Wednesday, June 27, 2012

La Cinq Sens

Each week we are in France, we visit two or three farmer's markets - the early morning market in St. Antonin, the peasant's market in Caussade and the city market in Cahors. Walking into a farmer's market in France is an attack of all of the senses: scent, sight, taste, touch and sound are all highly tuned at the market - there is no avoiding any of them! The scents are a mix of sweet sausage, fresh bread and earthy greens; the visual is a blast of color - from the fresh produce and vegetables to the butcher counter filled with every kind of meat imaginable; you can taste your way through the market with a bit of cheese, honey, and saffron jam; the texture of the bread loaves, dusted with flour is only found in France; and the sounds are a mix of the bird man, whistling his wooden warbler to the church bells ringing at 7am. Everything seems more vibrant - until the next market, which surprises us again! For a daily visual treat of our summer in France, please visit us on instagram at frenchgeneral!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Hat Factory Is Full!

Every summer we return to France, I wonder if the hat factory will finally be depleted - empty of all of the treasures we dig for each visit. And every year, I am delightfully surprised to see that it is as full as it ever was - with old silk labels, bolts of ribbon and stacks and stacks of straw hats! Here is just a little peek inside of the hat factory that closed over thirty years well as a look at Guy, the third generation owner, showing us how they used to sew together the straw braid to make the panama hats.

Monday, June 25, 2012

An Abandoned Chateau in Septfond

That's all...just an abandoned chateau in Septfond...waiting for someone to come along and breath new life into it. I tried to talk Mogull and Molly into jumping the fence and exploring with me, but Mogull reminded me we didn't have a lawyer in France! I loved the overgrown garden and the stables out back. Someday...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heaven on Earth - almost!

We've made it back to the chateau - one of the most beautiful homes I have ever stayed in - a bit of heaven on earth! Our first group of women arrived this past Saturday and we settled everyone into their room and had a lovely welcome dinner, prepared by Charlotte, the chef. Sunday morning we woke up early and traveled up to St. Antonin's Farmer's Market and then headed off to Montricoux for our first vide grenier - very similar to a flea market - with a bit of everything thrown in! After picking through treasures and finding a bit of gold, we drove up the road to Bruniquel for our garden picnic. All was going so well...and then the grey cloud appeared...well, not literally.  First,  Kick slipped and was rushed off to hospital for five stitches to sew up the gash in her leg, then I lost my wallet, then my computer exploded (hence the lack of posts!) and then, Mogull's car turned into a lemon!  So....we smudged and cleared the air and welcomed in the Solstice (thanks Stacey for the guidance!) and now...we are back on track! The skies have cleared, Kick is recovering, my wallet was found by an 80 year old woman who just happened to live 2 miles from the chateau, and Mogull's car has been replaced with another! My computer is still dead - but that can be dealt with later. Meanwhile, we've visited all sorts of old villages and brocantes and today we are woading...more to come soon!

Friday, June 15, 2012

French Farm Mischief

A fun morning stroll through the fields - complete with a bit of French farm mischief! We actually tried to roll Molly along the hay bale - but it was impossible to move it! Later, Kick said that farmer's don't like it when you mess with their hay...oops!

A Walk in France

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Back Home in France

We've arrived back home in France - finally!  All year long, I plan, organize and scheme how I am going to spend another week in France.  This year, in addition to our three weeks at the Chateau for our creative retreat, we also rented a home in Septfond for a week with family.  I've had my eye on this old house for a few years now - just waiting to be able to rent it so I could get inside!  It's a grand old home that's in the process of being renovated by a young couple.  Each room is beautiful and appointed with just the right amount of decor - simple but elegant...

Even the gardens have been historically planned so that it looks like an 18th century French garden.  So far we have had rain on day one, so we took a long walk on the country roads and then ended up back inside talking, eating a resting up.  Tomorrow will be our first day out...I think we will hit the Caussade Farmer's Market...more to come soon!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Raising A Teenager

I hope you will indulge me for a minute or two and let me talk about one of my favorite subjects.  For the past 15 years, my life has been filled with craziness, laughter, drama and love - and all because of one very special little girl named Sofia.  People say that Sofia is a good mix of both myself and JZ - she is funny and shy, beautiful and simple, confident and awkward - everything you want a little girl to be.  Sofia isn't so little anymore - but I still see her as my little girl - even though 15 years ago today, at 4:20pm I gave birth to this complicated bundle of joy.  You see, the thing about raising teenagers is - they are really just little kids growing into bigger bodies.  I have learned that I need to give Sofia room to grow, room to explore and room to develop so she will become the grown-up that wants to hang out with me.  I cherish the days I have had with Sofia and I look forward to every year we have together in the future...every crazy, loving, and emotional day!  Here's a little look at the past few years...the road to becoming a teenager and the teenager Sofia is today....

Happy Birthday Sofia!