Dried Acorns and Mirabelle Vodka

Of all the things dropping to the ground this summer, rain was particularly scarce. The area of eastern France where we live is always hot in August. This year, though, after a rainy spring, June started heating up. And then July was hotter. As hot as August, but weeks early. The minimal amounts of rain…

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Dog Days

We’re in the middle of a significant heat wave here in eastern France – the French call it la canicule, a word which has at its root a reference to a celestial body other than the sun. Between July 3 and August 11, the star Sirius rises almost in conjunction with the sun – and…

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A Few Beginnings and a Couple of Ends

The weather turned cold this week, grey skies and a chill wind after two weeks of balmy temperatures. Two steps forward, one step back. No excuse not to get some garden work done, though. Last week was all bumblebees and sunshine, this week I found this fellow, a little black cricket, taking shelter from the…

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Simple, Slow, Good

We harvested the last of the mirabelles today under heavy skies and to the sound of rolling thunder, the first raindrops already falling as we packed away the ladder and hurried inside with the last couple of kilos of yellow plums. There’s something so simple and satisfying about making old-fashioned jams and cordials, a word…

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Golden Bounty

I went for a run in a solid summer rain this afternoon, and returned home to the refreshment of some ripe mirabelle plums, straight off the tree. But the next couple of days will be devoted, at least in part, to picking and processing the plum bounty before the rain ruins them all. The mirabelle…

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