Thursday, November 4, 2010

Busy as bees, but hopefully not making miel de chataigne

Alan had hoped to do something with us today, but decided that he didn’t have time. If anything, we thought we might have to go to Ikea in Avignon to get him some frames for the show. The “frame lottery,” where all the frames left over from past students are given to the current students to help cut down on the cost of buying frames, was held last night and he got quite a few frames (he has 14 photos going up, I believe, 6 in the regular show and 8 in a gallery with just him and the other grad student) but needs three or four more. But since the store is a ways away and a small group is going tomorrow to pick up frames for everyone, he decided to stay home and work on other things.

Mom and I had picked out a walking route starting at Pont Julian and heading towards Bonnieux before circling around back to the bridge, so leaving Alan to his work the rest of us went for a walk. The trail was still muddy, and it made me laugh to see one set of human prints, one set of dog prints, one set of horse prints, and one set of bike prints. Either we have a bunch of loners or a very mixed group out here somewhere!

Lavender and Lacoste
An oratory along the road
A hawk caught our attention for a while, but stayed just far enough away that we could never get a good look at him. Birds here seem to do that; I’m afraid they must get shot at all the time! I’m still chasing my elusive jay; and today (while I had to zoom this in quite a bit as I didn’t have the telephoto lens) I finally caught a jay on film! I mean on pixels? Really, that just doesn’t have the same ring to it… Any-who-how, here it is, with a horse chestnut in its beak.

Speaking of chestnut, I think I forgot to mention the honey… chestnut honey, or miel de chataigne. It is seriously the most horrible stuff I have every tasted! We have been trying out all the different honeys from the region; lavender is the specialty, with acacia, sapin (which means fir – the vendor at the market explained it by saying “Noel” and making a Christmas tree shape with his hands), and finally chataigne being the varieties we have tried. The others were varied in flavor but not strong, but the chestnut, while being the most beautiful amber color, has a very bitter taste. Alan said he though it was interesting, but Dad is the only one, I think, who ate it more than once; he gave it a second chance, but not a third. We’ll leave it as a lovely surprise for the next people who come ; )

Since we didn’t need to go to Avignon after lunch, we went back to Apt instead. The third time (and taking into account French lunch hours and holidays) is the charm – Mom got her shopping done, and I even talked her into buying me a huge lollipop! We’ve seen them around at markets and such, and I really wanted to know what they taste like. The white is part is very creamy tasting, and I got raspberry flavored, although they had all kinds, normal (like apple) and different (like violet and anise). It’s going to take forever to finish – about a hour later I was less than half done with the crazy thing!

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