Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Snake in my house!

Baby biscia

Natrix natrix. Grass snake. In the spare room on the ground floor in the dark. Not pleasant. This is one of those italian biscia that proliferate in this area but I am glad that it was only a baby one. It was about 18 inches in length with a body diameter that of my pinkie finger. They are totally harmless. I don't know how it got into the house, only that it took some nerve to coax it into a shoe box (not easy since it just wanted to stay where it was) where I then carried it gingerly through the garage before flipping the whole thing upside down onto the ground. The snake just lay there and I'm like, WTFudge? So I go upstairs to look from the terrace to see if it was still in the same spot.

It started to slither BACK towards the garage! WTFig?

I grab a broom, run down to the garage and find it motionless not more than a yard from the entrance. In my mind I was WTFeck?, so I start sweeping. Deliberate, exaggerated strokes. Stomping my foot too. If the neighbors had been looking out the window they would've thought I had really lost it, but the sweep seemed to do the trick as finally the snake started slithering away FAST and never turned back. That oughtta show you who's boss.

Peas, tails and scapes

In other less slightly titillating news, we enjoyed the first harvest of the season: peas, rat tail radishes and garlic scapes. Spring's prolonged visit with cooler temps and rain ensured that there probably won't be a load of tomatoes this year, but we're happy to get whatever we can. We're also seeing major fruit drop from the persimmon tree which, while necessary, is sad to see. All those possible persimmons. That's what happens when you apply a load of sh*t and the tree goes bonkers in the production department.

We all fall down

Today's high: 27°C / 81°F

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Saturday market in Beaune, France

Well it took a recent holiday to France to put some cheer back into our routine, but the magic pill to chase away gardening blues was a morning spent at a french market. I am cured! We had a wet and windy spring season in northern Italy where intermittent rains and cooler than normal temperatures delayed any ideas of getting off to an early start. The young tomato plants started in February began to show signs of blight, there was no end to the rain, and there was nothing left to do than to grow sprouts, a few peas, and wait.

So I waited, we all waited, and then I said what the heck, why not just go away on a trip. It was just what I needed to brighten my mood. The Saturday market in Beaune is said to be one of the very best there is and I agree. Look at all this fresh produce! We didn't buy any since there would be no way to keep them cool until we returned home, but market vendors had two of my favorite french things: soaps from Provence and canelé pastries.

Strawberries at Beaune's market

Wild asparagus at Beaune market
Asperge sauvage. Much different from the wild asparagus gathered in Italy.

Artichokes and tomatoes
Artichauts et tomates.

Beaune's Saturday market
A beautiful late spring day at Beaune's Saturday market. I made sure it was on our itinerary in bold.

Loads of radishes
Radis (listen to that one on google translate).

Tiny new potatoes
Pommes de terre. 12.90€/kilo? Did I read that right?

Canelés at Beaune's market
Canelés. Never imagined that I would come across these!