Monday, June 20, 2011


Day 6 of clouds, rain, and wind. I can’t wait for real summer weather; I’m not sure I’m going to get that until I return to the US however. Yesterday morning was nice, but of course the clouds moved in and changed the beautiful weather. The day started out with the daily morning milking, feeding of the calves and heifers and cows, and then a confirmation of healthy cows. What I mean by this is that it turns out there are more cows than I thought! (around 170 or 180). These cows are out in other pastures that, in guessing, are also owned by Jean-Michel. If so, he has a whole lot of land!! (For the house, farm, animals, and crops) As I was saying, the reason the cows are out in the pasture is in part that they are expecting calves within about 2 months; the farmers told me that they stop milking pregnant cows two months prior to the expected birth date. Once we were all done with the farm work, we headed back to the house to have breakfast with the kids. Then, we all got ready for the day and left for church/the communion. This church was more modern, but still beautiful and majestic as are all the others. The service was better too for some reason- as compared to my first French church service. I felt the atmosphere was brighter and friendlier- possibly due to so many children- and I also understood more of the service. When we all received communion, I asked Isabelle what we were supposed to say after we received the bread. This is what I heard: Etudie Amen. Translation: Study Amen. So I was thinking, okay if that’s what you’re supposed to say. So once I received the bread, I said “etudie Amen” and went to sit back down. I realized that Isabelle had actually said “…tu dis Amen”. Translation: You say Amen. The boy dispersing the bread must have thought I was nuts! After the service, I met many many family members wherein we all met up at the restaurant for lunch.

The room was set beautifully for lunch, with a green badminton theme due to the nephew’s(Pierre) interest. When we sat down, we were served champagne with peanuts and mini crackers, a badminton racquet with birdies filled with chocolate candies, and mini amuse-bouches (toast with salmon, toast with cheese, and mini pigs in a blanket). We were then served duck foie gras with an onion and currant jelly(sounds weird but was very good) and toast; this was paired with a sweet white wine. After our “entree” (in English- appetizer), we were served our plat (entree). This dish included veal, a baked and pealed apple with a dab of jelly, pomme de terre farcie(a stuffed potato), and sautéed mushrooms, all surrounded by a creamy crème fraiche sauce. Then it was time for dessert! Nope – I lied; we still had one dish prior to dessert! This was a simple salad with hot cheese baked in a light pastry dough, resting on a bed of lettuce, and situated next to a thick fruit vinaigrette. We had finally made it to dessert: little balls of dough filled with a small amount of thick cream and surrounded by sugary hard caramel candy and chocolate candies. The meal was simply exquisite along with great company and music too! The family is quite musical from singing to piano, guitar, and accordion playing. In fact, the mother (Isabelle’s sister) made a song for her family to sing. If all goes accordingly, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the music on my blog.

Lunch finished around 3:30pm and we were heading over to the family’s house for the rest of the day. Just before we left, we all took pictures and then lo and behold three people on horseback crossed our path. All three were very kind and allowed the children to each have a turn on the horse. You’ll never guess who else got to ride the horse too… me! It was great! I would absolutely love to learn how to ride a horse- perhaps in the future. Arriving at the house I brought my laptop, Magicjack phone, and such to make a few Father’s Day phone calls. Well, the internet did not want to work for my laptop, the Magic jack did not want to work for their computer, and the family’s laptop didn’t want to work for either. Chantal(mother) was very nice and ended up letting me call my dad from her house phone. In the end, I couldn’t get through to anyone, wherein I was limited to leaving a few voicemails. During the whole process, more and more girls came in to see what I was up to and were very curious to hear me speak English as well as write an email in English. They also tried helping me set up my MagicJack phone, but as I said earlier, no such luck. Once I gave up, we all headed out to the garage to sit with the rest of the family and friends for mini amuse-bouches and champagne. Following, we immediately went upstairs to Marie’s room and talked about horses, dogs, puzzles, and the French language. Marie is currently working on a 1000 piece puzzle of Mona Lisa and she’s only about 9 years old! (she appears very intelligent and mature for her age). Most of the girls told me that they ride horses or “double ponies”, which are larger than a pony, yet smaller than a horse. As for the French language, they wanted me to both say and write something in French to see how my grammar was. One of the girls tricked me; in the French language, there are times when one has to add an “e” at the end if feminine or an “s” if plural; I forgot the “e”. We then had to go back for dinner- not that I was hungry. All of the girls were following me, wanted to sit near me, etc. I loved it! I love little children and the little girl inside me still lives and will live on forever; I’ve just grown responsible and a bit taller is all ;). The dinner was much lighter with platters of sliced meat, potato-like salad, lettuce, tomatoes, cantaloupe, cheese, bread, and strawberry cake. We had to leave a bit earlier than everyone else because of school the next day, so we left at 10:00pm.

As for today, I helped milk the cows in the morning, had breakfast with the family, and was given time off until lunch. I ended up taking a wonderfully peaceful 2 hour nap, waking up just in time to help set up lunch. We had fresh lettuce as well as leftover creamy beef bourguignon stew. Today feels like a somewhat lazy day – too bad it’s not nice out because then I’d go for a run… no such luck. Peut-etre a demain? (Maybe tomorrow?)

On verra! (We’ll see!)

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