal for grinding

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.

Quenelles de viande hachée

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.

Tomatoes, teasing us

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.


  1. Here, in my part of Paris, we didn't have any rain. This morning, it's bright and sunny. Let's hope it will last!

  2. Hi Ken, May I suggest you plan a barbecue. Then you won't have to water the garden anymore! :)) Just kidding. Martine

  3. Very funny, Martine. But that's a neat trick I hadn't thought of!

    CHM, yes, I hope the nice weather lasts too. I hope it is even nice and sunny in Normandy (ever the optimist).

  4. I did a very late visit to Chateau Moulin yesterday afternoon. The guide giving the tour mentioned that a shower had just been through an hour earlier. The Sologne is oppressive enough with the forests but it felt it with the humidity, too. By the time I got to the chateau an hour after the rainstorm all of the standing water had been sucked into the ground. Back in Pontlevoy I don't think we even saw a drop.


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