Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy Happy !

Just a couple photos of the Christmas Day fun on this New Year's Eve.

Our friend Sue in California sent this cool little dish to us this year. I'm not sure yet, but I think she probably picked it up here in France last spring when she was visiting. She's like that... It works great as a little serving dish !

Down below is the gang around the table. Janet and David brought traditional English crackers that bang when you pull them apart. Inside were these paper hats, little gifts, and little sayings resembling fortunes inside Chinese fortune cookies. This was taken just as we sat down to our dinner of turkey, stuffing, brussels sprouts, and squash purée.

Left to right: Harriet, Alfred, Ken, Janet, David.

Sorry the photo is a bit blurry, but I didn't use a flash and I had been sipping wine in advance of dinner. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

This evening we're off to see French friends Brassia and Gilles and some others that they've invited for the new year réveillon. They live about 40 minutes from us. Temperatures are predicted to be above 50ºF, so we don't have to worry about icy roads or snow on the way home, and that's a good thing. Oysters and duck are among the items on the menu.

Bonne Année ! See you next year !

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bûche De Noël

Once again this year I attempted a traditional French holiday dessert : une bûche. It's a yule log cake that gets its name from the log that people put on the fire just before going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

This is the third year that I've made one, but this year my chocolate frosting didn't work as well as the last two years. It might have been that I put too much kirsch in, resulting in a frosting that wouldn't thicken properly. Oh well, it still tasted good !

The jelly roll cake, fresh out of the oven. It will flatten out a bit as it cools. I think I need to reduce the number of eggs from eight to six.

The first step is to make the jelly roll cake. This is a light cake made with eight eggs. I know that sounds a bit contradictory, but the eggs are separated and the whites are beaten until they're fluffy and the yolks and flour get folded in, so there's a lot of air in the cake.

Chocolate pastry cream is spread on top of the cake just before it gets rolled up.

For the filling, I made a chocolate pastry cream (more egg yolks). Then the cooled cream is spread over the cooled cake and the whole thing is rolled into a log shape.

The rolled-up log.

Next, I cut the ends off diagonally and stuck them onto the log to simulate branch stubs. This year I made them too big. Then the whole thing gets frosted.

Above, the ends of the cake are stuck onto the log to simulate stumps. Below, chocolate and cream are ready to be made into a ganache for frosting the cake.

You can make meringue mushrooms or candied leaves to decorate with, but with everything else we were doing that day, I just sprinkled the log with powdered sugar to simulate snow. Like I said before, it all tasted great even if it didn't look to professional...

The frosted and dusted cake.

So, I'm thinking that if I do this again next year, I may use lemon curd for the filling and try a different frosting. And I also think I need to make a smaller, flatter cake, so I'll experiment with six eggs rather than eight and reduce the flour and sugar accordingly.

Friday, December 29, 2006


For little appetizers on Christmas Day, I made these little roll-ups that I saw someone make on Cuisine TV. I thought they looked good and that they would taste just as nice.

The first ones are made with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and cucumber. The second with pâté de foie de canard (duck liver pâté) and cornichons (gherkins).

Smoked salmon and cucumber roll-ups sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

First, you take a slice of whole wheat sandwich bread and cut off the crusts. Then you flatten the bread with a rolling pin. Spread cream cheese on the bread, add a layer of smoked salmon, and a stick of cucumber (the cuke is peeled, seeded, then cut into sticks the length of the bread slice).

The whole thing is then rolled up like a sushi roll - in fact, I used a sushi mat to do the rolling. A little cream cheese seals the seam, which is then covered with toasted sesame seeds to hide it. Each roll is cut into four pieces and stood on end. I also sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on top for decoration.

A close-up of the pâté and pickle roll-ups.

The pâté roll-ups are done the same way, only I used butter to seal the seam and pressed them into paprika to hide it.

A tray of pâté and pickle roll-ups with paprika.

They tasted great, even though they didn't look as pretty as I wanted them to. I just need practice. In fact, I'm making them again for apéritifs this evening at the home of our British friends, Janet and David.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Don't Even Think About It !

Above, a warning sign at Fort Macon on Atlantic Beach, NC. Below, a shopkeeper's warning in Beaufort, NC.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Word Of The Week


While watching Fiches Cuisine on Cuisine TV the other day, the host, Carinne, slid her creation from the oven tray to a platter by grabbing hold of the parchment paper on which the dish had baked and pulling it quickly to the platter. I believe she was making something with foie gras, in which she had built up layers of foie gras and other ingredients inside a mold, then baked it for a while. Once moved to the serving platter, she slid the paper out from underneath, then slipped the mold off the completed dish.

