17 May 2010

Have lunch, then wait and see

« Il fait un drôle de temps, » the neighbor told me yesterday. “The weather is strange right now. One minute it feels warm, and the next minute it feels cold. And the wind won't stop blowing!”

He's right. Walt and I ended up building a fire in the wood stove yesterday afternoon — it was that chilly in the house, with the wind and clouds. I was glad to see the neighbor out walking his dog, though. He's 80 and just had a hip replacement operation at the beginning of April. His recovery has been speedy. He and his wife were here for the weekend for the first time in a while.

Wind through the poplars around the vineyard

Walt and I had grilled asparagus — Walt cooked them on our little electric grill — for lunch yesterday. It wasn't exactly cooking-out weather, but we wanted to grill the bunch of white asparagus we bought at the market in Selles-sur-Cher last Thursday. Grilling white asparagus, rather than the green kind, was an experiment. I thought it was delicious but W. thought green asparagus would have been better — more tender and succulent. We can't even find green asparagus in this part of the Loire Valley (or very rarely).

Grilled white asparagus, hard-boiled eggs,
and thick-sliced bacon for lunch

I cooked hard-boiled eggs and blanched and then fried two thick slices of poitrine fumée in olive oil. Grilled asparagus with œufs durs was an idea I found on the Internet while looking for ways to combine asparagus and eggs. I think it was on an Italian site. And it was a good idea. We dressed the asparagus at the table with a good Italian olive oil.

The garden just waits.

Besides cooking, eating, and watching tennis on TV (Nadal beat Federer in Madrid), we waited. Waited for the moment to come when we can go set out plants — tomatoes, eggplants, cayenne peppers, marigolds — in the garden. It's still a little chilly to put them out now. Waited for rain, but none came. Waited for warm weather. Waited for Monday and the continuation of the attic work.

Mediocre weather for May. Our house is
in the very middle of this shot.

I did go out and weed the potato patch. And we finished removing the last bits of an old tree stump that has been a scar on the lawn since 2003. It only took us 6½ years to finally obliterate what remained of a sickly linden tree that was there when we bought the house and that we had cut down. It felt good to accomplish something that had been nagging at us for so long.

The third plum tree, ready to be planted
in the ground when the time comes

And I dug out and potted up another plum tree, which will eventually replace the ones that blew over on February 28. This one was growing on our property, so I didn't have to feel sneaky about it. It didn't droop at all after I transplanted it. Either it's very hardy, or the cool weather helped it make the transition smoothly. I planted a little aucuba (a.k.a. Gold Dust Plant or Spotted Laurel) cutting that CHM gave me last year. I put it in the back yard, up against the garden shed where it will get plenty of sun and warmth (one day).

My butterfly came back to see me.

Today I'm off to the doctor for my semi-annual checkup. And I have to stop at the Gamm Vert garden center to get some grass seed to put down where the old tree stump was. The work crew should be here in a few minutes to finish some plumbing, electrical, and plasterboard work upstairs. There will be banging and sawing.

Somebody is getting ready to string up some new
barbed wire around the donkey pen out back.

I guess it was good to have quiet for several days, over the long weekend. Making even little bits of progress in the garden is a good thing. When do you think summer will finally burst upon us?


  1. I am wondering the same thing about when summer will finally come. It sounds like the wind is howling all over France.

  2. I LOVEEEEEEEE this post! Yes.. such strange weather we're having now! My friends say it's strange all over the world.. I don't know... I haven't checked!

    Have a great week..

  3. Ken, have you ever tried "asperges a la flamande"? It's all in the sauce:
    - 1 hardboiled egg per person + 1, all of the eggs chopped
    - chopped parsley (lots)
    - a few drops of lemon
    - lts of melted butter
    Add all three first ingredients to the last and
    I am leaving to see my sister in Spain(of the ash cloud will let me) and I will be bringing fresh Belgian asparagus. Hopefully, the weatgher will be better than in Belgium or in the Loire region!

  4. Oops! lots of typing mistakes :-O But hey! I'm trying to fit the kitchen sink in my suitcase.

  5. I think they replaced "global warming" by "climate change".
    This year might be different because of the volcano. Few years back on the coast of SoCal, we didn't have a summer at all. It was overcast (like in May gray and June gloom) all the way till September. I would rather have the cold that the heat but I know for you it is different. You want the sunshine and warmth.

  6. Yup, we're having nutty weather everywhere! I wonder what kind of summer it will be? I fear a hugely humid, horribly hot one in St. Louis.

    Ken, do you or Walt happen to remember what brand of kitchen cabinets you bought when you re-did your kitchen in San Francisco? I've been researching different brands, and I'm down to Haas, Medallion, or Shiloh. There are tons of brands, but I thought that just possibly, you might remember what yours were, and what you thought of the quality.

    Merci bien:))


  7. Friends are coming for a visit this weekend and I'm going to make "asperges a la flamande". Thanks, Shellsea;-)

    I love this blog and the people who comment.

  8. Nadege - Coming from the hot dry desert in Arizona, I love the "June Gloom" in Southern California....

  9. I hope your check-up goes well and there are no problems. No green asparagus, how curious.

  10. judy, I think the brand name of the cabinets we got was Dura Supreme. They're semi-custom and they were great (as far as I'm concerned). Lots of features to choose from. Ours were cherry but with a light finish. I can send you a photo of them in our kitchen if you like. We had lazy-susan units, sliding shelves for pots and pans, some glass-front doors, etc.


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