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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Billiards anyone?




Playing Billiards at Chateau d' Azay-le-Rideau
 
 
 
 
Not too large, you will feel right at home. 
 
 
 
 
 
engraving N. Arnoult, 17th c.
 
Games of this type were the principal amusement of the nobility in the 17th century.
 
 
 
 
 
The Chateau is a small gem situated in the heart of Tourainne, in the Loire Valley, south and west of Paris. 
 
 
 
 
 

If in the past you have shied away from the Chateau region, overrun by tourists, then visit Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau for a refreshing experience.
 
 
 
 
 
It is filled with beautiful artifacts.  It is a magical place. 
 
 
 
 
 
Counsellor, Notary and Secretary to King Louis XII, Gilles Berthelot, an astute Financier, purchased the old fortress in 1510. 



 
 
 
 

The Chateau was embellished by succeeding generations. It is a small gem of the French Renaissance. 




Arrive at the Chateau in the morning so that you can take  time for a leisurely lunch at the Etape Gourmande at Domaine de la Giraudiere, a fine rustic farmhouse restaurant. Located between Villandry and Druye (closed November through March).





Charming owner Beatrice provides an excellent,  if limited,  menu of fine country cuisine.





It's a little difficult to find (just follow your GPS) but so worth it.





A very healthy and handsome fig tree was right on our way to the car.  It was late September, the figs were not yet ripe. 
We had to try just one.





  Not far from the Chateau, in the lovely village of Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, the charming restaurant-hotel is the perfect home base for the western Loire Valley.  Hotel la Croix Blanche faces the Abbey Fontevraud, another fascinating place to visit. 


Happy Sunday to you my dear
Blogging Friends.

Gina  
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Boots and Mud and Dogs and wide open country





They all go together.
 
 
 
The Bull thought that Charlie, our big white dog, was getting too close to his Heifers.
 
 
 
 
 
We hightailed it to the next pasture.
I climbed over the gate, Lucy crawled under the gate and Charlie got stuck. 
I had to forcefully pull him out from under the gate. 
He limped for a while, I was worried that he was seriously hurt.
But after a few tentative steps he sauntered off, leg good as new. 
 
 
 
 
Last week I told you that Nasturtiums grow in water.
Same bouquet, the last picture, 7 days later. 
 
 
 
 
 
Every single bud opened, roses have long faded.
 
 
 
 
That reminds me.  Have you checked your wet potpourri lately?
Mine is ready and it smells divine.
 
 
Have a wonderful week my dear
Blogging Friends.
 
Gina
 
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The perfect Ferienhaus in the Perigueux



This perfect Vacation House sits in the beautiful countryside of the famous Perigueux region of France.




 
It is owned by Karin and Ron known to us from the very special blog "La Pouyette".

 
 
 
 
 
Every nook, every corner holds a unique and beautiful surprise.





  Interiors are elegant and rustic at the same time.





 
 Small meandering roads take you through the peaceful countryside and charming villages.  The perfect places to just "follow your nose" and let the GPS get you back on track when you're ready.
 




Where empty and stately manor houses appear at every turn. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And where hidden farm houses, offer Foie Gras made by the prideful owner using his most secret recipe.   A short stop at the local Boulangerie every morning completes the Picnic.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Where ancient stone walls, covered with lichen, mark ancient boundaries. 
 
 
 
 
And if you take the smaller highways you might run into a Brocante or two.
 
 
 
 
 
My goodness, only three Euros, of course it's now mine. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The La Pouyette Ferienhaus is replete with everything a traveler could wish for.  Nothing is missing.  Everything is perfect. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Karin's  'almost black'  rose.
 
It was a special joy to watch Karin prepare dinner for us in her ancient farm house kitchen.  I was admiring and marveling at Karin's considerable skill and efficiency in her kitchen.  No wonder, amongst her many talents, such as collecting fine Antiques, restoring ancient farm houses, Interior Designer,  Karin also owned and operated a restaurant in Germany. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
La Pouyette is the perfect place to use as home base while visiting the Dordogne of France.  
Did I tell you that it also has a swimming pool? 
 
Thank You Karin and Ron.    
 
 
Happy travels my dear
Blogging Friends.

Gina

 
 
 
Joining  http://thetablescaper.blogspot.com/2013/08/
Also joining  http://nominimalisthere.blogspot.com/





Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mon Bouquet du Jour





I was so happy to see my flowers still blooming upon our return from Europe.
 
 
 
 However, only two days later everything froze.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This happens every year and I should accept it without complaining.  We have a very short growing season. 





In a protected corner I found a few tender Nasturtiums blooming.
The Simplicity rose is a hardy little rose which will bloom into November in our area.







 Like the Tulip, the Nasturtium actually grows while placed in a container filled with water.





 However, unlike the Tulip, the Nasturtiums will  grow roots after being submersed in water for about 2 weeks. 






Closed Nasturtium buds will grow and open while in water. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Tiny root fibers will form. You can now pot them up in a pretty container filled with potting soil.
For me, during cold winter months, I am able to cut and enjoy many bouquets of lovely fresh flowers. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 Many chefs and innovative home cooks like to include the leaf and flower of Nasturtiums in salads and other culinary endeavors. 
Note:  I just can't make myself eat ANY flower .  I feel that I need to apologize to the pretty little things. 
 
 
 
 




Nasturtiums are long lasting cut flowers.  They are charming by themselves or they can easily be paired with many other flowers. 
 
 
 Have a great remainder of the week my dear
Blogging Friends.

Gina



 
  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My very talented students





Created beautiful work.
 
 
 
In only 2 days Cindy painted this fabulous masterpiece.
This was Cindy's 3rd workshop with us.
 
 
 
 
Carrie came all the way from Charleston, South Carolina.
Carrie had no prior experience. Look what a beautiful job she did.  Not only that, Carrie designed the mural all by herself.
 
 
 
 
 
 Cindy practiced her "hand" the first day of our workshop.
 
 
 
 
The kiln is loaded right now with more masterpieces.  Can't wait to see what comes out tomorrow.
 
 
 
 
I know that one of these days you will come and join us. 
 
 
Have a great week my dear
Blogging Friends.
 
Gina
 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So many beautiful memories




to keep from our trip to France.
 
 
 
 

I will be absent for a little while.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Need to finish two large commissions by the end of this month.
 
 
 
 
 
 

And teaching an intensive 3-day maiolica workshop.
 
 
See you soon, my dear
Blogging Friends.
 
Gina
 
 


Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm back

 
  
From Gay 'Paree'
 
 
 
 

And the Dordogne, Brittany, Bordeaux, and Normandy.
Had a wonderful (GREAT) time.
 
 
 
 
 
 

And surprise, wonderful surprise; my garden is NOT frozen.





Tender flowers like cosmos and zinnias are still going strong.





I can enjoy them a little longer.
 
 
 
Have a great weekend my dear
Blogging Friends.
 
Gina