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Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting Settled in Martizay, France


My first summer in France--it's positively breath-taking and, from what I under-stand, the best summer they've had since I first arrived in western Europe in October 2006. Everywhere fields of red-orange poppies have declined to turn the show over to acres of sunflowers. It's breathtaking to drive through empty country roads lined with green crops and hay and suddenly turn a corner only to encounter a carpet of bright, sunny yellow flowers tracking the sun as far as the eye can see.

Here I was thinking that the busiest window of my life--moving to another country--would afford me much material to blog about (and it has, no question), but instead I found myself unable to muster the time during such busy days to add blogging to journaling, not to mention the mundane things like puzzling over how to fit America-sized furniture into a France-sized house, particularly one built 200 years earlier. Closets were unheard of, never mind generous square footage. It's been three weeks and I'm still up to my neck in packing materials. My clothes lie about the floor in shrink bags because the sharply peaked roof of my bedroom has made it difficult to fit garment racks and shelving, and my mattress sits on the floor next to my assembled cherry bed frame because the movers could not squeeze my full-size boxspring up the stairs. No idea how I'm going to resolve that one, shy of sawing the boxspring in half. But would it survive a disassembling and reassembling, I wonder?

This is the first time I've actually downsized and it's quite an adjustment. Most of my furniture, like my large glass dining table, eight padded chairs and Oriental rug, has ended up at the far end of the garden in the dependance, or outbuilding, which is an oversized shed (and not inconceivably someone's former house based on the huge fireplace in the section that now stands as my current wine cellar). The chairs and rug must make their way inside somehow before the mice head indoors to nest come winter or they'll be ruined. Even the garage, which adjoins the dependance, has fully 50% usurped by a huge stone bread oven. But there is admittedly room for my car...at least since I removed my car's roof-based antenna.

I've been busy setting up garden as well as house. Despite the significantly smaller size compared to what I've had in the past, I'm determined to establish a potager or kitchen garden. That required shaving the former overgrown, neglected lawn and covering it with a thick layer of black plastic in order to begin creating planting beds. A potager is something that is standard in all French homes. It's inconceivable not to have a vegetable garden here; flowers and lawn, while common, take a decidedly back seat to edible gardening. Considering the economy nowadays, one must consider the French to be incredibly progressive, not regressive. I hope to get some greens, radishes, leeks and onions planted before September.

Now that I'm finally online and functional here, at least computer-wise, I hope to post more regularly to catch you all up on the humor of starting life all over in another country where the language still presents a considerable challenge for me.

Bon courage, as my friend often says!