As she slid the foie gras tower from baking tray to platter, she said, "Je ripe le tout de la plaque vers l'assiette." She used today's word, the verb riper, which means to slide or slip something from one place to another, as in slipping cookies off a cookie sheet onto a platter.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Kitchen Collection [3]

I first saw a salad spinner in France, back in 1981. I think I laughed. What a contraption ! Why would anyone buy some thing that does that ? I mean, what's wrong with rinsing lettuce in a colander and letting it drip dry ? Well, it never does dry that way, and that's what's wrong.

Unwashed lettuce can be full of sand and the occasional bug, so it must be washed. Excess, or even any, water in a salad dilutes the dressing and makes the salad, well, soggy and unappealing. Crisp, dry lettuce is what you want. The spinner works almost like the spin cycle on your washing machine. The inner basket of the spinner rotates at high speed forcing the water outside against the wall of the bowl where it then falls to the bottom, below the basket. Et voilà, dry lettuce !

By the way, in France, lettuce is commonly called salade. The word laitue exists, and according to the Petit Robert it does mean the leafy stuff we call lettuce, but most people (and markets) use laitue to refer to what Americans call Boston lettuce. Salade includes chicories, lettuces, and other leafy plants. Common varieties of salade in France are batavia (rouge ou verte), feuille de chêne, scarole, endive, roquette, cresson, mâche, romaine, and frisée. Iceberg lettuce is rare here, but you do see it around.

A salade is typically served by itself, with vinaigrette. Once you add anything to salade it becomes a salade composée (salade niçoise and salade grecque are good examples). There are special salads that you will almost always find in cafés and restaurants like frisée aux lardons or scarole aux betteraves or endives aux noix.

It gets even more complex, because une salade is not just lettuce, but can also be the name for a great variety of other dishes that are served cooked or not, than can include meats and seafood, and that are dressed in a sauce. These dishes are said to be mangés en salade, or eaten as a salad. But that will be a discussion for another time. Let's just stick to the leafy stuff for now.

You can crisp up a tired salad by letting the leaves soak in a basin of water for 20 minutes or so before spinning them dry, provided they are freshly separated from the head. And that's a good tip : never take all the leaves off a head of salad unless you plan to use them all. Work from the outside in, breaking off each leaf, and leaving the rest attached. Put the unused portion of the head in a plastic bag back in the fridge, and your salad stays fresher longer (this doesn't really work for iceberg lettuce, however).

When a salad spinner is unavailable, Ken will always put washed salad in a clean kitchen towel, gather up the corners, then go outside or into the shower and swing it around to dry it. This works great provided you hang onto that towel. I have seen salad leaves flying through the air; not a pretty sight.

We've had many spinners over the years. Our current one, an OXO, is great and I think it's lasted longer than any of the others. There is no cord to get tangled or to unwind. The mechanics of the OXO spinner are pretty simple and it works. And it even has a handy brake to slow and stop the spinning basket. Pretty cool.

You can also use the spinner to dry freshly washed herbs. The bowl of the spinner doubles as a wash basin.

No kitchen should be without one.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday Yule bLog

Happy Christmas ! Joyeux Noël ! Bonnes fêtes de fin d'année !

So, you've hit the punch bowl, you've opened a present or two, you've stuffed yourself with rum balls and turkey, watched football, and listened to just about enough of Uncle Joe's rambling on and on... You're back on the web. Good for you ! Here, for your pleasure, is a little yuletide fire. Enjoy.

Frosty Eve

It's Christmas Eve and the web traffic has died down. I presume most folks are traveling or shopping, busying themselves with final preparations, wrapping, decorating, cooking. Some are already eating and drinking; good for them...

For those of you who are still surfing, here is the scene around St. Aignan this weekend:

The frost forms on the railing of our terrace.

The grass in the vineyard is frosty.

Not exactly a winter wonderland, but we'll take it. It beats shoveling snow. Merry Christmas Eve (and stop calling me Eve...) !

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Photo Du Jour : Fromages

From several recent meals, a tome de montagne on the left and a bleu de Bresse on the right.

The tome is a typical mountain cheese from eastern France, usually in and around Savoie in the French Alps. It's a cow's milk cheese that's mild, but with a nutty kind of flavor.

The bleu comes from nearby, but closer to Lyon, in the Ain. Also a cow's milk cheese, it's described as being similar to Italian gorgonzola.

