Posts Tagged ‘France’

Lavender is one of my favorite scents although many scents that advertise themselves as lavender don’t really make the scent grade. They just smell artificial. One year when in Provence, my sister-in-law, our younger daughter, and I took a road trip to an area where the lavender grew. It had been harvested but the scent still lingered everywhere. I gleaned a number of stalks at the end of the rows and managed, through packing them in bubble wrap at the top of my checked bag, to get them home mostly intact.

The trip was memorable in other ways as we were in a Mini Cooper convertible with my daughter and my s-i-l’s large Rhodesian Ridgeback male in the back. Every time we hit a speed bump, they levitated. If the top was up, the dog was vying with my daughter for the most direct line to the air conditioning as it was a hot summer. It was quite funny.

I thought where we lived now in Arizona would be close enough in temperature and humidity (or lack thereof) to grow lavender but after a few failed attempts, I found out that there are three types: English, French, and Spanish and in our particular area, Spanish lavender is the way to go. Live and learn but take time to smell the lavender this week.

One Word Sunday…matching

Cellpic Sunday 7.3.22

Due to my lack of good tagging, I’m not sure where in northeastern France this church door was located but who cares? It looks heavenly anywhere.

We stopped the car for this shot so I couldn’t do anything about the angle of the sun and its effect on my photo. The door’s hard to see but the rest looks pretty good.

We spotted this establishment on our way back from our wonderful day at a stage of the 2014 Tour de France, a stage that ended on the heart-taxing, back-breaking steepness of La Planche des Belles Filles. Imagine cycling at professional speed for 150 kilometers or so, then going steadily uphill for about 7k only to face a short section of 22-28 degrees where you need to be pushing hard to win the stage! It was hard enough walking all the distance. We noticed this bar-restaurant particularly because Bruno is our brother-in-law’s name. On a nice day it would be fun to sit outside eating and drinking.

A folk etymology, in contrast, holds that the mountain took its name from the time of the Thirty Years’ War. According to legend, young women from Plancher-les-Mines fled into the mountains to escape Swedish mercenaries as they feared being raped and massacred. Rather than surrender, they decided to commit suicide and jumped into a lake far below. One of the soldiers then took a board on which, with his dagger, he engraved an epitaph for the “beautiful girls”. A wooden statue, created by a local artist, is a reminder of the legend. Wikipedia

Very early tomorrow morning we’ll be out in the dark heading for California and our new grandson (and our daughter and son-in-law too naturally.) I’m not sure whether I’ll be posting or not but if not, you’ll know why not. 🙂

Thursday Doors 4/21/22

A number of years ago we while visiting my sister-in-law and brother-in-law we were able to make arrangements to meet an English blogger we knew from participation in the same weekly writing challenge and her husband. At that time, they spent the summer barging on French rivers and were gracious enough to invite us to meet them. We spend a lovely day on the river with them. Here’s a view from the boat and a door(way) which does not drop you into the water if you go through it even though it looks that way. You just end up on the deck of the boat.

If you travel by river, you’ll often have to go through a lock which is really just a door on the water.

If you’d like to read the original posts about the visit and river trip, you’ll find them here and here and you’ll find a lot more photos of the trip as well. Sandra’s also an accomplished writer (we met through Friday Fictioneers, where we told stories of 100 words based on the photo of the week) and her site is here, where you can also click on a link to read about their barging experiences.

Finally, here’s an unusual door, the door to an abandoned wasps’ nest. Isn’t the nest beautiful? I was happy that the wasps were no longer there and in France, if wasps decide to take up residence in your house or garage, it’s against the law to spray them. You have to call the fire department to come and take care of them.

Thursday Doors 4.14.22

I’m thrilled and thankful to report that we are now grandparents. Wow, does that sound old! 😁 Our first grandchild/grandson was both last night. ❤️❤️❤️. Much rejoicing here. God is good.

Ann-Christine has set us a most enjoyable challenge this week, looking for curves…except that there are so many choices!! I just started scrolling through my photos and picked some of the first examples I found that I liked. Then I stopped and went back to watching Six Nations Rugby Super Saturday games (writing this on Saturday.) Let me take you through some of natures curves, as I don’t have all the many of my own to share. 🙂

In our bones we need the natural curves of hills, the scent of chaparral, the whisper of pines, the possibility of wildness. Richard Louv

I could smell the curves of the river beyond the dusk and I saw the last light supine and tranquil upon tide flats like pieces of broken mirror, then beyond them lights began in the pale clear air, trembling a little like butterflies hovering a long way off. – William Faulkner

In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves. ~Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

As all curves have reference to their centres or foci, so all beauty of character has reference to the soul, and is a graceful gesture of recognition or waving of the body toward it. Henry David Thoreau

Marsha at Always Write has a Wednesday-Tuesday challenge going on, this week’s sense being taste. Quotes and food are a great combination and there are thousands of quotes about food to be easily found on the internet. I like this one to start:

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

I love fresh fruit, especially berries. I like them on my homemade granola, directly in my mouth, and in the case of blueberries, in my blueberry crisp, the latter a dessert often requested by family. Eating them in any form makes me berry merry. 🙂 (Or, if you’re in Britain, perhaps it makes you Mary Berry!)

