14 December 2011

December storms and menus

We are still having 40 to 50 mph winds this morning. Hard rain beating against the roof and the skylight windows woke me up at about 4:00 a.m. I just watched the weather report on TéléMatin. This wind is supposed to continue through the day, with bands of rain sweeping through.

Yesterday we decided to go ahead and go out shopping despite the weather. In fact, by 10:00 the wind and rain seemed to have died down. Fat, wind-driven drops of rain started falling again just as we pulled out of the driveway, and by the time we got over to the Intermarché across the river the wind had picked up again and "ropes of rain" were coming down, as they say in French. We had to run from the car to the entrance of the supermarket.

Here's the house all closed up against the wind and rain.
It's nice having shutters to protect the windows.

Callie got just a short walk in the morning. She doesn't really like going out in the rain, especially when the wind is strong. We went a couple of hundred yards out into the vineyard, and then she turned and looked at me inquisitively. "Do you want to go back home?" I asked her. She ran and jumped up on me, and then took off flying down the dirt road toward the house.

Dead leaves were blowing around all through the vineyard.
I like how they gather in the puddles and pot holes
along the gravel road.

At Intermarché, the parking lot and the aisles were full of people wearing rain gear. I was glad I'd decided to wear my hooded raincoat for the excursion. The reason for the trip was that there were a few things we really needed, and then there were some things on special that we didn't want to miss out on.

One thing we bought was a coq — a big rooster — that weighs just over 6 lbs. Coqs were on sale for 3.75 euros a kilo — that's 1.70 euros/lb. What I bought says « coq à braiser » on the label — it needs braising rather than just roasting. My reason for buying it is that we haven't had coq au vin for quite a while, and it's nice once in a while to make the dish using a real coq and not just a regular chicken. The texture of the meat is entirely different. Into the freezer it will go and we won't cook it until January.

Walt put up some Christmas lights a couple of days ago.

Another thing we got was a one-kilo piece of boneless veal shoulder. Walt said he really wanted to have blanquette de veau, which is one of the classics of French cooking. I like to make blanquette with veal shoulder, which is less fatty than the pieces of breast and neck that often go into the dish. Rolled and tied boneless veal shoulder roasts were on sale at 9.90 euros per kilo, or 4.50 euros/lb. I'm going to cook that this morning. We've eaten fish every day since last Saturday, so we are ready for a change of diet.

Here's the weather forecaster delivering the bad news
for the afternoon. « Grésil » is sleet or ice pellets.

The hard rain stopped falling while we were in the supermarket, but by the time we got through the checkout line we saw and heard that it had started up again. The supermarkets and other outlying stores here have uninsulated sheet-metal rooftops with skylights, and big heavy raindrops make a real racket falling on them. We laughed and told the cashier we gotten wet on the way into the store and would be getting wet again on the way out. Such was your destiny today, she said with a smile.

So far the house is weathering the storms just fine.

The weather report says we'll get more than an inch of rain with winds over 60 mph tomorrow night and Friday morning. Something to look forward to...


  1. I don't understand - we awoke to sunshine and a clear blue sky. If the winds were warm (which they definitely aren't) they would be zephyrs.

    who would have tought we are only an hour away - and have a forecast for the weather you're having?

  2. The sun is out here now too, Simon, but we're having squalls. We're farther north than you are. I guess that's the explanation. And the winds are not cold at all. A morning temperature of 10ºC in mid-December qualifies as warm in my book.

    Glad you are enjoying sunny weather down south! They don't call it the Sud-Touraine for nothing.

  3. me and my big mouth.....

    The weather has arrived. It's still (just) warm enough to be ouside without long sleeves cleaning paintbrushes, but that won't last much longer.

  4. Ken

    Nice pic of the front of the house.When you click on it to enlarge, it looks like a painting, especially with Callie in it :-)

  5. Ken, The Beaver is right! The house looks so cosy and inviting. Genuine picture postcard material !... Now there's an idea: Why don't you turn it into a Christmas card?! Martine

  6. Starman, the mistral wind only blows in Provence and down the Rhône valley. There's no mistral right now, according to the weather map I posted. These winds are coming in off the Atlantic. It just started raining and blowing again.

  7. I love your house, Ken, inside and out!

    Walt did a great job on the hedge, as usual.

  8. The Beaver and the Ladybird, j'ai appliqué avec Photoshop un effet soi-disant artistique à cette photo de la maison parce que l'orginale était, forcément étant donné le peu de lumière que nous avons ces jours-ci, floue !

    Hi BettyAnn, Walt did a great job on the hedge but the work nearly did him in this year. He's all better now though. I hope you are well.


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