Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fetching Water

While at home in France, we are privileged to access crystalline spring water to drink from the fountain in our street. The fountain is actually an old lavoir where the women on our street took their laundry to wash.  The slightly sloped edges of the pool were used to rub away stains and the dirty water was washed away in the stream that passes in front of our balcony.

Fortunately, there is no longer any laundry being done at the fountain and the water, tested yearly, is as clean as potable as bottled Evian.

Every few days, we make the short trip up the slope to the fountain across our tiny street and collect water.

The spirit lifts drinking it.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fairies and Fig Jam

I have an understanding with my neighbor Manuel.  I get to pick all the figs off of the tree at the far end of his property and just across the stream from ours and I give him fig jam.  Of course, it's not a completely mutually beneficial understanding because he gives me olive oil from his olive grove too.
I cut figs in half because I like large pieces on my buttered baguette.
About 3 lbs of figs to 1 kilo of sugar.
Add sugar and let macerate overnight.
I cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour and add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract at the end.
I use dishwasher-cleaned Bonne Maman jam jars.

So I am completely beholden to Manuel and sing his praises to any and all who will hear them.  Can you believe it? The fig jam is from the fig tree across the stream, about 3 meters away from our balcony as is the olive oil...  Thyme, rosemary and bay leaves also grow on our property... How's that for eating what grows around you?

So, I have an olive oil and fig fairy in Cotignac and I have a vegetable fairy at home in Canada (my sister D).

Twin blessings.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Triplet September 2015

Here is what is planned.  As for what will happen, we will see.

We are planning a four-night triplet heavy with objectives:
  1. FAMILY: to see Lucie, my father's deceased cousin's wife and her children in Darmannes (and to drink some great champagne which flows abundantly in the Champagne Ardennes region)
  2. CULTURE: to visit Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte
  3. FAMILY HISTORY: to visit the French/Canadian museum and area from which a great number of French men and women emigrated to Canada in the 17th century, among which, a few dozen are my ancestors...

4. BEAUTY/SPIRITUALITY: Just because I love it, we are revisiting Chartres cathedral on the way back home

Photo via
5. CHATEAU LIVING: We will have the good fortune to sleep in a couple chateaux whilst traveling
Interesting non?,  but even more so because my sister will be visiting where the aforementioned ancestors arrived and thrived in the province of Québec on the north and the south shores of the St. Lawrence weeks after we've completed our triplet.

Among the heroic, adventurous motley crew that composes our French ancestry are a dozen or so 'Filles du Roy' who, financed by King Louis XIV, crossed the Atlantic to found hearth and home in the wilds of Nouvelle France.

Anne Roy, Marguerite Lamirault, Anne LePeuvrier, Anne Lagou, Marguerite Pasquier, Catherine de Baillon, Marguerite Laverdure, Marie Gertrude Petit, Louise Gargottin, Jeanne Savonnet, Jeanne Chevalier, Marie Martine Crosnier...