Our local market on Saturdays includes the cheese ladies, two young women who staff their booth and dispense eggs, cream, butter and all and every manner of cheese. We typically get our parmigiano reggiano from them as well, since most supermarkets only carry tiny packets of grated parmesan.

On Sundays, the cheese folks are at the Noyers market across the river, so if there's anything we forgot on Saturday, we can run over there for it!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Un Jour, Une Tour [Edition Spéciale]

Here's a special edition of the Eiffel Tower series for the holidays! I got this ornament tower at the museum shop at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco back in the late '90s.

Every year since then it comes out for the tree, but gets packed away after with the other ornaments, so it doesn't have a place in the "permanent collection."

Jingle bells and ho-ho-ho to all!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Birthday Boy

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. It's also my birthday. I made it through another year! To celebrate, I decided to post a photo of me celebrating:

Pink and green frosting, yummm! It's my third birthday party. The same year that Marylin Monroe died and Johnny Carson took over the Tonight Show on NBC from Jack Paar. Moon River by Henry Mancini won Song of the Year at the Grammys. I had to look that stuff up - I was only three.

My family lived in Tampa, FL, at the time. I do have a few vague memories of living there back then. We moved back to upstate New York the year after this photo was taken.

The original photo is a Polaroid that I scanned.

And, while I'm at it, here's a holiday angel, a.k.a. moi, taken the same year, to wish you all the best:

And, yes, that's Yogi Bear on the couch. He's smarter than the average bear, which is why he does Christmas in Florida!

Birthday dinner this year will be the same that I've had every year since my first birthday in France back in 1981: steak au poivre in a cognac/cream sauce with frites. Yum!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Word Of The Week


It's that time of year. The time of year in France when the doorbell rings and it's the factrice (mail delivery woman), or a few of the local pompiers (firefighters) or a member of the local youth football (soccer) league. Each and all of these visitors is "selling" a calendar for next year.

I put selling in quotes because it really is impossible to say no. You scrape up some change and fork it over for your (ugly as sin) calendar. It's a gratuity for the year of service you just received. And, in this very small town where we live, a bribe to ensure you continue to receive good service.

I made that last part up. But really, who wants to be known all around town for being a scrooge and refusing to donate a few euros to your friends and neighbors? I mean, I don't want to take a chance that, should the fire alarm ring, the guys might not respond as fast to the foreigners' place where they don't even buy a freakin' calendar once a year...

The money that you pay for the calendar is called an étrenne. An end-of-the-year gratuity. But this is a recent usage of the word. The word's primary meaning is a present that one receives at the first of the year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kitchen Collection [2]

The Steamer

What can I say? This handy gadget helps out in all kinds of situations. Perhaps it's at its best steaming fresh broccoli, or cauliflower. But it does much more than that.

Its flexible design allows it to fit into many pots, conforming exactly to what you need it for. Asian dumplings? No problem. Fresh beans? Go for it. It'll even do fish. This little steamer basket has served us well over the years, and will continue to do so for some time to come.

I'm not sure how long we've had this one; I know it's not our first. We repaired it just the other day when the center ring broke. We put a key ring in its place (visible in the photo above).

Monday, December 18, 2006


Just a couple gratuitous shots of birds around our house. I know that Ken just did a bird post on his blog, but this is a big part of our winter excitement around here. Enjoy!

Above, birds on a wire. Almost like notes on a musical scale. Below, a blue tit and a great tit attack the suet ball out back.

Speaking of big excitement, we've been invited out for dinner this week! Our British friends, Janet and David, have asked us 'round for a curry. I'll be making nan to take with. Should be a fun evening.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A December Rose

The weather this fall has been very warm, as Ken and I have noted in previous posts on both blogs. Here's evidence:

One of our rose bushes bloomed this past week! A December rose. I think I need to get out there and prune the bushes back now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Le Brouillard

The vineyard out behind our house, still waiting to be pruned, under the fog.

Fall and winter bring an interesting weather phenomenon to a large part of France: le brouillard, or fog. High pressure develops over this part of Europe and sits here, keeping out storms, but also resulting in temperature inversions that trap fog down on the ground making for grey, wet, and gloomy days. We had a foggy inversion day this week.

The buds on the forsythia have set for next spring. Above, a drop of condensation hangs precariously. Below, water condenses on spider webs.

An inversion can occur when warmer air moves in over colder air. Fog forms in the humid cold layer, but the normal convection that takes place in the air can't happen, thus trapping the cold wet air on the ground.

Fog condenses on the fence.

There is usually no wind (I think if there were wind, the inversion wouldn't form), and the result is an eerily quiet misty effect, with water condensing on everything and dripping out of the trees. It's quite pretty once you start to look around.

