For some reason I don't bounce back from jet-lag as fast as I used to. I got home last Thursday and have spent the past few days enjoying the lovely Versailles weather. From -16 to +6 (Celsius) and the latter feels downright Florida-like to me after a week in Québec.
As always, I had a wonderful time in Montréal. Most of my time was spent spoiling the Frenchlings with shopping trips (books and clothes) and a visit to the new planetarium. In exchange the girls allowed me to sleep on the sofa bed and follow them about during the day. I got to exercise my culinary skills learned from my American mother/French mother-in-law which involves making tasty nourishing dishes with very VERY cheap ingredients. That, mes amis, is the real secret to French and good old-fashioned American cooking. No matter how limited your budget, you can always make boeuf bourguignon and biscuits (or dumplings).
We shopped at Provigo (discount supermarket), walked most places instead of driving (or taking the public transportation) and paid close attention to the thermostat and the lights (dark overcast days, electric heat, and no insulation).
The best part of coming home was seeing the changes to the garden. The daffodils and crocuses are up, the forsythia is about to bloom, and the rose bushes are budding. Yesterday I decided to trust the universe and prune the roses. And, as always, the French side of the Franco-American Flophouse came out and said, "Aren't you cutting them back too much? We won't have any roses if you do that. Stop!"
Ahem. The purpose of pruning is for the health and beauty of the plant. Roses (flowers) are merely a happy by-product of the process. I prune hard (and if you think I'm bad you should have seen my grandfather who learned his pruning skills in the orchards of Eastern Washington) but I prune well. Yes, it looks ugly at first but my roses look pretty darn good in the summer and that is the whole point of the exercise. After 23 years of marriage, why do we still have this conversation every spring? It's a mystery.
To my surprise I am now sharing my garden with wildlife (one welcome, the other not so much).
As I was lazing around on the back porch the other day a green bird with a red cap swooped down from the neighbor's apple tree. At first I thought it was a parrot (an escapee). Nope, it was a European Woodpecker:
|From Woodpeckers of Europe|
The other "guest" is a rat. He/she is using the back perennial bed in front of the stone wall as a highway to get from the neighbor's yard to mine. And what are our two cats doing about it? Absolutely nothing and makes me wonder why I bother to feed them and let them sleep on my bed. Ungrateful useless beasts...
The sun is shining and the garden is beckoning so I will leave you now with this picture of the garden I took early this morning. Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.