Synergy In Action

A retriever and a one-year-old have a symbiotic relationship.  She-dog with the insatiable appetite and She-bub with the opposable thumb.  Tosca, with her big ideas of breaking into unopened dogfood bags, masterminded this cunning plan.  It goes a little something like this:

–        The “barn cats” bust in with the claws and the bag and make a little hole

–        Bag gets moved inside by the big people, away from those pesky cats

–        get the baby in there with her fancy thumbs

–        et Voilà, girl be hand feeding the morsels



Starbuck is Dead

starbuck is dead

Oh I do loves me some strong coffee.  In America, we used to have this amazing machine that giveth some perfect espresso every morning.  It’s gone now as are my yuppie years (and we ponder what an aging yuppie will become.  A “Guppie”, geriatric-urban-professional?  A “Muppie”, maturing-urban-professional? ).  As we settle into peasant farming life, you really must arrange your caffeine consumption to match your economical means with your palette.  After much research involving (close your eyes Michael) instant coffee, stovetop espresso, “French” press and drip machine among other crazy concoctions, we settled on this combination:

–        drip coffee machine

–        cheapest Arabica “doux” you can find

There is a very cheap “robusta” you can buy, but WOO BOY, don’t go there.  Bitter.  Yuck.  Doux (pronounced “doo” and if it’s cheap you call it “disco doo”) is the entry point to great coffee.  I picked up the cheapest filter coffee pot I could find and here are the problems:

–        horrible fill trough

–        small heating plate, coffee gets cold

–        only makes ten cups.  If you have four kids and herd of cattle, you need a lot of coffee.  More than ten cups.

So I bought Starbuck.  She was a tall, orange, drink-a-water with a horrible logo.  We popped a little mermaid sticker that Lucy had laying around to cover her brand. Knowing her coffee would never achieve coffee mogul-dom, we called her Starbuck.  Her fill trough stills sucks, but oh she made the coffee fast, kept it warm and delivered a stellar cup every morning two pots at a time.  At one point, we didn’t trust her.  In haste, we replaced her with a crap filter machine and stuck her out in the rain.  The replacement turned out to be a cheap weekend fling.  With apologetic wipes and a used replacement carafe, we brought Starbuck back in to fulfill the job she was built to do.   And she delivered.  I cleaned her every Sunday.  But this Monday was different.  She didn’t complete her brew.  She pooped out.  She became fatiguée.  After four cups she stopped.  I tried to revive her with all I knew how.  Silence.  She was gone.

R.I.P. Starbuck.  We laughed.  We cried.  We kissed twenty bucks good-bye.

… and with good YouTubeWars ammunition, we solute you with this … if you can replace “red” with “orange” it’ll all fall into place

The F-Word

boot and tractor


Due to the tremendous flood of premature birthday wishes, mainly my sisters, but really one of them … twice (she’s very happy that I’ve hit a big one) and my mother, all of them early (when you get no mail at all other than piles of advertisements we call “Conforamagasm” and bills, two cards rapidly tsunami into a flood), I suppose I should admit it and turn twenty-nine again.  But this one is special. This one launches me to a whole new number sequence.  Slide one over on the ol’ abacus, I’ve peaked another mountain.  I can remember way, way, way, way, way, way back ago wishing Brent his happy fortieth.  I looked high and low for a forty-year-old Scotch to ease his body into a new time zone.  Without spending thousands, all I could come up with is a thirty-year-old Talisker.  So I went with the “you don’t look a day over thirty” line (thanks for the tip stevem).  It seemed to work and the Scotch was divine.  Smooth as a baby’s bum with just enough peat for girls like me.  I like my Scotch peaty.


With my new unlocked wisdom, I am able to say things out loud like, “I don’t like the Beatles.  I am left unmoved.”  Or “Donchoo even THINK of texting at my dinner table.  Put the phone down and no one will get hurt.“ Or “Facebook is playing you for your narcissistic tendencies and profiting.”  Whew.  Blah.  That feels better.  But I can also offer advice.  Like, “have all your kids before you’re forty.  Except for my mom when a ‘happy surprise’ goes brat” or “making stuff from scratch is taking control of your life.”  Yeah, I’m full of it.  But the baby is crying.  The cake needs frosting.  The cows need checking.  The chickens need feeding.  I’ll take my new wise ass out and get back to work.



Break-ah My Stride

At times, when things are slow, somewhere between after the cows have been mooved to the kids being fed and in bed, we get time to blog or read or listen to the radio or play “youtube song wars.”

and right now, I’m in the lead.  With this beauty:




the brown leather belt holding up black leather pants, the mustache, the step-touch … I so win.  Though Brent is ruthless.  He is relentless.  He has more lame musical knowledge.  So lame, it’s cool.  This will end with me losing, but at least I made him sweat a little.  You must watch.  It’ll perk up your day and you may consider wearing green, sparkling leotards.

I’m Lampin’ I’m Lampin’


and whoah, you must behold The Beast.  I’m sure it has a much better name.  I’ve been trying to take photos of it when The Beast first arrived many, many months ago.  It’s coy.  It’s mysterio.  It’s a bit dusty and cob-webby.

I love it.


It tucks us in at night.  It brightens our path as we (me, okay Brent) staggers down to make the morning brew.


It’s big.  It’s beautiful.


On occasion, it makes noise.  Which is more give from this lovely piece of art.  This beauty was designed by Katty.  She’s quite talented.  She is a One Foot Taller.  Someday, maybe I’ll grab that photo that does it justice.

What do he mean by suckas man?

Mini Basket


Otto participated in a département – wide basketball match.  Basketball is called “basket” (say that with a French accent if you will).  It turns out of all the departements, in all the villages, in all the world, we walked into a strong basketball program.  With my tall American boy, who is genuinely interested in basketball, he signed up and has enjoyed each week and each match.


As his parents, we try to support his motivation.  He totally loves basketball as do his teammates.  The event was huge.  The kids were amazing.  At no point in the all-day event, did the kids run around and get all silly.  Each one was practicing passing or shooting or starting their own pick-up game when they weren’t playing a match.


There were ten basketball courts set up with one grand buzzer to rule them all.  They did two buzzers per game.  Then the dude with the microphone would tell everyone where their next match was.  The event smoothly progressed until everyone was done.  At the end, the results were announced.  Our village took second place!  Go team!  We were all very excited.  Otto got his first medal which is up on his wall by his “Fete du Mini Basket” t-shirt.

Zélie, our little runner, walker, dancer, year-and-a-half-old team supporter, put up with stroller jail and managed to enjoy Otto’s event.  She’s becoming too familiar with her sibling’s sporting events.


Zélie at the all-day Basketball Tournament (grabbed this one for you, Josh).


Zélie at the all-day Fencing Tournament.

Bloom Again The Calla Lily


Oh those Calla lillies.  Love ’em.  It’s been so wet lately, I wasn’t sure if they’d flip their fancy, white bloom in my face.


You see, the way the Gascon house works is: it keeps cold in or warm in and gently transitions to what you need when.  So, my Nutella Weather Station has been relatively unchanged.  We fought hard to keep it above single digits (Celcius) through the winter.  With all the rain, I’ve stuck ‘er outside to try it out as a rain meter or pluviomètre (it’s true, things sound better in French at times).  The kittens played their part in cleaning off any Nutella that may get in the way of rain metering.  The children helped fill it with water when they gave ol’ Tossy her Sunday bath.  Aside from that, we got this much rain today.  And let me tell you, the grass is growing like grass!



She’s clean.  She’s a toss pot.  She’s a clean Tosca.