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cherries Trouvais


3 cups pitted cherries


1 and 1/4 cups milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour

Place the above ingredients in blender in order in which they are listed. Blend

at top speed for 1 minute, pour 1/4 inch layer of batter in baking dish or pie

plate* over moderate heat until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the

dish.  Remove from heat, spread the cherries over the batter, sprinkle with

an additional 1/3 cup sugar, pour the rest of batter on top and bake in

preheated 350º oven for about an hour. When a knife inserted into middle

comes out clean, it’s done.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm…

“The Clafouti (also spelled with a final “s” in both singular and plural) which

is traditional in the Limousin during the cherry season is peasant cooking

for family meals, and about as simple a dessert to make as you can imagine:

a pancake batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven.

It looks like a tart, and is usually eaten warm. ”

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child

c. 1965


A good recipe to have on hand in case you are not able to get

through all those cherries you picked the previous weekend!

* I’m nervous about heat cracking the baking dish on the stove top,

so I use my heavy cast iron Le Creuset pot



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belgian grain sacks, French ticking and French linen outdoor bed Trouvais

Time to throw ourselves outdoors…

Have been waiting for the last of the spring rains

so I could toss pillows and myself outdoors…

courtyard view Trouvais

Husband on vacation, kids moving hither and yon,

a wide patch of new landscape cleared of stumps

and old ivy, “Walt Whitman” compost (Leaves of Grass)

scattered across the garden, thirty new lavender

plants crisscrossing over new terrain…

The full tilt into summer begins!

Memorial Day


In memory of all our soldiers that have fought for freedom and country

and the families they’ve left behind…

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day

of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

History behind Memorial Day here



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Spring in full flower in Northern California…

From my garden in the cooler San Francisco bay area


emerging apples from early spring blossoms…


Ripening cherries…


foxglove’s enticing hues and patterns…

espalliered apple

Poppies and erigeron fronting an espaliered apple tree. Having a smallish garden,

I love placing fruit trees amidst roses and perennials. After my grandfather died,

my uncle, a polio survivor, had taken over the daily working of the ranch and orchards,

and I remember how keen he was on helping me pick out my first fruit tree, an espaliered

Bosc pear. He loved watching John Wayne westerns, and had equally as much swagger,

toughness, and kindness… He is one of many I miss this weekend…

walnut grove

Wide open canopy of a walnut grove at my mother’s ranch in the San Joaquin

valley less than two hours drive east into the heart of California…

I used to spend summers barefoot in these orchards, or up at dawn to grade

pears and peaches that were being sent off to markets or the local cannery…

My mother still has memories of walking these fields with her dad.

Memories can be so bittersweet…




Off to the countryside to pick cherries and picnic with family…

Hoping to peek into the old warehouses where my Northern Italian

grandfather kept all the necessary equipment for managing his

fruit orchards. Records at Ellis Island show he arrived from Italy

with little more than a hundred dollars. In California,  he worked

unloading ship’s cargo and bought property, piece by piece,

planting groves of walnuts, peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries.

Remembering and grateful for family not here today…

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend…


The French Country Home

Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery

Bernard Touillon



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Lousi XV French lanterns

Louis XV style metal lantern style sconce…

one of two that flank my dining room French doors…

Because of the warbled old glass, you can just

barely make out the aqua candle inside…

18th century French Ikat

Throwing myself into change…finally upgraded my camera, my son switched

out my aging desktop computer for his homemade uber-computer. It is

wickedly fast and powerful and is making a decidedly loud hum at my right

elbow. He mentioned something about it needing new ball-bearings(!?!!) .

I tend to throw myself into change, full speed ahead. So all might go up

in a puff of technological smoke (probably me, not the computer)…

Bella Notte graphite

So in case the screen goes abruptly blank…

here are a few test photos of some favorite finds…

18th century French barometer

I’m on a bit of a “thing’ diet this spring.  Spring gardening always tempers my treasure

hunting impulse..the garden yields so many surprises of its own that I’m content

to count peony and rose buds.  Nevertheless, I  couldn’t resist this antique barometer

I found recently at at an auction. Made in Paris in 1763, it continues to amaze me that

it has passed centuries being settled on one wall after another…

Can’t help but be a little in awe of it…

Who peered into the tiny mercury filled vial on a

balmy summer evening, and what were they wearing?

Did they send someone to fetch them a shawl?

18th century French barometer

Who traced their fingers over the curves of the roses?

Planned a picnic, ordered raspberry plants to be set out or

a crop to be brought in…?

rococo tablescape

It fascinates me how antiques travel over time through countries and homes,

handed from one ardent admirer to the next. A conduit through which people

live their dreams and shape their lives, and then continue on bobbing along

in the stream of life until they enchant another owner…