Friday, 28 September 2012

Snippets from Life in France - des jardins potagers

Neighbours' potager wall
Life in our corner of France has a gentle rhythm that is aligned to the seasons.  Summer temperatures in the high 20's to mid 30's (celsius) with intermittent heavy rains, (clearing the air of its gathering humidity),  ensure bountiful yields from des jardins potagers, if one keeps an eye on the bugs, mildew and enormous mustard brown slugs - so strong that they can upend a flower pot.

Frequently I would see the tip of an inverted "v" over the high old stone fenced vegetable plot on the corner of the ruelle as I rocketed down the hill on my bike before turning right to My French Folly. It would be the derriere of either Sylvie or Christian who were bent over, tending their potager. Often I would find  produce from their patch of earth on the stone seat beside the back door - tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers and haricot vert (eaten al dente after being tossed in unsalted butter and garlic). Wonderful. My meagre contribution to the community table was fresh herbs - basil, parsley, chives & thyme - which grew prolifically beside the front door after being planted within a few days of our arrival at our house.

Stone seat on the terrace beside the back door.
During the first week of Autumn, a daily vision would be the neighbours sitting in the afternoon sun with a huge sack of dried beans (pods and seeds) at their feet and a bowl in their laps which would catch les harricots blancs as they were released from their casings. These white beans were then tipped into a big bucket from which they would be divided, stored and consumed in the coming seasons. I felt privaliged to be able to pull up a chair and join in this ritual and the ensuing family chatter. During this activity  I would find myself taking stock of my surroundings as we sat in the gentle autumn sun overlooking the village and the verdant green rolling hills and surrounding forests, hearing the now familiar  bird calls and smelling the scent of fresh earth.
These lovely old shutters keep the hot sun out of the kitchen.

9 comments:

Mouse said...

as one owner of a French house to another, you have reminded me of one of the loveliest aspects of life in rural France. Thank you

Lost in Provence said...

So wonderful.

What an amazing experience your life is there. It sounds like the real deal, la France Profonde...
xo,
H

meine Dinge ♥ Franka said...

Looking back everything is still much lovelier!

:-)

But your images tell me: it's true!

♥ Franka

Martina said...

Such a lovely post! Would love to come over to France for a few days too. Hope your october will be amazing!

Burlap Luxe said...

Oh my dear Friend, a visit from you thrills me, and of course taking the time to comment is even more exciting.
Thank you for sharing the beauty of France, and the part of nature you come to notice.
The beans in the garden basket is divine, a soulful part of preparing for a meal.
Please share more of the life you live.
Loving all things French, you my dear are living a life to love.
Xoxo
Dore

ARA said...

I love to read about France and close my eyes and for a second imagine i'm back there. :)

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh what a lovely vignette! How is your recovery going?

Connie said...

Hi, I just found your lovely blog. I am a lover of all things French, especially the countryside and the small villages. I am excited about following your blog and I would love to invite you to visit and follow me back. I have met so many lovely blogging sisters and I have so much fun sharing ideas and visiting their towns, states and countries through blogging.
Have a marvelous day! Connie :)

Virginia said...

The shutters with the light behind the basket of haricot verts is just the kind of shot I would love to take. Enjoy automne à France! :)