Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cruising The Waterways of France

This is a picture of the Viking Cruise river boat on which we will travel for two weeks. It's long and low so it can fit under all those ancient bridges on the Seine, Rhone and Saone rivers. Only 150 passengers and 40 staff. The perfect size to get to know the people with whom we are traveling. Our room, with windows that open and a private bath, is on the middle level.

We fly to Paris this Saturday. After some touring in Paris we cruise to Normandy via Rouen. Each day we dock at a city for either a bus or a walking tour. My right knee is not very happy at the moment so I probably will choose the bus over walking. After the first week we return to Paris where we are bussed to Chalon-sur-Saone. There we begin our cruise of the Saone and Rhone rivers. Our final cruise destination is Avignon. We fly home from Marseilles via Frankfurt. That's the trip in a nutshell.

We booked the trip last December when it was half price. It's still more than we usually spend, but we decided it was a great way for Kerry to see France for the first time. I've been there lots and love it.

We are really looking forward to the food. No worries about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or feedlot meat. Just real food that doesn't come from a box. And if my knee is really bothering me I will find a small cafe in whatever town we are in and sit with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine while others romp around. Really looking forward to this trip. Our last big trip was Costa Rica. Don't have to worry about malaria in France. Sure hope the strikers have gone back to work.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Quilt Project

I'm working on this right now. The pattern is from Rose Hughes most recent book "Exploring Embellishments." Still needs lots more embellishment. I used a new fabric in this one. It's called Radiance; part silk and part cotton. You get the shine and feel of silk but the resilience of cotton. Made a great moon. The shiny stuff around the moon is Angelina fibers. Weird stuff but very effective.
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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Quack, Quack, Quack

That's the sound my phone makes when it rings. It's also the sound this duck made when it was swimming in the organic brown rice field near Hamilton City, CA . Greg Massa, owner of Massa Organics, uses ducks each year for weed control in his rice field. It's just one of many clever ways he keeps weeds under control without resorting to nasty sprays. This is his second year he's raised ducks. Ducks sold out very fast the first year so last spring he got even more baby ducks. Those went fast too. Psst, his neighbor thinks he nuts; I like crazy people.

So you have ducks living on organic food in a natural environment. No stress in their little lives. He rounded them up to take to the processor; they got out during the night so he had to do it all over again. These are smart ducks too.

We got the last two; the rest were bought by Alice Waters to serve at her Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley. She has ducks just like mine. I never thought I would have anything in common with the patron saint of fresh, local food. She cooked one of Greg's ducks and pronounced it the best she had ever had. Check out both Alice and Greg at http://www.chezpanisse.com and http://www.massaorganics.com Greg is also on Facebook and Twitter.

I've never cooked a duck so I got out Julia's first cookbook; the one of "Julie and Julia" fame. And sure enough she has everything I need to know about duck preparation and lots of yummy recipes. Haven't decided which one to make but I think tomorrow is the day.

Greg's organic brown rice is delicious as are all of his products. You can order them from his web site. His rice is served in the Berkeley school district. Kids get healthy foods there.
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

This and That

Gave two pints of platelets and one of red cells on Monday so I haven't had a lot of energy. Been laying low reading, embellishing fabric and blinging up my cane. It's not ready for prime time yet. Soon.

Today, however, I have been filled with energy; refilled all the bird feeders. We have one like this, and we have goldfinches. They love nyger thistle (those little seeds). We go through a 20 pound bag in a month. We have peanut suet because the little darlings don't like anything else, plus regular bird seed. I also filled the hummingbird feeders so it's buffet time outside my sewing room window.

Also, made bread but not sure how it's going to turn out. The recipe calls for unbleached white flour. I grabbed the whole wheat flour and didn't realize something was amiss until the dough was rising. So we had awhole wheat pizza, which was not a hit with Kerry. The loaf I made today looks more like a rock than a bread round. I think the appropriate word for it is "dense."

Next I cooked up some Basque lamb chorizo that we got from our meat club recently. Kerry has been hesitant to commit to eating chorizo so I fried up one sausage, chopped it into chunks and let him try it. He liked it so I made scrambled eggs with chorizo for lunch. Next I want to try butternut squash soup with chorizo. Jamie Oliver has a recipe for it. We have two large butternut squashes and more coming this Friday. Also have lots of eggplant and more coming on Friday. I think I'm going to make eggplant lasagna. Kerry wants noodles but we have eggplant so it's going to be eggplant. I was going to make it earlier this week but he balked.

I still have tomatoes that are ripening on the vine. It's been a bit cool but they still seem okay.

I ordered one of my asthma prescriptions from Canada. Very simple process. I went to their web site, ordered what I wanted and then faxed my doctor's prescription. I did that last Friday and by Tuesday it had shipped. I will save $150 per month with this. http://www.canadapharmacy.com

We got all of our stuff for the France trip. It now seems real. We have a kilometer by kilometer map of what we will see on the Seine and Rhone Rivers. It's going to be great. We are going to mark the route on our map of France before we go. I'll try to find some pictures of the river boat. Our first two days and nights are in Paris; we use the river boat as our hotel. This is going to be so much fun.

Order $200 worth of Euros on line from my bank. They arrived by Fed Ex two days later. I love the internet.

Nap time.
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