06 August 2009

Bearing gifts...

People are so nice. They read this blog and then bring or send us things. I'm serious and not trying to be funny. Some of the best gifts we've gotten have been seeds to plant in the garden. And food items. And toys for Callie.

I can't mention all the people who've brought us seeds and plants: CHM, ChrissouP and Tony, Sue and Leon, Carolyn and Ernie, Cheryl, Susan and Simon, Lisa and Alex, Martine... okay, I'm sure I've forgotten somebody. I should've kept a list.

Yesterday we had a visit from Caroline, who lives in England and sometimes comments on this blog. She has family in Saint-Aignan, and she was visiting for a couple of weeks. She saw on the blog that we are growing Swiss chard for the first time this year. She wanted to contribute some chard seeds for next year's garden.

No ordinary chard seeds, these. Look at them. A rainbow.

Caroline's mother (whom we had met a couple of years ago) brought us a bag of scones and a jar of plum jam that she made. Plum jam is my favorite, and her jar of it is really good. I know. I'm having scones and jam for my breakfast.

Carolyn in Pa. gave us the seeds for these pole beans.
I wanted to show how well they are going.

Yesterday was a perfect day, and for once it didn't rain when we planned to spend the evening outdoors in the garden. We set up a table out between the grape vines and the apple trees, in the shade and near the vegetable garden.

A local Touraine Sauvignon from Valérie Forgues in Mareuil

The temperature yesterday hit 29ºC — about 85F — and there was hardly a cloud in the sky all day. There was only the slightest breeze, but there was almost no humidity either. We sat out back in the evening and enjoyed a bottle of local Sauvignon Blanc, with some finger foods Walt and I had prepared.

Our evening spot, between apple trees and grape vines

I really enjoyed meeting and talking with Caroline, and meeting her children Ewan and Phoebe. Caroline is Dutch by birth but has lived in England for many years. Her children are English-born.

A guessing game: what do you think these are?
Hints: our friend Cheryl in California gave us the seeds,
and this is not something you'd expect to see in France.

Walt and I sat out until about 11, watching the full moon rise. I've never seen a brighter moon. Walt keeps saying he can tell summer is winding down. The days are getting slightly shorter. If that wasn't a harvest moon last night, I don't know what it was. Today's plans include harvesting a ton of tomatoes and maybe some aubergines.


  1. I know too ... I hope you are making a wonderful salsa.

  2. I don't know. Your garden is lovely and you're fortunate to have made such good friends from so far away.
    Good luck with the tomatoes. Our's are just getting ripe too.

  3. Since I don't have anything valuable to say, I'll stick to the verification word : coumci.

    Could it be coumci, coumça?

  4. chm, chuckles again!

    I think I know... because of a hint from Keir :)

    Nice post :))


  5. I know what they'd be in the US. In France we were served a relative, physalis, in their husks (the fruit was meant to be eaten but not the husks).

    Yesterday sounds like a perfect day--sun, friends, wine, good food.

    I love seeing the photos of your garden--especially the Rattlesnake beans and what looked like the Stupice tomatoes. This year my husband's doing the gardening, so I've become a garden voyeur. Voyeuse?

  6. Looks like a Cape Gooseberry without the fruit.

  7. The membrane surrounding a Physalis heterophylla ( groseille du Cap) and in Québec, it is called "cerise de terre"

  8. I think they are tomatillo husks. Is that what has been said already?
    D. in Texas

  9. i agree with D in Texas. The chard seed package is so pretty!

    Good luck with the tomatoes. My three little plants are so pitiful and very late. I bet we'll be in France when the first tomato is ripe.

  10. I know! I know!

    I have also noticed the spectacular moon the past few nights.

    Sounds like a lovely evening!

  11. I was going to say tomatillos, too. I got a bunch in our CSA basket a couple of weeks ago, but I've never grown them. What is the plant like?

    People bring you gifts because your blogs are a gift to all of us. I hope you and Walt know that. It helps us stay in touch and learn about your lives now that you live far from us. Thank you for that.

  12. Yes, tomatillo husks is the right answer. I picked a dozen more tomatillos today. I'm putting them in salsa, with tomatoes etc. The tomatilla plant looks completely different from a tomato plant. I'll try to publish a picture.

    Ginny, thanks. Cheryl, it was a very nice evening. I can tell you two because you know her: Caroline reminded me very much of Monet in looks and manner.

    Evelyn, we picked 22 lbs. of ripe tomatoes today. Our weather is changing, with temperatures dropping, so tomorrow will be a good day for making tomato sauce.

    Keir, you win the prize -- I could tell you knew. And D. in Texas, of course, wins a prize for actually naming names. The prize is a glass of wine at our house the next time you visit. Or two.

  13. Hello Ken

    Thank you for the lovely evening with you and Walt. It was good to meet you both and I will enjoy reading your blogs even more, every morning before I go to work!

    Ginny is right, your blog means a lot!

    Other than that, I am looking forward to making the pain d'epice with Blue d'Auvergne cheese snacks. They were so good!



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