Friday, September 25, 2009

Market Day and .....

my basket was full. Amy's first comment was not to give the mum to anyone as it was a sign that there has been a death.

Florence, my neighbor, sells at the market each week her wonderful array of colors.

Friends meet and discuss the adventures of the day.

Some conversations are more animated!

It was a beautiful fall day, but difficult to decide whether to dress warm,

or cool.

If you are selling delicious chevre cheese, you must wear your heels.

However if you are buying, wear glittery comfort.

After you have purchased your cheese, visit the wine maker from our village for that perfect bottle of wine.

This gentleman was a little chilly.

Ah, but not being sure of the weather, this gentleman dressed for all.

Polka dots always make a day brighter.

Or maybe you wish to wear your tulle.

As is the style of the south, you may wish to dress in layers.

This lovely lady is always at the market selling the wines of her convent.

No matter your age,

you will always find your place at the market.

Wasn't it fun to have your morning coffee with me at the Wednesday market?
Listen to the markets sounds below. Join me on Saturday?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Des journées européenes du patrimoine

Everyone waits for the third weekend in September. There are discussions about where one will go. The streets fill on that Saturday and Sunday. The event? Many (I know, I was going to say "all", but as we know there are always exceptions!) of the public buildings are open free or at reduced cost to enter. On Friday night we talked with Amy and Matt's friend at dinner. Serge listed so many places to visit that it will take us the next couple of years.

Saturday morning we "had" to go to the market, if for no other reason than to have coffee and a treat. Yes, we visited Savarin and here are those delicacies. YUM!

That afternoon we visited the duchy in the neighboring village of Uzés. It played an important role in France. It is the first duchy and still is the residence of the Duke, who we happened to talk with upon entering. This duke was very important in the time of the kings. He was the one who announced, "The king is dead, long live the king." That is an important role. The most important member of the family to me was Anne du Mortenmart who was the first woman in France to get a driver's license and was later fined for speeding at 15 kilometers per hour. (Now how did they record that speed?)

The hike, no climb, no tortuous accent to the top of the tower was rewarded by an amazing view of the city. What fun it was to see from the sky places we had only known from the ground. The decent was again an adventure as two people could not pass each other on the stairs without one stepping into one of the three outlets on the way up or down.

Saturday evening a symphony concert was held at La Maison de la Pierre, house of stone, in our village. The Avignon symphony, conducted by American, Jonathon Schiffman, was wonderful and there was standing room only.

Sunday found us on the way to Orange. It is about 45 minutes north of us and an early Roman city. The Romans must have "roamed" this entire area as our village has the quarries for the Pont du Gard built in 19 AD and Orange has the most amazing theater, Théâtre Antique d'Orange built in the first centuryAD. How? I'll never know. The stage is immense. Plays were preformed using masks for different characters. One actor may play up to five roles in a play. Hand gestures were very important and the fold of the clothes meant different things. The actors were from the very lowest class, however, everyone attended these spectacles. Today, the theater is still used, especially for the opera season. I can't wait to go.

The entrance fee to each of these disappeared for the weekend.

Last week I read that this will be happening in the US next Saturday lead by the Smithsonian Magazine. Check this website for information on your town. There are a lot of free entries to amazing places and parks. Museum Day and National Public Lands Day

If you are in Europe the third weekend of September, remember to celebrate by visiting one of these or hundreds of other attractions.

Á bientôt,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm Tired But Not From........

No, it is not from picking grapes.....

It is not from cooking for 25 people a day.....

It is not from cleaning up my mess.....

It is not from all the dishes.....

It is not from all the recycling I accumulated.....

It is from spending 36 hours with a delightful couple from Lorraine,France who speak very little English and me trying to speak my limited French. Italians use their hands and so did I trying to explain what I meant. We did have a "good" conversation about Obama and Sarkozy. It would not have made the editorial columns. Mireille and Christian have gone onto Montpelier to visit their daughter.

I took a nap!

Back to the vineyards tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It Has Begun....

Well, the getting ready has begun and is done. The first call of the morning came from Amy and Matt in the vineyard. " Will you come out and help us take a grape sampling?" It was a gorgeous morning, therefore, how could we say no? We wondered through the vineyard each with a plastic bag in hand. Not looking at the grapes, we plucked randomly from the bunches, tasting along the way. These grapes would go to the oenologist to tell us when our picking should begin.

Stopping at our house, the neighbors gathered in the street to hear when the picking would begin. The giggles rose from the group and others stopped to know what was happening. Yes, the picking should begin on Thursday.

Our next adventure---or should I say chore, was to pull everything out of storage, clean and stack the crates ready to go on the truck for the vineyard.

First came the crates that will hold all of those juicy grapes as they are picked from the vines. They had to come up from the storage in the grenier (attic) to the top of the cuve (where the wine is made). Down a ladder they were passed and stacked in the courtyard ready for loading on the truck.

Next came the cleaning of the secateurs . Some had escaped cleaning last fall and needed to be refreshed.

A barrel had to be hoisted to the top of the cuve to be filled along with three others with wine waiting to be bottled. The vat that was emptied had to be cleaned in order that the grapes picked on Friday have a home. The larger concrete vats were also cleaned and a disinfectant put on then totally rinsed out.

It was a long day. We spilled a little wine, got a little wet, but accomplished a lot.

In the evening we returned to Amy's, not for work, but to play Mah Jongg!

On last Friday we picked the Roussanne which is a white grape. See Amy's blog, La to watch a video on the pressing. This is all sweet, sticky juice that the bees enjoyed.

Sunday we picked a few rows of grenache to make rosé. It will remain on the skins a very short time so that the color will be a wonderful pink/red. I have my glass ready. As you can see, my hands are acquiring the wonderful colors of the grape. Actually, they just look dirty.

Picking has been changed to Friday. Amy is going to Paris on Thursday for the party on launching "her" wine book. (It will be published in the US this fall in English.)

My recipes are gathered, the market visited, and cooking is taking place everyday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday we should have between 20 to 30 wonderful volunteers to provide a picnic lunch for in the vineyard. (Actually, we do it everyday.) As you can imagine, after a morning of picking, each one will be very hungry.

The weather is cooler, thank goodness. One more day and the rush begins!

Á bientôt,