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Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Laissez-faire Nous Lifestyle

It was with considerable trepidation that I returned to my blog to see just how long it’s been since I'd added anything. Although I was relieved to see it hadn’t been an entire year as I’d feared, I was only missing that marker by a matter of weeks. Where does the time go?I

(I know where it goes. I spend so much time on the computer editing other people's books for publication that I can't bear to spend another minute typing, whether on my own manuscript or my blog. It's all I can do sometimes to keep up on e-mails. I resolve to do better...soon.)

Indeed it’s a year to be late, at least here in France. When I’d returned in late March, after having missed a flood-ridden winterit was pretty rainy in the Algarve but nothing like they’d suffered herewe had two glorious weeks of spring followed by about seven weeks of solid rain. It felt more like seven months.

Planting starts earlier here than I’m used to, coming from the NY area, but instead of putting out flowers and veggies in March and April, we were forced to wait until mid-June for seedlings. Only today did my first cherry tomato hint at orange and my squash, although threatening to take over and infiltrate the neighboring garden, have yet to produce a single bloom. I’ve never had good luck with peppers in the States before so I’m delighted to see up to 13 fruits on a single plant at this stage, and about 16 baby eggplants (aubergines, as they’re known here) on my first and only plantin a pot no less. 

The only thing fully harvestable, aside from lettuces (which bolted as soon as they’d started to leaf out, thanks to temps shooting up into practically unheard of 90s once the rain stopped) are the carrots, which look riotously happy in their tiny four-foot-square raised bed. Those at least I got seeded before the rains came and they didn't seem to mind so much. I pulled the first ones today to make a carrot tarragon dish for tomorrow’s picnic.

I remember my first foray into veggie gardening, after having bought my first house in 1996, inspired by my next-door neighbor Janis (whose husband Milt only half-kiddingly complained that she'd given up some edible gardening in favor of flowers, after having seen me go crazy). I bought these wonderful Earth boxes, not being sure how great my soil was, and proudly told Janis I'd planted zucchini. 

"Do you think half a dozen seedlings is enough for one person?" I asked. Janis, to her credit, kept a straight face and just said, "Oh, that should be plenty." I had grated zucchini in the freezer for three years.

I will endeavor shortly to resume the aborted tale of last summer’s renovation, which, in true French style, isn’t anywhere near finished, although thankfully most of what remains is cosmetic, such as replacing missing stones in the walls. However, I have an operational kitchen now, after having waited for three years, and it has proved well worth the wait, as has my new bathroom which is blissfully modern and clean, despite ongoing plumbing problems, the legacy of the disastrous plumber I ended up firing after having paused my blog posting. But that's fodder for another post...soon, I promise. 

In the meantime, the temps have dropped from the 90s to 80, promising to rise again in two days, so the garden is calling...


Sean Gallagher said...

glad to see the posts back :-)

Siobhan M Gallagher said...

Thanks, Sean! It's good to be back. :o)