14 July 2011

Enjoying some time off

It's nice to have a few weeks off. That's what July has turned into. The garden is growing and hasn't needed much maintenance for a while. We've had no travel or visitors in July. The 2011 French Open tennis tournament is history, and we did our bit for the Tour de France cycling race. The weather has been fairly summery for 3½ months now. What more could you ask for?

Nobody talks about the drought any more, even though
it's still just as dry. I guess most of the spring crops
have been harvested now.

There are plenty of tasks that I ought to be tackling out in the garden and around the house, inside and out. Weeding. Scrubbing. Pruning. But I'm not motivated. That's okay. It's only July. It'll all wait until August. July 14 today, by the way. That's the French national holiday of course — Bastille Day. So I'm going to take another day off.

La rue des Laurendières in our neighborhood.
It's called a street — une rue — but it's not paved.

There are calls to make. We need to get the furnace — well, boiler, actually — serviced. Call Savelys, the company we have a maintenance and emergency repair service contract with. We need to have the chimney swept. Insurance requires that it be swept annually. Both these obligations remind me of winter. I don't want to think about it. Besides, you can't call any business people on Bastille Day.

For lunch, how about a nice lasagne of summer squash with
tomato sauce, béchamel sauce, and ewe's-milk cheese?

We have some more old friends from California coming in about a week to spend a few days. That's something to look forward to. We also have two trips planned now, for late August and early October. We've rented a gîte rural — a house out in the country — for each trip. We'll be traveling with old friends and seeing new countryside. Each trip will be only three or four days long. That's all the time we can take away from the cat and the garden. The dog will go with us.

And some garlic bread made with crushed garlic,
sweet butter, and chopped fresh rosemary?

The hard part of living this life here in Saint-Aignan is trying to keep a steady rhythm. To be busy but not too busy; idle but not too idle; productive but not too driven. To remember, when lazy, that the busy days will come again. The garden will produce tons of squash, eggplants, tomatoes, corn, and beans that will need to be processed and put up for the winter. It will rain again, someday, and the grass will grow. The hedge will get trimmed. The firewood will get sawed. The season will change. But not yet.

Oops, I just remembered that I do need to go do some watering this morning. And then cook lunch. Today is another day.


  1. Reading this just before lunch-- food looks yummy and I'm starving!! :-) Better go and sort out some food...

  2. Looks like you are having a GREAT summer! Enjoy every second!

  3. Ken

    I am smiling reading your billet today. It's wonderful to see that you enjoy your rural life ( you were a bit down when the upstairs was being renovated and you felt that you were not accomplishing enough) .

    Keep up with your good scheduling whilst living your life in your lovely place.

    Bonne fête de la Bastille.
    Read somewhere that the French community of NYC has started celebrating since last WE.

  4. (What The Beaver said :))

    How was that yummy-looking lasagna? Was it your recipe, or one from a cookbook source?

    I see in the photo that you're back to using an umbrella over the outside table. Are you still using the tent, or did you decide that it was too unwieldy?

    (Unfortunately, doing nothing in particular pour le quatorze juillet!)

  5. Obviously, summer is a relative thing, because summer in France is not in any way summer in my mind. I can't even imagine wearing a leather jacket in my idea of summer, yet I NEED it here. I totally expect to freeze tonight at la Eiffel Tour, even with my leather jacket and a sweater and a scarf ad a hat.

  6. That lawn looks really dried-out. Do you think it'll grow back? Maybe you should give it some wine!

  7. Happy Bastille Day! I think summer is the perfect time for guilt-free laziness. I know there's a lot to do, but don't overdo it. Lunch looks divine. xo

  8. By the way, I have to say, that photo of your garden that you're using for your header these days is the most lush-looking, well-tended, green, and healthy looking potager that I've about ever seen :))

  9. Last year we noticed that the barnum (tent) frame had one weak side. I was constantly removing the canvas from the frame at the slightest hint of wind.

    This year, I tied it down with guy wires and hoped it would be ok. And it was, at first. That weak side eventually buckled and the seams are coming un-sewed.

    I took the whole thing down and got out the old stand-by umbrella that we've had for nearly 10 years.

  10. The joy of choice I think! Enjoy your down times and feel proud of your achievements in the busy times, a lovely balance.


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