Saturday, July 12, 2014


We enjoyed another excellent meal with cousins JP and Odile last week. A feast for the eyes as well as the palate! There is just nothing better than Family and Friends and French Food!

To begin Odile presented a beautiful Saumon Terrine on a bed of Water Cress with homegrown cherry tomatoes and chives. You might be thinking this is too beautiful to eat... but it tasted even better than it looked.

Homemade aiole and mayonaise sauces were the perfect accompaniment to the delicate flavors of the terrine.

Roasted Lamb... exquisite! Green beans and Butter beans (haricot verte et haricot buerre) as typical  side dishes for lamb in this region. I almost forgot to take a photo.. apologizes for the less than tidy plate!

Cheese course. We both love the variety as well as the idea of a small delicious savory bite of cheese at the end of a meal.

Dessert, compliments of Georgette. Her famous Pomme Crumble. We can't seem to get enough of this and now I have the recipe... if you are interested leave a comment. Oh, and such sweet people, they remembered my birthday!

I am making this very soon!

Thank you for another delicious meal and your friendship, mes cousin!

Family is everything, don't you agree?

And if you have thanks for reading...

Au revior.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Shade Garden

 So much has happened in this new space and yet there is much more work scheduled. Here we used old roof times to outline the pathway from the courtyard into the garden.  The roses we transplanted from the kitchen garden septic project are doing quite well and showing new leaves and blooms. The wood chips hide the weed-cloth and hopefully the weeds will cooperate.

The path is a generous 1 metre wide - or about 44 inches. A white landscape cloth will cover the pathway and topped with gravel. We have selected the color - a mix of soft pale colors in cream, tan and yellow.

That enormous roll of hay in this photo will be used to mulch around the plants. Hopefully this will help keep some of the most vigorous weeds from getting another toe-hold.

That patch of white is shards of thin cement broken and used as "fill", it came from the roofing material on the hutches. This is where one bank of the rabbit house stood. This small space will be leveled and also covered in the same gravel.
You can see the outline of the path leading off to the left where we will place a small table and a chair or two. A little private corner for reading or just contemplating the garden.

Or maybe a park bench or lounge chair what do you think? In the center is a red rose that is either a rambler or a climber I haven't figured it out yet. The wisteria is along the fence and is blooming for the second time since April! Gotta love it's enthusiasm. We used large stones to create a border and filled it with one layer of the hay mulch. To help you orientate - that corner of the barn faces South.

This is a long view looking of the same corner. At the foreground is a small bench made from "found" materials - gotta love a farm!
The un-planted area is still being planned. I would love to hear about your ideas for this area feel free to leave a comment. Currently it gets dappled sun until about 2pm then some sun,

Little bench on the lower left, hay mulch and stone border. We trimmed back all the bushes and plants and they are rewarding us with new leaves. It was a solid mass, no distinction between the trees or bushes.

I just love this little bench! We've had rain nearly every afternoon since the hay mulch was laid I'll have to see if it is time to add another layer.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

End of an Era

Cousin Joseph raised rabbits for many, many years. Since his death the cages have sat empty a bit of a sad reminder of his absence. Two banks nestled under large shade trees, one with 18 cages and the other with 10 larger compartments. Substantially built, the top panels plus the floor, back and two sides were cement and the doors were heavy steel mesh. 

 Think Tinker-Toys, modular units that interlock. The structures were stable and well covered to protect the animals from any weather. Joseph tended to them faithfully.

A favorite cousin opted to take one set one to her nearby dairy farm. She and her son drove over one afternoon and within an hour they had dismantled and loaded the sections into their small truck.

A few days later an American ex-pat friend arrived with her neighbor ready to take the second bank of cages home.

We have decided to reclaim this large shady area for a garden. After several decades of housing rabbits it is certain to be fertile! Stay tuned to see what happens next.

And if you have thanks for reading.

Au revior.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Antin Jardin

Early this spring a cousin and I visited a local garden near Antin. A delightful family from Holland purchased the property many years ago and have painstakingly created a beautiful garden. They open it once a year to the public and needless to say the locals come in droves. The design is completely natural using the slopes and creek and existing trees to define sections. This small vignette has an old plow in the middle and looks surprisingly like a crane, wings spread ready for flight.

Quite different from manicured gardens in California this garden looks like people live here and enjoy it on a daily basis. Found objects are used to delineate spaces, chairs and benches welcome the visitor to relax and contemplate nature.

 I loved the use of old roof tiles to create this edge of a walkway. It is the perfect solution in one of my own gardens. Don't be surprised to see roof tiles in a future post!
There are no poisons used to discourage vegetation in unwanted spots. A hoe a trowel or a hour or two after a good rain and weeds are under control.

Near the above ground pool the tiles were used to stabilize that slope, to maintain it the gardeners incorporated plants with deep roots.

This is a long view of their vegetable garden with companion plants and flowers.

They have transformed a outbuilding into a hot house where they propagate all their plants.

One of my favorite areas was full of roses and other aromatics.

Next is a peek of a living arbor. Amazing! Eucalyptus saplings are being trained into a high arch to support roses.

The roses were propagated from a single cutting. And to bring the story full circle the cutting came from the same cousin with whom I toured the garden!

And if you have thanks for reading.

Au revior

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

More Clean-Up!

Behind the rough cut planks is a space about 10 feet. The original limestone wall was probably built in the 1800's. At one time those wall planks marched across the width of the space and enclosed a pigeon house. Also called a Pigeonnier, common in this area of France it is a small stand alone building often with a peaked roof. If you Google it you'll see how important the pigeon business was to the local commerce. No longer needed for communication or food the Pigeonniers are no longer in use but charming just the same.
This pigeon house lost it charm at least a century ago.

After the pigeons came the chickens. A ladder was built and the chickens climbed up each night and came down each morning... it must have been quite a chore to collect the eggs.

Here is the opposite end of the space... originally storage for feed and hay for the farm animals. Once there were no longer pigs, cows, horses and sheep it was mostly abandoned... an enormous empty space. In need of a lot of cleaning!

 Piles and stacks of scrap wood... and that plank wall came out. Large sections of the floor were beyond repair. About a third of those floor planks will be replaced... but that's is for another time.

And the wood kept coming out, the length of the barn is easily 70 feet. Nearly all the wood had dry rot or had been damaged by the Bore Beetle, a common enemy of wood in this area. Once all the wood was piled out in the field it was burned.
Next week the face of the barn will get a new coat of plaster, stay tuned!
And if you have thanks for reading...

Au revoir,