22 September 2011

Market days

Today is the day of the big market in Selles-sur-Cher. I'm not going though, not this week. I enjoyed it with Bob and Norma two weeks ago (already two weeks!) I haven't seen today's weather report yet, but yesterday's said there was a chance of rain this morning. Anyway, I already have a chicken and a recipe I want to make — Poulet au vin jaune et aux champignons.

So I'm posting a couple of pictures here that I took in the lower Normandy town in Alençon back at the end of August. Every town in France has a weekly market, and some have more frequent market days. Saint-Aignan's is Saturday. In Alençon, we were just walking through, looking around, and, especially, looking for a restaurant for lunch. We found one. Then I took the train back to Saint-Aignan — a pleasant three-hour ride.

Market day in central Alençon, as in Saint-Aignan, is Saturday.

Our life right now is all about the back yard and the vegetable garden. Walt is busy cutting the hedge — an annual chore, theoretically, that is more difficult that usual this year because the work we were doing to get our new loft varnished painted meant all we could do about the hedge was watch it grow.

We haven't even played with our new toy — a chipper — yet. That's for this weekend. The abundant clippings from the hedge are all on the ground now. We'll turn them into mulch and spread that over one of the vegetable garden plots this weekend. I cleaned off a plot — the one where the tomatoes were — yesterday, so that we'd be ready.

Artichokes, cauliflower, peaches — it all looked good.

I've been cooking tomatoes most days for a while now. Day before yesterday, I cooked several pounds of them into sauce. Then yesterday, with the sauce, I made a couple of liters of cream of tomato soup, with onions, garlic, bay leaves, butter, and vegetable broth. It went into the freezer to be enjoyed a week or ten days from now, when our friend Cheryl from California will be visiting.

It is almost light now, and I don't think it's raining. C'est presque l'heure de la promenade avec Callie. Then it'll be time to get that chicken in the pot.


  1. What with one thing and another, I don't know how some people can fit a full-time job into life.

  2. Lesley, I know I couldn't. I used to, and I can't imagine how I managed.

  3. Retirement is definitely a full time job. :)


  4. Ken, is your hedge a 'Cherry' Laurel one? If so please do not use the clippings as a mulch on any edible crops... it is fine elsewhere in the garden, but not for woody shrubs.
    This advice comes from the UK Allotment associations. "Cherry" Laurel contains cyanins [as does Bay Laurel] and apparently they can adversly affect the future growth of crops... as well as some root crops taking the cyanins in wholesale!!
    We have been told not to burn Laurel or Bay wood indoors for the same reason. The cyanins are worst in the leaves, however, and will affect veg compost and veg areas if used there. The cyanins are a defence mechanism by the tree/shrub and stops others of the same species growing too near by poisoning the surrounding ground.

    Walnuts, Pecans and Hickory use the same mechanism!! But in the former pair it can't get into the nuts...can it?!

    On a lighter note... BettyAnn's comment was noticeable on the allotments we used to be part of... any bloke who had just retired used to treble the amount of time spent growing the same amount of crops as he had in former years... to avoid the sudden list of tasks that had appeared on the kitchen notice-board[in the partner/wife's handwriting]... and as for fitting a full-time job into life... surely that's just to earn money to get someone else to do all the things that are now on "THAT LIST"!!

  5. The Alencon market was going strong when we were there. Your second photo is my favorite since the cobble stones capture a timelessness that makes me wonder how many years people have been going to such markets on those very stones.

    Four weeks ago almost, we were there. Hope your chicken is yummy.

  6. Keep your hands out of the chipper!

  7. Hi Chris, the chipper came with a special tool that you use to push the leaves and twigs down onto the blades. But your advice is good...

    Tim, thanks for the warning. Don't you think laurier-cerises leaves can be composted and then the compost used in the garden?

    Evelyn, the chicken was really good. I'm sorry I didn't take pictures. I got the recipe from an article Elaine Sciolino wrote for the NYT. It was a review of a new regional French cookbook.

  8. Ken, Yes they can be composted and then used, but stil not on the veg plot. Using your chipper/shredder will break them down more quickly too.. they stay forever solid if left to their own devices.

    Well established shrubs shouldn't suffer too badly if the compost is well mixed with other stuff. But I would still advise only using it around annuals and suchlike.

  9. Thanks Tim, I know from past experience that non-chipped "cherry" laurel leaves and twigs do last forever. We'll mix the chipped mulch with other compost and use it in the garden later, after it has degraded.


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