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 dozen or so, 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...


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

We Have Arrived

It always takes a few days when we arrive in Cotignac, to really feel like we have arrived.  Today, the fourth day here feels like the soul has finally reunited with the body and we are now able to move whole, cogent and deliberate.

As always, the lushness that surrounds us humbles.  For a Canadian the figs, elderberries and olives across from the balcony make for a considerable view.

So here we are, HOME.  Home is where Vlad is, where my body and soul meet, where I am present and am able to hear the sweet noise of children's play, the faraway bark of the neighbor's hounds and the constant dance of the rushing water.

Grateful Stella

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stella en Provence

Stella, our apartment in Provence is not booked between November 2015 and April 2016.  These are the low season months and although it's not hot outside, it can be warm,  in the +10 degrees.  In fact, in January this year, Cotignacéens were eating at the outside tables on the square!

There are several advantages to renting at this time of year:

  1. Flying is less expensive
  2. There are less tourists
  3. Normally pleasant sweater weather, great for car travel
  4. Get away from the cold North American winters
  5. The pace is slower, more relaxed
  6. And, rents are cheaper!
Anyone booking two or more weeks can get a discount!  At these times of year,  the rent varies between 650 and 700$/week but for anyone wanting say, a month could pay considerably less than the weekly rate...

Go over and have a look... you may decide that spending a month in Cotignac is just what the doctor ordered.

We are leaving soon, and will be there till the end of October.



Friday, August 7, 2015

Who's Inspired Piece of Writing Was This?

Beautiful quote which is associated with Meryl Streep but is actually from the pen of Portuguese self-help author/life coach José Micard Teixeira – not a woman, and not an elder, but a younger man who is suddenly becoming the “not Streep” Internet celebrity of the month.
 I am posting this because I believe that people who originate ideas should be recognized.  The quote is fantastic!  I am printing it out and framing it to remind myself that to be true to myself is the greatest gift I can give myself.

Have a great day!