Our fuzzy lambs' ears trap the condensation.

All of these pictures were taken from or in our back yard. Sometimes these inversions can last for days at a time. Other times, like this week, the fog hangs around for only a day. The day after these photos were taken was cold, but sunny and clear.

One of the pine trees in the yard (a former xmas tree of the previous owners) also drips with condensed fog.

Friday, December 15, 2006

La Sécu

I think it's pretty widely known that France has a very good national health care system: La Sécurité Sociale, or la Sécu, as they call it here. French adults enter the system when they begin working; their employers pay a hefty tax into the system to help support it. All residents of France pay another tax to help support the system. I've heard many criticisms of the French system that go kind of like this: it costs way too much for a country to give practically free health care to its citizens and the French system runs huge deficits, so it can't be good.

Well, the USA certainly doesn't provide inexpensive health care to its citizens, but the nation is running the highest deficits in its history. If you're going to have the high deficits anyway, why not get some health care out of it? I guess it's just a question of priorities. Some Americans talk a lot about family values, but basic health care doesn't seem to be one of them.

AS for France, my impression is that French doctors are not, generally, wealthy people as they can be in the USA. Although with managed health care providers (corporations) employing many doctors these days and with the cost of malpractice insurance, I'm not sure becoming a doctor in the USA is as lucrative as it once was. French doctors make a decent living and provide a decent, inexpensive service to their communities.

A few years ago, the French passed a law that opened coverage to all legal residents of the country regardless of whether they're employed. Ken and I just found this out by doing some internet research on that tax that we have to pay to help support the system. We thought we were exempt from the tax since we're not part of the system. But no, everyone pays the tax. That makes sense because everyone can be covered by the Sécu!

Wow, we thought, why didn't we figure this out before? We've heard of people who "bought into" the Sécu, but we couldn't figure out how they did it. We've been paying American companies large premiums for coverage that will only handle major medical emergencies like accidents or catastrophic illness. We have no wellness or prevention coverage at all, and we shudder to think what the process would be if we actually had to submit a claim while dealing with an accident or illness. Would we have to fight with an overseas company about reimbursement? Would we be successful?

We have been paying full price for doctor/dentist visits, prescription drugs, and routine lab tests since we've lived in France. It's true that these costs are not very high to begin with. Fortunately, we haven't needed anything more complicated so far, knock on wood. As part of the French system, we'd get 70% of those costs back, and be covered for many other things whether preventative or not. The premiums are based on income. People who are self-employed and those with limited income pay a percentage of whatever income they have. From my view, it's not burdensome. And that's certainly, in our case, much more reasonable than what one could pay for private insurance that only covers catastrophic events.

So, since we are legal residents, we downloaded the forms (again, what would we do without the internet?) and sent in our applications to join the system. We got them back a few days ago with some minor requests for additional information, which we've supplied. In theory, our coverage began on the day the Sécu received our applications. It may take a few weeks for them to fully process us.

Health care (or the lack of it) is a huge source of stress for many people. I must admit, I've never been really comfortable that the insurance we have would be all that it purports to be. And, as we get older, doctor and lab visits seem to come more frequently. It would give me great peace of mind to become part of the national system here. It would also save us some money, and with the value of the US dollar constantly shrinking, every savings counts!

Here's to your good health.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not Closed [5]

This is the fifth installment in the "Open" series. If you don't remember, I took a number of photos of signs in front of boutiques and galleries in Hudson, NY, back in October. I don't know why I started; I suppose it was the variety that caught my eye. Once started I couldn't stop!

A hand-written OPEN sign from Hudson, NY (USA).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Word Of The Week


Television is a source of many new words for me. In fact, I've learned a lot of my French vocabulary from watching TV shows (talk, cooking, game shows, etc.) and movies in French over the years.

While perusing the TV guide last week, I noticed this fine film in the schedule: L'Attaque des sangsues géantes. Now, it's obvious that something giant is attacking, but what are sangsues?

I won't leave you in suspense... they're leeches. Yuck. Attack of the Giant Leeches. This movie, made in 1959 by B. Kowalski, was one of many in the "nuclear technology will result in horrible mutations and that can't be good for mankind" genre. Remember Them! - giant mutant ants; same stuff.

I didn't watch the movie.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kitchen Collection

Ken and I take a lot of pleasure from food and wine. We both enjoy cooking, although we each enjoy different aspects of the process. Planning and anticipating are almost as important to the enjoyment of a meal as is the eating. Food shopping is a feast in itself. I even enjoy putting away the groceries when we get them home from the market, reviewing the take like I imagine a museum curator does with new acquisitions, carefully ensuring that each item goes in the right place, safe from harm and readied for the show.

