07/18/14

Enfin, les figues sont mûres!

lesFigues
Enfin, les figues sont mûres - Finally the figs are ripe!  Better late than never!!  The photo on the left was taken on my porch early this morning.

I usually pick them for the fourth of July but they are just now “making”.   Eat all you can and then preserve the rest to enjoy them throughout the year!

Enfin – finally
Les Figues – the figs
La Figue – The fig (just one)
Le Figuier – The fig tree
Mûres – ripe

 

Recipe for Confiture de Figues – Fig Preserves

1 gallon of fresh figs
1/2 gallon of water
1/2 gallon of sugar
1 lemon thinly sliced

Wash figs and remove stems.  Combine sugar and water in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling add figs and lemon.  Keep on high heat until it is boiling again then lower to medium heat.  When the the syrup has thickened and the figs rise turn off heat.  Allow figs to sit for about an hour so they can soak up even more sugary juice!  Have your hot sterilized jars ready and add figs to top and then add juice to fill. Top the jar with lids, tighten the ring and boil the finished jars for about  45 minutes.  Make sure they have at least a couple of inches of water over them. Remove and cool.  Some people don’t give the jars the boiling bath.  Just make sure the jars are sterile, top the jar with the lid, tighten the ring.  The lid should pop down as it cools.

Try it over biscuits with lots of butter or stuff a beignet!  That’s my favorite :)

06/16/14

Il fait chaud!

fabriShade2

In my garden area (le jardin, the garden) there just isn’t any shade (l’ombrage, shade) and it’s getting REALLY hot out there.  Il fait chaud! Which literally translates to “it makes hot” and IT’S MAKING HOT!

For a portable shade I went to the fabric store (during their great Memorial Day sale 60% off woo hoo) and got a few yards of beautiful floral prints and toile.  I cut out rectangles to make up the final size I wanted and stitched them together with french seams.  I used french seams so it would be as beautiful on the inside as the outside.  I then made some muslin double fold bias tape and finished off the edges.  The fabric was reinforced with small squares of tent repair material, where I wanted to place the ties.  Large metal grommets were placed at those reinforced points.  I ran some cotton rope through the grommets and tied it to some garden stakes I picked up at the hardware store.

I really enjoyed reading there this morning with some fresh picked gardenias from the yard :)  J’aime le sent des jasmins (I love the smell of gardenias)  The project ended up costing about $25.  Much less than the canopies you buy at the store and I think a bit more creole chic.

 

fabriShade1

A few more  french words for this hot day:

Sun – Le soleil
To shine – Faire soleil
Sunset – Le soleil couché ( I love that because coucher means to go to bed, the sun goes to bed)

05/21/14

La variété fait la beauté

birdsColors1
La variété fait la beauté is an old creole saying that variety makes beauty.  This has been so true at my bird feeder this year!  I don’t ever remember seeing such color.  It is beautiful!

And the songbirds!  They remind me of a little ditty – Fi Fi Fa Ré Sol Chante Rossingnol!  I’m not sure of the origin, or proper translation.  But, I would guess the Fi, Fa, Ré and Sol are like singing Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, etc. and Chante Rossingol is “sings the nightingale”!

Here are a few common birds in creole french:
Cardinal – Le Cardinal
Crow/Blackbird - L’Oiseau Noir
Mockingbird – Le Moqueur
Hummingbird – Z’oiseau de Fleurs
Small bird like a finch or sparrow - Le ti gris
Redwinged Blackbird – Le Caporal
birdsColors2Robin – La grive
Woodpecker – Le pique du bois
Blue jay – Le geai bleu

05/15/14

Les Assaisonnement

oregSwing

oregWreath
Les Assaisonnement – the seasonings

I noticed my oregano plant was getting pretty unruly so I trimmed it back and had this nice basket of oregano… a lot of it!  So, I started to assemble it in bunches for drying.  Then I went a bit further and put those bunches together in the round and voila a wreath!  I think it looks great and smells even better :)

There were of course some stalks left over so I’ll strip them and use them for cooking.

Here’s a great creole spice recipe that includes oregano and other herbs you may have in your garden.  If you have enough cuttings you may want to try a wreath!

