Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bearing Fruit

Though I am suffering from the heat, and the effects of too much procrastination, and what might be the start of carpal tunnel from too much typing in too short a period of time (see: procrastination), things are moving along nicely with my projects, both paid and personal. In two weeks I will be milking goats and making cheese, and I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to that. My original plan for living in France, back before I discovered the existence of the cheese diploma program here in Tours, was to work with small-production (or large-scale hands-on) cheesemakers on a part-time basis in exchange for room and board, and to use the other half of my time to do the freelancing stuff, a much healthier balance. I think I need the schedule someone else imposes on me to some extent, as I have been finding it hard to discipline myself to create that same balance during any given week. Rather than putting in 4 hours of typing and then taking 4 hours to swim, or walk, or get out of the house at least, I find myself sitting at the computer from 7am to 5pm for two or three days in a row working, then goofing off but not necessarily getting out of the house, instead continuing to sit at the computer and play games or read books. That's one of the nice things about cheesemaking; there's a rhythm to the day that requires you to be in certain places at certain times to do certain things, but also hours at a stretch where you don't have to be focused on the dairy. At least not if you're merely a worker and not an owner, which is why I do not aspire to have my own cheesemaking business.

Also, I am hoping that it will be cooler in the foothills of the Alps, because while the sunshine has been lovely I have not been enjoying the temperatures in the 90s, especially when I have to close my windows to shut out the noise so I can make the voiceover recordings I'm doing for one of my paid projects. The cats love the heat, stretched out bellies to the sun, but the dog has been leaving panting drips all over the floor. I hope there's a cat at the dairy.

The last time I went to the farmer's market the whole square smelled of apricots and peaches and nectarines. The cherries have been so good that I have to go back to the Wednesday markets because I eat all the ones from the Saturday market so quickly. Tender green beans and new onions, herbs in handfuls, the second wave of strawberries and the first of what the French call fruits rouges even though they're not all red: blackcurrants (cassis), red currants, raspberries. The blueberries and blackberries should arrive soon, though I may not be here for them. On the other hand, since Mme Da Costa sells her cheese at the Sunday market in Séchilienne (at least I think it's a farmer's market) I should be able to keep eating berries through August.

As usual, I did a tour of the stalls to take pictures and compare goods and prices before settling down to shop. The vendor selling the stem-on artichokes looked up at me as I took a photo at his stall, and said, "One euro."

"And if I come back later to buy some of these artichokes?" I inquired.

"Two euros."

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