Good Morning Sunshine


No rain today.  Gorgeous day.  I spent most of the day inside working with Brent planning our farm and sales and the rest.

The cows were super happy.  So much grass.  They chilled in the sun after a big munch.  IMG_0367

Christmas presents from Santa are arriving.  We are collecting them and hiding them in a super secret place that the kids won’t find … except for Minty.  Because Minty is clever at finding secret hiding places.  The tree is up and kids are munching their way to Christmas day.  Eeeeee!IMG_0363

The Best Steak I Ever Ate


I love this question.  You ask a person to name the best steak they ever ate and they will give you an earful.  It might be full of what crap steak they’ve had.  Or you may hear a few tales of steak enjoyed on a trip where steak is great.  Or they will tell you about their conversation with customs about the curious incident of a bag full of beef. But, pretty much, everyone has a steak story.  Ask the same of chicken or pork?  Not so much.  There is something about beef that gets you excited.


Me?  The best steak I ever ate has been tonight.  Kids giddy yet asleep for Santa.  Presents wrapped.  Husband resting.  Cats and dogs and cows all good.  We did a mince sale, but aged the good cuts.  Though we would love to sell these beauties, we need to try them first.  Then sell. Us Grasspunks, we are extremely concerned with flavor and texture.  This girl … the mince … made great mince, but what about her steaks?  Well, the filet mignon was amazing.  Amazing!  The best steak I ever ate. Maybe it’s the set and setting.  Maybe I was super hungry.  No matter, I will forever remember the filet I ate when everyone was sleeping, Santa had come and gone and the flesh was fresh.  Such flavor.  Such texture.  I will help to repeat this.

Okay now, ssssh! Don’t wake them. I’m enjoying this little moment of steak coma and calm. Go to sleep or he’ll miss your house!


Ho Ho, Merry Christmas, Bonne Fête à Tous and All The Rest


I have yet to write a Christmas letter.  I LOVE reading Christmas letters.  It is fantastic to see how well everyone is doing.  We once received a Christmas letter that was quite macabre.  I kept that one.  They totally said that out loud.

I’ve always toyed around with writing a Christmas letter that didn’t highlight the highlights of the year.  I was thinking something like a 2013 post-mortem listing all the ways we messed up throughout the year.   That’s not all that interesting for others.  Instead, I’ve done a review in pictures.  I suppose I’ll stick with that theme.  The cows have been well behaved minus a few advances to the next paddock.  We suffered from the one gastro bug ( Brent and Z excluded ).  My yuppie cashmere has finally started  showing fatigue … or is that patina.  I should be …uh …  Jean should be writing this in third person.  Jean took a few photos during deux mille treize that sum up our year.  Except for the part when Jean was dealing/raising a small dragon with her hunky husband.  Z is in school now, so we share training our dragon with the village.  Sometimes, it takes a village to train a dragon.


This barn cat is useless.  His fluffy, gray fluff will not distract from the fact that he is no mouser.  What a puffy gray fat pat!


Frites fried in tallow taste good. McDos was right!


This year, we used the big chain.  I don’t remember what for, but … we used the big chain!


An over-the-top solution to keep your fence up.  But isn’t it fun to drive the digger?


I discovered Madiran.  Yum yum Madi-yum.


The internet went down in 2013.  A few days ” offline.”  Crazy times.  Bumble bees were roasted.


It snowed!  And it was beautiful!  And then it went away!

Veal box!  So tender and so tasty.


We lost our happy neighbors to the great warm that is Australia.


We deliver to Bordeaux!


Bordeaux is beautiful!


It rained a lot.


The girls are loving the pasture.


This is breakfast.


The rye grass worked out well.


We have super cool new neighbors!


Z still loves her hats.


Our neighbors grow big lettuce.


I sat!

Lucy got really into cooking.


Kevin visit!  Oh the kids love Kevin.


Kids and Kevin do … Jean doesn’t know what they do.


Brent and Kevin test out the big frigo van.


Brent packs boxes for our customers.


The boys drink some hot cocoa.


My outdoor chair saw the light of day!


Minty stood still for her wax statue.


Z started school!  She can’t stop talking in French.  This is great for Jean’s French language education.
The family loves the siphon!  The tongue deal is not my line of genetics.


