Monday, November 30, 2015

Dawn to dusk at the shore. . . . . . .

Early morning. . . . . . sun coming up over the Atlantic.
View from the hotel balcony.
A few fishermen and beach strollers already out on the sand.
One lone fishing boat trawling just off the shoreline. . . . . 
fresh catch, and breakfast for many gulls and pelicans.

View south toward Kure Beach and pier.

Lots of surfers enjoying the winter waves.

Looking across the pond to my homeland.

Afternoon beach walk to gather some shells.

Sunset came early after beautiful warm days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday were close
 to perfect weatherwise, perhaps the best beach weekend ever for us this late in the year.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving. . . . . . . . . .

                 TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

My kitchen duties are just about zero this year - we're eating out!
I hope your day is full of great moments as you feast together and
 recall the reason for this special American tradition.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Honor System. . . . . . .

In a small French village such as Caunes-Minervois where my brother
lives, things stopped me in my tracks during walks along the narrow
 winding streets.
The 'honor system' is one which makes me smile.
I recalled this doorway from my former visits, always something on offer - veggies
 or fruits - sitting outside with the scale at the ready to weigh some freshly
 harvested bounty from a nearby garden or allotment. 
On this particular day in October there were apples and tomatoes. 
Weigh, put into your market basket, leave the money.
Honesty counts!
Many village houses sit right on the street such as this one. They may have some 
type of garden area in the back, if not they can rent an allotment space to grow
vegetables, fruits and flowers.

  A large allotment near the 9th Century abbey in Caunes - each day we saw people
 working in the October sunshine.

My brother's front door, original to the house I believe, opens onto a beautiful
 two level garden - quite unusual in a small village. It was the corn merchant's house
 and is 200 years old.

Mostly all vegetables for the family are grown on the lower level garden - these
 photos show what was still available (plus potatoes and salad greens) during
 our October visit. My brother has become quite the gardener.

All around the village are vineyards and rolling countryside. . . . . .and beyond,
 the Montagne Noire (Black Mountain), an area rich in Cathar history.

Buildings are old, both the country and village houses. Who knows what interesting
 homes and gardens are behind lovely old gates one passes on a walk.

Caune's river, the Argent Double, almost dry in October, did have some
 high water marks on the walls - I've never visited when it's been that wet
 or seen water gushing under the ancient bridge.

The village is quiet, peaceful and home to approximately 1500 people. 
I think the honor system works well in this setting.

Could I live in a small place such at this? 
I look at the thousands of cars now clogging the roads where I live, the
 constant movement of people relocating to the city and surrounding suburbs,
 the massive push for construction - more office buildings, shopping centers,
 apartments and houses.
Now, at this time of life, I'm pretty sure I could!

This will be my final post on our time in the village of Caunes-Minervois.
 I do still have lots to share from other beautiful places in France. . . . . .will
 be working those soon.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sunlight and shadows. . . . . . .

On this lovely Monday morning. . . . . . . . . . 
. . . . . . . after our first really cold night of the season, we
 awoke to brilliant sunshine. 

A new week starting brightly. 
A new week of hope.
A new week of thanks.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Eastgate Pond - reflections for this week. . . . . . .

This week has been a sad one. . . . . for me, for you, for people everywhere, for the world.
 I don't need to reiterate the reasons, we all know what they are.
After picking up a few more groceries yesterday, I stepped away from the traffic and
 noise and walked through the almost silent park before heading home. 
The bright sun was starting its descent as it was just after 4 o'clock.
I was amazed and thrilled to see there was still color in the trees, color reflected 
in even deeper hues in the pond. The sky, though blue, was even bluer below
 the trees. It shimmered in the placid cobalt water and in large puddles remaining
 from the recent rains. The Canada geese and ducks remained in shallow water
 at the far reaches of the pond, unusual as the geese always come closer,
 hoping for tidbits of course, when they see people on the walkway. They preferred
 to be alone late in the afternoon.
 I tried to capture the colors best I could with my aging point and shoot Olympus. 
I feel we all need a little color to cheer us this weekend and Nature 
came through, lifting my spirits in a special way as I took the photos.
Hope they bring good feelings to you also.

These links are to my posts from the pond last January - there you can see the geese and mallards on really cold, icy days.

I hope this weekend will be a good one for everyone. Hugs.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ready to eat this weekend. . . . . . . . .

I thought perhaps, with the pre-Thanksgiving weekend upon us, we need to think about 
what to eat. After all, most of you here in the US will be out shopping for your
big meal on Thursday, additional cooking at home may not be something
 you plan this weekend.

I also believe we all need some cheering up and comfort food often helps.
What could be better than sharing food photos I took in France last month.
There, as in much of Europe, the outdoor and indoor markets are remarkable
 places abundant in everything 'gastronomique'.
Copious amounts of ready-to-cook and already cooked foods, overflow from
 market baskets, crates, counters, bakeries, and street vendors ovens.
One could never go hungry here, and one doesn't have to think that only the
home kitchen can produce great tasting, healthy food!
All these wonderful foods were top quality - let's face it, the French know 
food, how to choose the ingredients, preparation, cooking, serving.
The actual eating is like theatre, with a great glass of wine - the final act lasts
 long, with appetite satiated, company enjoyed whether with one special person
or a great group of family or friends.

Yes, I have to repeat, the French know their food and we thank them 
for educating us when it comes to cooking and eating.
Bon appétit!

I just know you found something here you would like to get your hands on!
 Whether you want to fill your market basket with the veggies and cook from scratch,
 or just grab one of those beautiful pastries calling to you from the pâtisserie
display, everything will be fresh, flavorful and perfect.

After all - this is France and they know food.