 

Creole seasoning Makes about ½ cup

3 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves

2 tablespoons dried sweet basil

1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon white pepper

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon salt

Dash chili powder

Dash cumin powder

Mix dry ingredients together using a fork or place them in a jar, cover and shake it until they are mixed thoroughly. Store in a tightly covered container.

Variation: For Blackening Seasoning: Add 1 additional tablespoon paprika and 1 additional tablespoon black pepper.

Taken from the article “The Louisiana Spice Palette

 

05/8/14

The gator, the turtle and the snake!

irises
My husband came to get me.  He was telling me to come see the beautiful irises that were in bloom just off the pier.  When we got back to the spot where he was standing, just a few minutes earlier, a nice little gator had climbed up in his place with a turtle and a snake skimming the water just off the pier.  You just never know what is lurking in the grass nearby!

I got such a kick out of this typical Louisiana experience I had to make the image part of the header for this new blog.

I plan to use this blog as a way to create interest in and preservation of our French Creole culture and language here in Avoyelles Parish.

Here are a few words from today’s post:turtSnkAli

Iris – la glaie bleu and I’ve also heard la lys bleu
Alligator – le cocodrie
Snake – le serpent
Turtle – la tortue

I wonder what kind of gris gris it is to see all three together?   I’m thinking my grand-mère would say…. ce n’est pas bon (this is not good)!

09/2/13

Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave

northupportrait
The Solomon Northup memoir “Twelve Years A Slave” is a 1st person account of a free man of color from New York state being drugged, captured, sold into slavery in New Orleans, Louisiana and spending 12 years as a slave here in Rapides and Avoyelles Parishes, Louisiana.

The memoir ends with his telling of how he reacquired his freedom, aided by a man named Samuel Bass.  Bass was born in Canada but lived and died in Marksville, LA in Avoyelles Parish.  Bass died of pneumonia August 30, 1853 – age 46, while at the home of Justine Tournier (a free woman of color), only months after Solomon was freed.

The memoir was originally published in 1853 and is to be featured as a 2013 movie ‘Twelve Years a Slave” >>> official movie site.

After arriving in New Orleans Solomon was first sold to William Ford (of what is now Woodworth, LA), then after one year to John Tibaut and after another year to Edwin Epps, a planter from Avoyelles Parish.  Solomon was to spend the next 10 years on Epps’ plantation.

Epps’ plantation was located south of what is now Eola, Louisiana in the community of Holmesville, LA on Bayou Boeuf >>> google map. Before Epps’ house was moved in 1976 it faced south/southwest along Bayou Boeuf, just southeast of the Texas and Pacific railroad tracks near a clump of second growth trees, encompassed by a pecan orchard on three sides.

The Edwin Epps house is now located on the >>> campus of LSU at Alexandria, about 25 miles from its original location.  It is the only structure still standing in Louisiana directly associated with Northup’s account. Below I have posted some images of the house which Northup assisted in building.

Sue Eakin, a professor at LSUA, was instrumental in bringing Northup’s story to modern readers. Prior to Eakin’s finding of the book, on a dusty shelf in an old Louisiana Plantation home, the book had been lost to 20th century readers. Eakin soon learned the narrative could not be found in libraries, stores or catalogues.  It later became part of her life’s work which included the establishment of the >>> Northup Trail (scroll down page 86 of “Avoyelles: Crossroads of Louisiana Where All Cultures Meet” for Trail Information) in Louisiana, which follows points of interest in the story.

Additional Links:

Solomon Northup’s memoir “Twelve Years a Slave”

Summary of “Twelve Years a Slave” (I noticed a typo of “Great Pacoudrie Swamp” I think it should be Cocodrie Swamp, cocodrie means alligator and it is near Cocodrie Lake, south of Ford’s Plantation)

Historic Documentation on the Epps House

Sue Eakin interview in Country Roads

TwelveYearsASlave.org

Bayou Boeuf History

Article from the New York Times 1853

Twelve Years a Slave, the movie at IMDB

Edwin and Mary Epps’ Burial Site – Fogleman Cemetery, Avoyelles Parish

Samuel Bass – genealogy information

 

Old Avoyelles Parish Courthouse

 

The old Avoyelles Parish Courthouse, no longer standing. Solomon Northup’s freedom order was signed at Marksville, parish of Avoyelles on the fourth day of January, 1853.

freedomDoc
eppsHousePlaque


eppsHouseExt
eppsHouseSide  eppsHouseInt