27.04.2011 - 01.05.2011 20 °C
Thanks to Aunt Hélène's generosity with some of her young seedlings, and Aunt Claire's generosity with carefully planned sections of the yard, we started our Provencal garden in early May! We started with 20 tomato plants and 20 lettuce plants, two varieties of each kind for both the tomatoes and lettuce, from seeds that Aunt Hélène had collected from her own garden specimens. A real French garden!
Planting a garden sounded like a good idea when Aunt Hélène suggested it, but then suddenly, we were faced with the actual prospect of planting a garden. Where to start?!
First we headed to Castorama, a place like Home Depot in the states, to stock up on all those things we needed - like soil, "natural" plant food, and "natural" fertilizer - horse manure. Ahhh horse manure! (Does anyone remember when this was a polite exclamation in place of something else that only adults said?!)
Eric pulling the Castorama wagon carrying all of our loot
This outing reminded us of many trips that we made to Home Depot in Falls Church, Virginia, back when we were limited to container gardening on our balcony in Washington DC. However, we had to learn all the terms in French for the things we needed. Hélène, Claire, and the salespeople at Castorama were super-helpful in that regard.
At home, we assembled the very necessary garden tools, including shovels, watering cans, garden gloves, and a kneeling pad that we brought from the states (obviously a very necessary item when faced with serious international luggage restrictions).
Here's the first garden plot, by the BBQ in the back yard, which was all lovely grass and obviously no weeds when we started
The Claw, a truly valuable instrument in the rocky fields of "Roquefort-les-Pins"
Here's the first plot of tomato and lettuce plants, with the carefully placed batons or trellis sticks for support
Truth be told, Eric ended up doing most of the heavy lifting, or digging - planting a garden is really hard work!
For the second plot, in the very back of the yard, Fanette decided to get involved in the gardening process. Being a terrier, she has a natural propensity toward digging, which isn't always helpful when trying to plant a functional garden. But she's super-cute and entertaining.
Planting the tomato plants
Gardening is serious business!
Fanette surveys the finished plot
We took a break for a family lunch with Marc's father Pierre, who traveled all the way from Grenoble for Eric's famous BBQ and Claire's famous healthy "frites" or French fries. Of course, the French fries are better in France, right?!
Fanette licks her lips in anticipation
"Meat on a stick"
Frites! Finally the adults get to have them too
Some healthy salad options too
For the cheese course, Fanette au Rustique
And of course, cake and fruit for dessert
Time for a self-portrait
Pierre obviously shares the same fondness we all have for Fanette
I also did a mini-demonstration of yogurt-making with my new yogurt maker. It's pretty easy to make yogurt, but also very easy to buy it.
First boil about 5 cups or 1 liter of milk… after it boils, you let it cool and stir in one small cup of yogurt (about 3/4 cup)
Then pour the mixture into the pots...
put the pots into the yogurt maker...
and cook for about eight hours
After which you have solidified yogurt
The yogurt goes in the fridge overnight, and it's ready the next day
In the midst of all this gardening, yogurt-making, and visiting with family, we also managed to hit the local "Auto-Moto-Retro" antique car show. We saw quite a few interesting sights at the expo, which took place where the Vide Grenier or French Yard Sale occurred, and where everything else here in Roquefort-les-Pins seems to happen.
Boy these old cars go fast!
Finally, I share my favorite random shots in town and around the house. The flowers and vegetables are so pretty this time of year. I hope you are enjoying reading about our adventures in France!
Frisee in the market