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Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's the weekend.

And it's great to be back.

Jet lag is a thing of the past. 

It's time to celebrate with what is left in the garden.

Mon Bouquet du Jour.  

Have a wonderful weekend my dear friends.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chateaus and Villas II

Driving in Italy and France

Part II

adapted from Villa Toscana website

La Locanda di Villa Toscana is located in the small town of Bibbona, Tuscany, Italy, just south of Livorno.  

The Villa is located in the middle of town.  A note was attached to the front door when we arrived. We were to call the number listed on the note.  The only problem; we didn't have a telephone.  Our rental car had a phone but we didn't know how to use it.  

I found a group of young workers taking a lunch break, who were only too happy to dial the number for me.  

The housekeeper arrived a few minutes later.  

We didn't see anyone until the next morning when a beautiful breakfast was waiting for us.  

The big surprise was the upper part of Bibbona.  An Etruscian Stronghold.  

We almost missed it.  

These two charming ladies meet every evening, and have done so for the past 30 years, and sit on this very bench.  

We had been occupying the same bench earlier.  I noticed that several people were dropped off near a very steep street.  They would walk up and disappear.

I had to see what was up there.  Gene wanted to stay put. 

Not only did I discover a beautiful Etruscan village but also a fine looking restaurant, which turned out to be well known in the area.   

Restaurant Osteria De Messeri

When I came back with the exciting news, the ladies and Gene were having a spirited conversation.  He had given up his seat on the bench. 

 By now Gene knew all about the restaurant and the rest of their story.  How, I don't know.  They didn't speak English and Gene doesn't speak Italian.   They all had big smiles on their faces. 

There is another Bibbona about a 15 minute drive to the west and by the sea.  
Marina Bibbona looks promising, We will save it for next time. 

This Bibbona also deserves another visit.

 While in the area, Relais-Sant-Elena is nearby. 
If you want to spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the peaceful country side, than this is the place.

Next stop Montelupo Fiorentino and Villa Vannucci.

Have a great remainder of the week my dear 
Blogging Friends.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chateaus and Villas

By Car through France and Italy.

Part I

Chateau De Chesne
Nohant En Gracay, Le Chesne, France.

Day one.  About 3 hours South of Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Perfect distance to get acquainted with our new rental car. 

Chateau De Chesne is located in a beautiful country setting.  The perfect stopover for the first night in France.

Here is a tribute to the longevity of hand made ceramic tiles.  

Owned by a charming and handsome French Aristocrat. 

A beautiful breakfast awaited us the next morning.  

On to La Pouyette.

Yes, the charming Karin we know from the blog with the same name. 

Karin and Mr R welcomed us like old friends.  

We stayed at La Pouyette in 2012. 
La Pouyette is located near the town of Perigueux.   

This very special spot is the perfect guest house from which to explore the very interesting and unique Dordogne region.

When we arrived Karin was shelling walnuts which she had gathered from her ancient tree.  

I joined in.  It reminded me of my younger days when I would sit in a circle with the older village women shelling peas, listening to the newest gossip.


As before, Karin prepared for us a most delicious French dinner.  

No one does it better, it is always a feast for the eyes and the palate.

La Pouyette is about a 6 to 7 hour drive from Paris.  The drive is  beautiful with many interesting sites and ancient villages to admire along the way.  

On to Arles, our longest drive, with many side trips.

By now I had figured out how to program our Mercedes Benz navigation system.  Much superior to my hand held GPS I brought from home.  

The Jules Cesar, is part of the "Small Luxury Hotel of the World".

We stayed at the Cesar more than forty years ago.  

Some of it looked familiar.

Some did not.

Don't remember these colorful tiles in our bathroom floor. 

Bright greenish yellow walls and colorful upholstered pieces in public spaces.   

No wonder, all recently designed by famous French fashion designer Christian Lacroix.

On to the French Riviera and to 

 the Hotel Le Roquebrune Cap Martin, France

Not even the  GPS could find this place clinging to the side of the Mountain and overlooking the Mediterranean, near Monaco and Monte Carlo.

Ah,  the Cinque Terre and Monterosso al Mare.

We stayed at the La Serra Sul Mare 


The La Serra Sul Mare B & B  is located above Monterosso.  It has easy parking and reliable and frequent bus service into town. 

Excellent views, super friendly staff and some of the finest breakfasts in Europe.  

From the center of Monterosso it is only a short and picturesque walk to the train station. 

Once on the train you can visit the other famous Cinque Terre towns.  My favorite town is Vernazza.  Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are also on the same line.  

Next stop. 

The lovely Etruscan town of Bibbona in Tuscany.

And one of the loveliest Hotels in all of Italy.  

More to come in a day or two. 

Have a great Sunday my dear friends.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Redeeming myself.

My last post was about a WORM.

I would like to leave you with a more appetizing scene. 

See you soon. 

Stay well, 


Monday, September 22, 2014

This is a very short story.

It has to be a very short story because it is a story about a


There, he is trying to hide. 

He is the tiny monster that eats my Salpiglossis.

He waits until they are in their full glory and then he eats their roots...
and I can never catch him.  

He does the same to my pansies.  They are perfect one day and then the next day they are dead. 

And I don't even know the little beast's name.  DO YOU? 

Need to see another picture?

He is a tiny worm (see the acorn on the left).  When disturbed he turns into a tiny ball.  

I really have better things to do than take pictures of worms.  

I have to pack my suitcase for Gay Paree.

Au Revoir

my dear friends.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

He will never make it!

This little upstart of a Lakota squash.

There he is, only 2 days old.

Little further up on the stalk is a blossom wilting and the newborn, one day old squash. 

There are only a few blossoms in my Squash Patch.  All of the energy of the plant is going into making great big and beautiful Lakota Squash.

This fellow is one of the smallest. 

Those out in the patch are way too big.  I couldn't carry even one into the house.  

 Cucumbers "got away from us".  These are too big to eat and so they will go to the pig farmer down the road.  

My Asters showing off. 

As you might recall, I collected these aster seeds more than forty years ago.  

The Ancestors of my asters were growing through a fence by Lake Maggiore,  Italy.    

Little worms were eating my Salpiglossis, a flower I must have in my garden. 
 After removing all of the old soil, so far, the little beasts have not shown up this year...but they will, they always do. 

The "sky blue"  petunias have the most intoxicating scent.

It is easy gardening when your flowerbeds meet you half way. 

They go all the way around three sides of our house.  

"Madame Butterfly" snapdragons add a burst of color. 

Cosmos are taller than I am (which is not saying much). 

And I'm off to Paris.  

Thank you for reading me and thank you also for sharing with me your time and your creativity. 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Peaches and pears are ripe

Must bottle a few for cold winter months. 

If you can find the smaller, rosy cheeked, cling free peaches, those are the peaches you will want to can.   

A recipe of light syrup (6 cups of sugar to 8 cups of water) is perfect for peaches.  Not too sweet so you can still taste the delicate flavor of an Early Alberta Peach. 

Ready to be put away.

Must leave a few to eat au natural.

Have a great remainder of the week my dear friends,