bike month

May was national bike month in the US. We may do more to celebrate Bastille Day than the 4th this July, but won't miss out on bike month. I celebrated with some road biking, and some longer trips on the old velo - like a 40 mile day to go to a brocante sale at a farm in Gex. Get out and ride! 

(photo taken at the Tour du France last year)


caves ouvertes

A fabulous day in the Geneva countryside- tasting the latest wines from our local wineries. Derek and I started off on our bikes to meet friends a few towns over, but got distracted by all the domaines along the way. We made just a few stops in Dardagny and Russin before making our way to Choully and Peissy.

Our first stop, Domaine Les Faunes, Dardagny where we did some sampling, Derek successfully completed the blind taste test, and we bought a bottle of aligote to take ride along in my bike basket.

Up the hill to Russin and continuing our ride through the vineyards. We made several more stops, sat in the grass to share a few bottles with friends, and started the ride back home. I can't think of a much better day, biking, friends, free wine, perfect weather...but being Swiss, the festivities ended and were pretty much cleaned up by 6 pm, good thing we started in the morning.

Ride home at the end of a lovely day. Already looking forward to next year. Santé.


morning spot

This was my morning reading spot in the vineyard. The vines are getting really tall and bright. As I was getting ready to head back to the house for lunch, I heard a distinct low, three whistles...another hoopoe. 

I was so excited to recognize the call, but then it flew past me. So a second hoopoe sighting in the vineyard. I wonder if this is going to become common. Maybe I'll make it a goal to try to snap one's photo...but if you've ever tried to photograph birds, you know how cooperative they can be.

When I got home, I noticed gross aphids all over my rose buds, and the snails (who were my patio friends) were starting to cause some trouble in my hydrangea. A few quick remedies: I washed off the aphids with soapy water and relocated a spider hoping he'll decided to get comfortable in the rose bush to keep the aphids away. Then the snails got evicted to the front side of the barn between our house and the street and coffee grounds spread in the hydrangea and geranium soil. I liked them when they clung to the patio walls, but their goo was getting all over the leaves and causing root mold and the hydrangea couldn't handle the extra weight hanging on their undersides. Sorry snails.


hoopoe hunting

Some much needed rain came this weekend and cooler temperatures. It was actually nice to spend almost all of Saturday hanging around the house...even catching an afternoon nap. When 's the last time you took a nap? It was strange and nice.

Sunday, we made a trip to the Thoiry market and it's special plant sale. I brought home this lovely pink rose bush for the patio. We attempted a bike ride, but it was short...too cold! So on foot we headed out for what ended up being a seven hour vineyard walk, birding excursion, meandering along the river, getting a little lost in the woods in the rain, crossing paths with a pair of scary wild boar (close up), back onto the road, up through the vineyards, and topped off by spotting our very first hoopoe. We were hoping to find one, and finally, just before we reached the edge of town, we heard one call and  saw him land on an open branch. We each got a great view of him perched in a patch of light with his crest up and eating a worm. Exciting/nerdy birding moment.   


paved with poppies

Today I rode my bike to a farm sale in Gex. It was a beautiful ride on quiet country roads between field of poppies. I had a few lucky finds, a faded French flag, a blue Danish bunt pan, and a big old jar to hold my wine corks. I stopped by CERN for a quick hello "on the way" home, and saw Derek's swank new office. I'll have to get some photos of this great new building overlooking the vineyard. My little adventure totaled 60 kilometers of riding for the day, but it was so nice I didn't realize the distance. Happy Friday.



While I've been enjoying all this sunshine, the fields look a bit thirsty, and a Swiss publication called the forecast tedious. I wouldn't go that far, but even I would be okay with a rainy day pretty soon. I'm sure the grapes could use it too.

A few rain clouds are trying, but they don't last long and the sun is back again in full summer-ish force. Time for a rain dance perhaps.


ah, weekend

It was a warm one here (again). Spring is making-up for skipping out on us last year. To top off a relaxing weekend, that included three walks over 10 miles each, we ate sunset sushi in the vineyard. Yup, all that sushi for just two...we were hungry from our long excursions. And cue Monday... 



Happy Mother's Day to the mommas out there.


saturday style

 I'll be the first to admit I don't like/drink beer, but since we were grilling on a sunny Saturday afternoon, we thought a sampling of this super local organic beer would be a treat. Mostly, I liked them for the sailboat labels (also how I select wine). So much for sampling, we only split one, but so far so good, and a great match for tofu brats, grilled onions and zucchini before a long (not a lazy as intended) walk.  Have a relaxing Saturday.


tall grass

Looks like a great spot for lunch and reading a few chapters. The weather has been so sweet, perfect for picnics, and so I've been picnicking. I've settled into a few regular spots, just a short walk into the vineyard, but today I headed the other way with my bike and basket and a slow afternoon tucked away in the tall grass.


summer chickpea salad

I love summer salads- light and fresh. We had this one tonight for a quiet vineyard picnic as the lowering sun turned all the vines to a rusty gold. After the sun was gone we had to remember that it's still early spring and I wore the picnic blanket as a cape for walking home. Here's some good warm weather flavor.

-  chick peas, about 4 cups cooked, drained, and cooled or 1 big can
-  cherry tomatoes, about 10
-  1 small red onion chopped
-  2 small lemons, squeezed
-  mint, handful, chopped
-  basil, handful, chopped 
-  tablespoon olive oil
-  sprinkle of cayenne pepper
-  sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Mix it all up.
2. Enjoy at your favorite picnic spot.

Original recipe here. Bon app!



I'm seeing a pattern in my recipes: treats that are essentially non-vegan. Crepes, creme brulee, fondue, mac-n-cheese, cupcakes. I search for recipes and try to come up with ways to turn these goodies- that we'd eat infrequently anyway- into a little healthier vegan-friendly version. Sometimes I even like them better than the real thing. So here's another not-so-vegan backyard barbecue treat: chip dip.

-  2 servings natural soy yogurt
-  tablespoon chopped onion, fresh, caramelized, or dried
-  handful chives, chopped
-  teaspoon garlic powder
-  teaspoon celery salt
-  1/2 teaspoon sugar
-  1/4 cayenne pepper
-  salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Stir ingredients together.
2. Chill
5. Dip some chips.

Bon app!