Nana cuddled with the girls.


Otto made a Tetris game with Lego.


Lucy is running the chicks.  Her forty beauties are laying well despite the cold.


Z helps in her super, wet barriered bear slippers.


Brent got a bit muddy.


Otto snapped this of Jean doing the Sunday sheet change.  You can tell Jean really loves the Sunday sheet change.


We set sh*t on fire.


Hunka hunka burnin’ love arrive.


This poor dog hit an all time doggy low with the floaty.


A new fluff-ball will arrive soon to start off our 2014.

A very merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year.  What are you up for next year?  Are you feeling calm?

Youll Be Doin’ All Right, With Your Christmas of White

Yeah, we’re here.  Kids are singing.  Advent pre-excitement is bustling.   The kids are ready for Christmas.  Since France doesn’t do Thanksgiving, we feel November and make a move for Christmas.  No need to wait for Turkey.  Dude, it’s on.  I feel like I should pre-advent the advent chocolate.  It’s dark and cold and without all the water balloons, inside fun might need a nudge.


Okay Mom, You Were Right


I vaguely remember each year, my mom campaigning for an artificial Christmas tree. With sacrosanct tone, we would say ( or yell from her perspective ), “NOOOO! The smell! The tradition! It mist be real!”. Loving her children more than anything, she would opt for the real tree. Little did we know she also opt-ed for watering, fallen needle maintenance and dead tree removal. This year, for many or whatever reasons, I have arrived at this exact argument. Live Christmas trees are hard to find in France and a bit on the expensive side ( let’s just say the Chubby-n-Tubby five buck tree does not exist ). So we went fake. And OH the relief. Look, I’ve got lotsa young kids, I got cows, I got a farm to help run and tending to a live tree has fallen off my priority list.

I suspect the first thing my mama did when her last baby left home ( that would be me ) was buy an artificial Christmas tree. Mom, let me say this, “you go girl!”

Christmas Eve Eve




It’s a holiday unto itself.  On the sixteenth of December, Otto collapsed into his desire to eat the entire advent calendar.  Despite some counsel regarding taunting sisters, he ate his way up to and including the twenty-second of December.  Did he eat Christmas Eve Eve?  No.   Because Christmas Eve Eve is a holiday.  It’s a day of excruciating cheer.

Christmas Eve comes with its own minty ooze of false hopes and visions of presents tightly stacked and packed under the tree.  Oh there will be presents, donchoo worry, but it’s never as high or as packed as a kid can imagine.  We latched on to a tradition my mom used to curb the excitement.  Though, technique would be more accurate.  On Christmas Eve we let the kids pick one present from under the tree and open it.  Any present they want.  Any one of these four presents right here.  Pick any one.  Pick any one with your name on it.  We all know what’s inside.  When you open a brand new set of snuggy jammies the night before Christmas, it’s when Christmas really begins.

We’ve received a handful of Christmas cards this year.  I love the cards!  It is so much trouble to send a card to France.  You can’t simply stick a stamp on it and be done.  I really appreciate seeing the pictures of families and receiving that little dose of spirit from other parts of the world.  Some include Christmas letters summing up the wonderful year that was had.  They are always a hoot to read.  I’ve launched a blank document of a popular wordsmith application a few years in a row to pen some such letter.  After the first sentence (e.g. “Whoah what a year!” – “Gee has time whizzed by or what?!” – “Hi folks!”), I close without saving because writing a Christmas letter is not for me.  I had thought about wrting an anti-Christmas letter describing how dismal it all went and maybe send it out sometime in July.  I also toyed with the idea of sending out a non-Christmas letter similar in design to Paul Taylor’s “dance” where he stood still for the entirety of the piece.  Or similar feeling to Bert and Ernie’s broken television set that flashes the letter of the day over and over until Ernie fixes it.  Our Christmas letter would be a sparse piece of A4 with one word in the middle summing up the year.  I’ve thought of a few words like cow, farm, holycrap (is holycrap one word?).  This could only be improved by summing up the year in a letter.  With that in mind, this year has been brought to us by the letter ‘F.’  Sure, I could tell you why, but that wouldn’t be very Taylor of me.

Happy Holidays to y’all and to y’all a good night night.













the letter f