17 November 2017

Autumn leaves — les feuilles mortes

Probably not what you were expecting.

As I wrote in a comment yesterday, I got the new power supply for my laptop and I'm back in business. Now all I need is some inspiration! You might wonder why I can't use my desktop computer for composing blog posts. It's a long story that I will spare you... take my word for it.

By the way, I'm supposed to go get my new debit card from the bank in Saint-Aignan (photo above) this morning. I went there on Wednesday only to discover that my card had been wrongly sent to a different Crédit Agricole agency. I was given the option of driving to that branch office or waiting until today.

I'm not optimistic that the Saint-Aignan agency will actually have the card for me this morning. I've now been without a debit/ATM card since about October 25, which is pretty inconvenient. Besides, I pay an annual fee for the privilege of having an ATM card. The bank has so far been unable to explain why my card was de-activated in the first place. Their error, I say. I'm seriously wondering if it's time to change banks.

16 November 2017

Dead in the water

That's what we used to say in Silicon Valley. In other words, there is an obstacle that can't be overcome, and we can't do anything about it.

Out toward the end of the road

In my case, it's my laptop computer. It's the computer I use early in the morning to compose my blog posts. The power supply has given up the ghost. I've ordered a new one, but it might not get here for another couple of days. I'll be back soon, I hope. The computer itself seems to work just fine, but the battery has a limited lifespan. It just doesn't have any incoming juice.

15 November 2017

En rentrant à la maison (Going back home)

The other day Natasha and I walked out to the end of the gravel road through the vineyard, which is about a mile long. Then we turned around and walked back. It probably seems like a boring walk to the dog, because we don't go up and down vineyard rows or through any woods. But she's a good sport and likes her exercise.

I took this series of photos, hoping that dim morning light conditions and a cloudy sky wouldn't make them come out too blurry to use. Above is the view from about half a mile (plus ou moins un kilomètre) from the house.

Just a little farther along, the house starts coming into view. Our landmark is the tall cedar tree in the yard — about the tallest tree in the whole area on this side of Saint-Aignan.

This is the home stretch. From here, maybe 500 meters from the house, you can distinguish it clearly.

And then we're almost there. That's the other side of the Cher river valley rising up in the background.

14 November 2017

Back yard trees in November

I took some photos early Sunday morning (Nov. 12), as I went out for a walk through the vineyard with Natasha. The light was dim but some of the photos came out. On the left is the linden (or "lime") tree that's right outside our back door.

Yesterday, right after lunch, I took the photo on the right, from a bedroom window. Yesterday (Nov. 13) obviously was a sunny day. It's cold and dry outside now. Click this link to see what the linden tree (un tilleul) looked like in November 2012, but two weeks later.

The wind we had on Sunday (Nov. 12) really knocked most of the leaves off the ornamental prunus tree farther out in the back yard.

Look at this photo of the same tree that I posted on Nov. 13, 2012. I must have taken it on Nov. 11 or 12 that year. There's dearly departed Callie. Les années se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas forcément.

13 November 2017

Boudin noir — good sausages

We ate boudin noir for lunch on Saturday, with some French-fried potatoes and a big green salad. These were boudins noirs made with onions. Another variety is made with apples.

Boudin noir in English is "blood sausage" or (mostly British) "black pudding". The English word "pudding" is a derivative of the French word boudin. For boudin noir, the filling inside the sausage casings is a kind of pudding. There are also boudins blancs, which are made with a "pudding" of bread crumbs, pureed chicken, turkey, or pork, with herbs, mushrooms, truffles, etc.

Here are the ingrédients as listed on the packaging of the boudin noir that we ate, and which I bought at SuperU.

sang de porc 36,5% (origine France) [blood]
oignons 34% [onion]
gras de porc (origine France) [fat]
couenne (origine France) [pork rind]
sel, sucre, épices et plantes aromatiques [salt, sugar, spices, herbs]
boyau naturel de porc [casings, a.k.a. pork intestine]

Remember, natural sausages are made using pork intestines as casings (including hot dogs). Or the intestines of other animals like lambs. And all the meat we eat contains blood, to one degree or another. So boudins noirs are good eats. And tasty. Especially when served with good, hot Dijon mustard.

This is a savory apple tart made with boudin noir. Apples and pork are a good marriage. Here's a link to the recipe.

Boudin noir is sold already cooked. It's good warmed up in a frying pan on medium heat, in a hot oven, on a barbecue grill, or even in the microwave for 5 minutes at about 450 watts (medium). Or baked in a tart.