23 March 2023

Mars 2015 (3)

In March 2015, I went to North Carolina. I'm not sure why I went. It was just time. A few days after my arrival, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She lived for three more years, and I traveled to N.C. again later in 2015 as well as four more times before she died in 2018. I went there once more in 2019. And that was the last time. Now I'm really starting to wonder if I'll be able to go there again. I hope I will be able to.

One of the parts of such travel that I always enjoyed was the time I spent in Paris on my way to the U.S. Another was the actual time I got to spend in N.C. I never enjoyed flying on jet planes, even though I've flown across the Atlantic Ocean about 90 times in my life. That 45 or so round-trips, starting in 1969. That would be 50 years of flying back and forth.

I wrote about my trips from Saint-Aignan via Paris to N.C. in this March 2015 blog post. I had walked from the train station to the Marais neighborhood on the Right Bank because I wanted to have lunch over there. The restaurant I had chosen turned out to be closed. I found another one, though. That's it in the two photos below.

22 March 2023

Mars 2015 (2)

Pictures from March 2015. The big photo shows Bert the 17-year-old black cat. He still prowls and hunts. Yesterday he brought us two mice. The back yard is his domain at this time of the year. I guess I should have cleaned the window before I took this picture of him. The other photos show plants as they look in March here in Saint-Aignan. And other life forms. What's that old riddle? Why did the earthworm cross the road?

21 March 2023

Mars 2008 (3)

Just photos today. These are more from early March, 2008.

20 March 2023

Mars 2015 (1)

Having some difficulties with Blogger this morning. The software has crashed two times
as I've been trying to put a post together. These photos are all from March 2015.

  Sunrise                        Sunset

Châteauvieux, a wine village five miles from our house

  The back gate . . . . . . . . . . .  and beyond

19 March 2023

Mars 2008 (2)

Here are some more early bloomers around our yard or in neighbors' yards.
I took these photos on March 2, 2008. We were having an early spring.

An ornamental cherry tree                                Chaenomeles japonica (Japanese quince)

Dandelion                          Forsythia                          Daffodils

18 March 2023


Here in northern France we've been getting some much-needed rainfall recently. We also get some pretty skies as a result. This was yesterday afternoon. I took the two photos above from the windows of our house.

Yesterday's lunch was fish (lieu noir — European pollock) fillets dusted with corn meal and baked in the oven. It was also fresh broccoli florets tossed in olive oil and dusted with spices (smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper) and roasted in the oven. To complete the meal, I made tartar sauce and Walt made pommes frites.

17 March 2023

Mars 2008 (1)

Flowers like the ones in my photos below come up in our yard in March every year. These are some I photographed on March 1, 2008. When we first came to live here, in 2003, I asked the woman we bought our house from if she knew why so many primroses (primevères in French) came up spontaneously here in spring. She said that for years she bought little pots of primroses in early spring, or received them as gifts. After they finished flowering, she threw the little balls of soil that the plants grew in on the ground on the north side of the house. And then they started coming up every year at the end of winter. Some years, the flowers are spectacular.

16 March 2023

Mars 2004 (2)

We did a little bit of sightseeing when our friend Sue was here for a week in March 2004, but not a lot. I think we just didn't want to drive around a lot. Sue had visited the Loire Valley in the year 2000. We stayed close to Saint-Aignan. These are some of the sights we did see. Not one was farther than 25 miles from our house.

Château de la Bourdaisière                     Château d'Amboise            

Our "château" from across the Renaudière vineyard outside Saint-Aignan

Château de Montpoupon                     Château de Saint-Aignan

15 March 2023

Mars 2004 (1)

It was the middle of March in 2004 and it was our first spring season in Saint-Aignan — we had moved into our house in June 2003. Would that all months of March would have at least a few days like this. Not so much this year...

The ornamental cherry tree in front of the house was in full bloom. This year, we're still waiting. Our dog Collette, 12 years old at the time, was learning to appreciate the vineyard and going for walks without a leash.

Our friend Sue had come from Madrid, where she was spending a few months in a Spanish-language program, to spend a week in Saint-Aignan. We were able to enjoy food, drink, and sunshine out in the back yard

The water level in the Cher river was fairly high, and it was primrose season in the yard and in the local open-air markets. We had never experienced March in Saint-Aignan before.

14 March 2023

« Dos » de cabillaud au beurre blanc

Cabillaud [kah-bee-yoh] is French for cod or codfish. Dos [doh] is "the back" as in "dorsal" — but what is the dorsal part of the codfish called in English? Some translations I've seen just call it the fillet or filet. Others call it the "cod loin" or cod loin filet. It's a thick slab of white fish flesh that is boneless and easy to cook. It's not necessarily easy to get the cod filet out of the pan that you've cooked it in, however. It tends to fall apart when it's cooked.

In one of Jacques Pépin's books, Happy Cooking! (1994), there's a recipe for "codfish flakes" — Jacques writes that he likes scrod, haddock, and pollock but his favorite member of this family of fishes is cod, especially when it is presented in thick, heavy white fillets. "Cod fillets tend to separate into beautiful flakes as they cook," he adds.

I decided to cook the dos de cabillaud in a steamer. First I steamed some little potatoes and some broccoli florets. I kept them in a warm oven while the fish steamed.

To flavor the fish and vegetables, I made what is called un beurre blanc — a butter sauce made with white wine, either vinegar or lemon juice, butter, and fresh herbs (parsley or tarragon). I added capers this time. There's a recipe for beurre blanc in this post of mine from a few years ago.