16 April 2011

From asparagus to spackle to zebrina

Walt's off to explore the market in Saint-Aignan this morning to see if the local asparagus crop has come in. By "come in," I mean "come down," as in prices. The early asparagus can be pretty pricey, but as the weeks tick by the price goes down and down, to four euros a kilo or less. At about five euros, we start buying.

Asparagus is a springtime treat here. We don't get it year-round, but only in April through June. Locally and in France in general, what we get is white asparagus, not green. The white and green varieties are the same plant, evidently, but the white ones have been blanched by having soil mounded up around the spears as they grow, so that they never see the light of day. Green asparagus are much rarer here. We enjoy both kinds.

Speaking of seasonal, I noticed yesterday that a zebrina plant
that I "rescued" last year, and potted up as a
houseplant, is now flowering.

Speaking of white, I'll be at home painting while Walt does the shopping. I didn't actually go any painting yesterday. Instead, I did some patching. You know how it is when you get started: you suddenly become the world's worst perfectionist. There's a strip of molding that runs all the way up the wooden staircase, against the wall. I noticed yesterday that there was the slightest gap — a hairline crack, really — between molding and wall, and I couldn't stand it.

This is a common and easy-to-grow plant — the kind I like.

Before I could paint, I had to patch. And I found a tube of ready-mixed "spackle" — enduit de lissage, it's called: "smoothing paste" — down in the garage. Putting on spackle (did you know that that is a brand name?) means doing a little sanding before you can paint. And of course you have to wait for it to dry before you can sand it. That takes 12 hours. So I've ended up delaying the job by 24 hours.

Anyway, I'll get back to it this morning. But there's also lunch to prepare. A full day, and a full weekend, in other words.


  1. I saw asparagus for around 11€ a kilo yesterday at the market...still expensive for me. The strawberry prices have dropped since last week, though :)

  2. To have white asparagus here in Western Australia is a joy...I envy you. Any favourite recipes for new asparagus you can share, Ken?

  3. Zebrina is native to Virginia, maybe that's why it is called "misère" in French. I understand they're tea-bagging the leaves in Richmond!

  4. CHM, c'est la plante que j'ai chipée à Luynes l'été dernier. La reconnaissais-tu ?

  5. Love your zebrina. I rescued* a little bit of jade in San Francisco that was growing in a bit of dirt near a lamppost along the sidewalk. The little jade is about four inches tall now and a nice memory.

    Didn't know spackle was a brand name. I also sometimes get side tracked by a minor project in the middle of a big one. Still, it's good to know that crack has been attended to.

  6. chm...some of us in Richmond don't constantly re-live the civil war....and VA actually went for Obama last election......let's hope it does again!! sad to say there r some tea baggers here, but not as many as elsewhere i think....hello SC...

    wonder if i could use that smoothing paste on my face

  7. Hello Melinda,
    What I had in mind was the governor Bob McDonnell and the attorney general Ken Cookie-Nelly. I keep my fingers crossed for 2012!

    Mes souvenirs de la "misère" sont assez vagues. Mais je me souviens bien de Luynes.

    Word verification is prion[s]. How appropriate to pray for 2012.

  8. "chiper" un verbe qu'on n'entend pas souvent :-)

  9. While not familiar with the Virginia political landscape, I predict that no one named "Cookie-Nelly" can rise very far...

  10. chm.....yes i agree re the gov & his sidekick....both cuckoo, but the att gen really off the deep end & scary....maybe a trump backman ticket will give us even more fodder

  11. With such a desire for asparagus, and considering the high cost, have you considering growing asparagus? I never have but even though you need to wait at least 2 or 3 years for a substantial growth, it might be worth the wait at those prices.

  12. Hi Mary, I tried growing asparagus a few years ago but it didn't do well in our heavy clay soil. You'd have to go into it on a large scale to really get very many spears, anyway.

  13. here in Michigan if your sharp-eyed like a friend of mine you can find asparagus growing along side the roads in the ditches and such. I'm not so sharp-eyed so I've never found it myself. But it is available in the grocery store year-round here


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