Sunday, 2 September 2018

Mosaic Monday # 99 - bucolic Normandy

According to the Meteo Autumn officially began on September 1st and certainly here in Normandy we are beginning to notice some changes.
Although the weather is still dry there is a definite chill in the air in the early mornings and quite often there's fragrant wood smoke on the breeze as folk start to light cosy log fires and wood burning stoves in the evening.
As I went to make a cup of tea one afternoon recently I got quite a shock when I looked out of the window and saw a cow happily munching away on the lawn that last year replaced my vegetable garden.

Earlier in the day the farmer who's cows graze the fields surrounding our home had transferred some to another field and apparently after they left this one decided to go walkabout. The SP drove up to the farm to let him know that we had an escapee in the garden and he swiftly arrived with a couple of helpers to escort the heifer back to where she belonged.
I did video the procession as they headed back to the field but sadly it has since been deleted from my phone, the next morning I saw that she was back with her friends looking none the worse for her adventure.
Our generous neighbour called round on Thursday afternoon bringing with him masses of juicy red grapes from the vines in his garden. 
As a thank you I gave him a jar of the plum and preserved lemon chutney which I'd made the previous week.
Trying to explain to a non English speaking Frenchman just what chutney is was extremely difficult.
"You can eat it with cheese," I said. "Quoi?" he replied.
"It's good with curries", I said. "Quoi?" was again the response.
"Cuisine Indienne" I replied. "Je n'aime pas le curry" he stated!
At this point the SP interjected with the suggestion that he buy some English cheddar cheese at the supermarche and make a sandwich!
You can imagine how well that suggestion was received.
The GN (generous neighbour) then asked if I wanted any apples this year and no sooner had I said "Oui" he promptly drove back across the lane to his house, returning with a very big bag of them.
This time I had a better "swap" to barter with - a large bottle of pommeau, an apple aperitif, produced by a farmer friend of ours.
"C'est pommeau Normand?" the GN inquired, "Mais oui, bien sûr" was my reply, no further explanation was required!

As Keats once said...……………..
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 


  1. Oh Maggie, I love this story -- all of it. The cow, the chutney and the apples. A good neighbor -- you and your neighbor!

    I'm not ready for fall. I'll wait till the equinox to welcome it!

  2. Maggie! I love your posts so much! I can definitely identify with your bucolic stories as I live in farm country Minnesota. I have encountered cows in our backyard and even a llama on the road as I was coming back from a run. Always makes for an interesting way of life. Thank you for hosting!

  3. Maggie,I love the watercolor photos. I am going to work on chutney too! Love the French countryside. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

  4. Liebe Maggie, ich habe mich königlich amüsiert... dieser Post ist so erfrischend zu lesen. Ich stelle mir die Szene mit dem Nachbar vor und muss schmunzeln.

    Die Ernte war übrigens auch bei mir reichlich: Unser Nachbar lieferte uns ebenfalls Zwetschgen und Äpfel... eine andere Sorte, wie wir sie an unserem eigenen kleinen Apfelbäumchen neben der Terrasse haben.

    Ich überlege immer noch wegen der Zwetschgen und der Pflaumen! Es sind tatsächlich unterschiedliche Früchte.

    ...und wünsche Dir einen guten Start in die neue Woche, liebe Grüßle aus Bayern von Heidrun

  5. Oh your early Fall looks soooo yummy! (Here it is late summer, as Autumn doesn’t start officially until the 21st. But it feels like summer is over as soon as school starts. Even old retired people who haven’t been on a school schedule for many years.j. Wonderful to have that GN...and the language difficulties make for fun and interesting times I’m sure! It sounds like you are pretty generous neighbors yourselves!

  6. Maggie, you know how I adore your Normandy neighbors. I suspect that chutney is delicious! Have a great week!

  7. Always love reading/seeing a peek of your life in Normandy - the cow grazing on your lawn was terrific - and the sharing of summer's bounty with the farmer who owned the caw made the peek even better. Thank you Maggie for your 99th !!!! Mosaic Monday.

  8. Hi Maggie
    What a surprise to see a cow in your backyard! It is so nice that your neighbors share their bounty harvest with you. We are seeing signs of autumn here and I know in a week or two it will be gloriously fall colors in our high mountains!

  9. Spring has arrived in Western Australia, my favourite time of year! Fruit picked straight off a tree is so much more delicious, don't you think? Have a fabulous week.

  10. As we approach the equinox later on this month, Maggie, our topsy-turvy world will greet Spring and Autumn simultaneously...
    Lovely photos!

  11. Maggie - 'bucolic' indeed. Heifers in the garden, 'conkers' on the trees, plums and apples! Oh, to have a GN like you. And I loved the poem at the end - so ideal for your post. Thanks for hosting MM!

  12. Those apples look delicious, Maggie! Nothing better than home-grown fruit and veggies...

  13. Its good to have nice neighbours. Happy Mosaic Monday, Maggie


  14. I love this time of year when you have a garden and fruit trees and an abundance to share with others! Your photos are a joy this week! And #99! Time has flown by! Happy MM!

  15. Your recounting of the conversation with GN was highly entertaining! Love this glimpse into French life. Seeing a cow in one's garden would be startling. Apples and grapes are wonderful gifts! This is such an abundant time of year.

  16. Dear Maggie,

    Your post is filled with joys of the autumn - plums and apples! I have them too but no French neighbour to bring me grapes or vine :) Wishing you splendid sutumn days!

  17. Next week I'm going to get some apples and make caramel apple jam. I love it on the top of plain yogurt. - Margy

  18. I always love cow photos. You have been busy. It is almost apple picking time here, too.

  19. Dearest Maggie; Oh, for me seeing the cow grazing would be fantastic thing p;-)
    Yes, getting a little bit cooler after experiencing record high temperature. And your home made fruits are so gorgeous making us feel autumn has come♡♡♡ 
    Thank you SO much for hosting and so sorry for late comment.
    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend, xoxo Miyako*

  20. I am enjoying your blog very much!!


Thanks for stopping by, your visit just made my day!