Sunflowers

There are beautiful sunflower fields dotting the countryside right now!  When the sun hits them “just right” they are incredible.  We pass these fields on every route out of Sanilhac. One of these fields is in Sagries, which is part of our commune.  Sagries is on the other side of the hill from Sanilhac, with about 3 km in between.  This evening I decided to go get a few pictures as the sun was beginning to set…

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Photography by Austin

On May 16th some of us took an evening walk.  I remember Austin bringing the camera because he wanted to capture some of the countryside around our little village.  I just discovered some of his photographs on my desktop and wanted to record them.

I am grateful that some of my children have been able to appreciate the beauty of this country and realize it is not like anything they have ever seen before.  Every place has its’ natural beauty and I am grateful Austin has stopped to enjoy the view!

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Sophie et Themis

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When we first moved to our house in Sanilhac and started meeting our neighbors, we were so happy that a cute little 3 year old (turning 4 during the year), Themis, and her 9 year old brother, Thomas, lived next door.  Themis and Sophie have become good friends this year.  They go to school together and sometimes play together after school.  They have enjoyed playing dress up and swimming together.  They are cute friends!

Heat!

It has been so hot here in France.  Certain areas are under high temperature threats.  The French certainly do not want a repeat of the heat wave of 2003, when thousands of people died due to the heat.  Today it is reaching 101 degrees with humidity.  Thank goodness we have a pool to cool us down because our upstairs is a sauna.  The only AC we have are 2 small units downstairs.

Aaron is traveling up north (Ayen, France) today, for a week of YSA conference  He is one of many speakers for the week.  We were all going to go with him but because of the heat we decided against it.  We were not sure our van would make it in 100 degree weather, nor did we want to suffer a 5.5 hour car drive without AC.  (Our van does not have working AC.)  We are a little disappointed because we wanted to tour the Dordogne region of France.  It is filled with castles, including the Chateau-Hauteforte where many scenes in the movie Ever After were filmed.  Hopefully during another trip!:)

Night with Friends!

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Friday, June 19th our family was invited to Maria del Carmen and Paul Mallet’s home.  It was fun because the Jerome family, Ribera family and Darguence family were all there too. There was delicious food and fun friendships!  The Mallet’s have a nice open yard so the kids could run around and play!  Paul has built their lovely home from ground up!  Maria has a beautiful armoire in one of her bedrooms.  It is roughly 8 feet tall and is absolutely stunning!  I was in awe of its’ beauty!  I would not be able to find something like it in America for under $10,000.  Armoires are so well made here in France and they are used by almost every household.

Below are some photos taken by Maria on her phone.  My phone was not working very well so I could only snap a few.  We are going to miss our friends!

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Parking, the French way!

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Our family was in Toulouse this past weekend for the last Stake Super Samedi.  Saturday night Aaron and I went out to dinner with our friends, Elias and Aurore.  We went into centre ville Toulouse.  Parking is always hard to find in France.  I always get a little nervous when it comes to parking.  The French park anywhere and everywhere!  Some parking is paid parking, other spots one just creates and parks.  Elias was driving and he passed this little parking spot in the above photo thinking he could not fit!  After going around the corner he decided to back up (when I say he backed up, I mean he drove in reverse, fast! We found out that someone taking “drivers education” in France has to know how to drive in reverse!)

Elias came upon this very small parking spot and actually got himself to fit.  He only had about 2-3 inches in front and bumper to pole in the back.  His back wheels were up on the curb just a little.  Aaron and I chuckled!  Elias and Aurore did not give it a second thought!

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Escargots!

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This is what a plate of snails look like being served at a restaurant.  When Aaron and I were in Paris Aaron decided to order escargots for John! :)  John had one and decided to leave the rest for table decoration!  I still have not tried escargots because I just can’t get over the fact that I pick them up on the roads that I run and move them so a car or other pedestrian will not kill them.  Plus, the thought of eating something that tastes like dirt doused in garlic and oil does not interest me!

Vendras

Back in June 2009 our entire family was able to make our first trip to France!  The little hamlet we stayed in is Vendras.  At the time there were 61 residents of Vendras and now there are 100.  We became friends with our neighbors, Michel and Lucette, and we have kept in touch with them the past 6 years.  We all wanted to visit Vendras and see if we could see Michel and Lucette.  Sunday afternoon we all loaded up and headed north about 18 km to Vendras.  We arrived in the cute hamlet and noticed Lucette looking out her window.  We had a lovely visit and they were so grateful we stopped by to see them. We reminisced about the first time Austin really discovered escargot along side Lucette. Austin was collecting the snails and Lucette gently reminded him they were for eating not playing.

Lucette was excited to meet Sophie!  She was surprised at how much the children have grown.  It was so delightful being with them!

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Aaron, Austin and I had been inside their home a number of years ago and got to see the wild boar head mounted on the wall.  The other kids got to see it and Michel told us he and his hunting group had caught 100 wild boar this past hunting season!  They wanted to give us a little of the meat to take home but we were not going directly home and it was a hot day.

Michel was a miner by profession.  He began mining at an early age.  We learned this time that his grandfather had been a miner and they actually have his lamp he used in the mines back in the day.  It was so cool!

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The two summers we stayed in Vendras there was an older man who would sit on a bench at the entrance to the village.  He had white hair and a long beard.  He was deaf and would rarely wave to locals.  He would sit on that bench for hours!  We never found out his name but as the years have passed we have found ourselves wondering about the old man who would sit on the bench.  Well, as we were getting ready to enter Vendras on Sunday I jokingly presented the question, “Do you think the old man is still sitting on the bench?” Oh my goodness!  He was there!!!!  But his long beard was shaved.  Our jaws all dropped!  We found out he has to have someone come into his home 2-3 times per week to help him stay clean.  We were shocked he is still alive and still spends his days on that bench!