This granola recipe comes from my uncle Jerry, well-known as a watercolor artist. That second link will take you to images of his work. But I think this granola recipe is just as much a work of art.

Jerry’s Granola

7-8 cups oats (not quick oats

1 cup each of these raw nuts: sunflower seeds, chopped cashews, chopped pecans, and chopped almonds (I recently used raw slivered almonds and loved the results.)

1 cup honey

1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Melt butter and honey together and pour over oats and nuts.  Mix well.

Spread in a sheet pan with sides.

Stir every 10 minutes until mix is browned a bit.

If you want to add raisins or other dried fruit, add once you’ve put the mix in a large bowl (or bowls) to cool.  Otherwise they’ll get too done.

Enjoy!  Oats are quite good for you as are nuts, so enjoy with the milk or yogurt of your choice or as is for snacking.

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
― Ruth Reichl

Our younger daughter spent some time in Japan years ago and quite some time learning Japanese. Okonomiyaki is a fantastic food taste from Japan, sort of a Japanese omelet or maybe more like a frittata. This one from Chicago’s famous Girl and the Goat was fabulous! You can read my post about it as well as find a link to a recipe here.

It’s really difficult to know where else to go with a food/taste topic as I’ve had so much great food and made some myself. Not that I create recipes but I’ve managed to find a few good ones over the years. I learned how to make homemade ravioli and my signature dish, my husband’s term for the meal you use to “seal the deal”, is probably spaghetti carbonara. In the mid-seventies between my junior and senior years in college, I spent almost an entire year in Europe. While in Brindisi, Italy on our way to Greece, the woman I was traveling with and I met two Italian men. I think they might have been expecting more from the encounter than they got, but I got spaghetti carbonara for dinner and my life was never the same. 🙂 (The highlighted link will give you more of the story but also the recipe.)

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

I have to agree, although my choice is dark chocolate. One of the things I love about France and Europe in general is that desserts are just sweet enough to add to the taste but not overwhelm the way they often are in the U.S. Whipped cream is cream that’s whipped, not cream whipped with lots of sugar. Pastries in France are amazing (and of course the bread is too.) Or you can sit somewhere like this (we did)…

© janet m. webb

…and enjoy a regional salad like this (different location, though.)

© janet m. webb

For some reason, I’m now thinking about heating up the quiche I made last night and seeing what sort of salad a/o veggies I have to go with it. We have some lovely Portuguese red open and dark chocolate for dessert. Cheers and one final quote:

“Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.”
― Joss Whedon

for Six Word Saturday, Squares: trees, and Life in Colour: blue

*Tree and a blue French sky

Early this morning we’ll be on our way to Wyoming for a very welcome vacation, so I’ll be taking a hiatus for several weeks. The break’s due to two factors: taking time to enjoy time off and the fact that we have no internet while there. I can get email and check online a bit but I won’t be posting or looking at posts. You’ll of course read and see all about it when I get back. In the meantime, thanks for being there and enjoy your time while I’m away.

We’ve done some traveling this month and this week so for our final photo, let’s hop back to the lovely village of Plombières-les-Bains. If you’ve been following my blog for some years, you’ve seen and read about this but just a brief review. Les Bains means “the baths”, referring to the hot water springs discovered by the Romans. We didn’t try the baths (really, really hot water just doesn’t sound exciting in the middle of a hot summer), but we returned a number of times to enjoy the various things to see and eat. This is a glimpse of a garden we saw while climbing one set of the steep steps leading from the main commercial part of the city to where our vehicle was parked on a much higher street. With great exercise comes great beauty, Grasshopper.

Becky and Jude, thanks for hostessing these two challenges once again. It’s been fun.

We’ve all had a rough year, so let’s sit down at a table in France to enjoy this delicious yet light dessert which just happens to have bright pink sauce and fits beautifully into a square. It may look small, but don’t be fooled. It’s a magical dessert that will be just enough for everyone.

for Squares: bright and Life in Colour: pink

for Six Word Saturday, Life in Colour: pink, and Squares: bright

(I’ll be road tripping today so excuse late responses and visits. I’m off to Tucson to meet another blogger named Lisa, We’re going to visit Sweetwater Wetlands, have tea at a new-to-me tea house, and lunch somewhere so I’m sure thesre will be some photos to share. I hope all your weekends are off to a grand start.)