We've spent more than twenty years assembling our cooking tools, trying out certain styles and settling on those that work well for what we like to do. One characteristic of cooking tools that I think is important is that their appearance shouldn't distract from the food. I like glass, wood, stainless steel, plain white earthenware (although some color has crept into our collection).

Not everything matches, not much is new, and it's all pretty basic, but it all works together.

All this is to announce a new series here at wcs: The Kitchen Collection. Here's the first installment:

Nested Pyrex bowls. Theses babies are nearly sixty years old. Ken's mom received them as a wedding present back in the late '40s and has since passed them on to us. At least one of them gets used every day in our house; each is just the right size for something or other.

These bowls are heavy and hardy. They are great in the microwave. They're also the most colorful of our kitchen tools.

Monday, December 11, 2006


For many years, before we moved to France, I was in the habit of making biscotti around the holidays. Sometimes I wrapped some for gifts, other times they just sat in a tin on the counter and we ate them with coffee or tea until they were gone.

I haven't made any since we moved, but this weekend I got the urge. So, into our well-stocked pantry I went, pulled together the ingredients, and made a batch.

These have toasted walnuts rather than almonds and include finely ground hazelnuts in the batter. They came out well; I think I'll make some more!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Peace Lily

Called a faux arum voile blanche in French, the spathiphyllum/spathophylium is a lush tropical plant with deep green foliage and nice white flowers .

Ours was a gift from our friends Gerri and Phil, who offered it as a housewarming present when they visited us in August 2003, not long after we moved into this house.

It has thrived ever since, enjoying its home at the edge of an east-facing window where it gets dappled morning sun in the summer and otherwise bright indirect light. It has survived one re-potting, and Ken plans to divide it in the spring.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What's New, Pussycat ?

One day, not long ago, one of our neighborhood cats was out for a prowl (warning: there is a musical soundtrack).

Although we don't have a cat ourselves, there are cats in the 'hood. They help to keep the rodents in check. At least I hope they do. Since we don't have the dog anymore, they are more bold about coming into our yard. It's ok. Fewer mice.

Friday, December 08, 2006

My Inner European

No surprises here!

Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.

You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

In other news, we are having weather today. The rain started around 6:30 this morning, and there was some lightning and thunder. We have wind warnings, with gusts up to 100 kph predicted for mid-day.

Above is the carte de vigilance for today put out by Météo France. We're smack in the middle of the orange area, with high wind warnings. Gusts over 60 mph are predicted, with sustained winds around 30 mph - it all sounds more impressive in kilometers/hour. Of course, the wind will be much stronger on the coast.

We battened down the hatches before bed last night. That means that we took in our deck chairs (which we needed to do anyway for winter) and anything else that might blow around, put the car in the garage, and closed all the shutters on the house. Our storms come from the south and west, so the shutters on the west side of the house will stay closed most of the day; that's the side with the bedrooms and bathroom. One summer, during a high wind storm, we watched lawn chairs and a table blow across the yard. We're taking no chances today.

The only thing we really need to worry about is a tree limb falling into a window. With the shutters closed, I think we're pretty safe. The other pain-in-the-butt is the possibility that we'll lose power and/or phone. Power loss means no cooking (gasp!) and phone loss means no internet (double gasp!). We can always open a bottle of wine...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Back Yard Pheasant

In our town, Sunday is the day the hunters are out doing their thing. I'm not an anti-hunting person in general, but I do think hunting is better when people will more than likely eat what they hunt. That seems to be the case here.

Hunting is allowed between September and March, one day a week, between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm, break for lunch, then again from 2:30 pm to dusk. Hunters must stay a certain distance from houses and must always shoot away from populated areas. They seem to keep to the rules pretty well around here, although we do hear the shots outside since the hunters are sometimes very close to our property.

The vineyards and wood around us are full of roe deer, rabbits, and pheasants; in fact we see these animals all the time, all year long. We've been told that some of the pheasants are actually farm raised and released into the wild for hunting season, but we don't really know if that's true; it could be.

In the 2005 season, we saw one female pheasant in our yard and she came back many times over a week or so, then she was gone. Ken got some pictures of her and this is one of them:

This female hung out briefly in our yard in December 2004.

This year, a male pheasant has been hanging around in the vineyard outside our back gate. This past Sunday, we found him in the yard. It was almost as if he was taking shelter from the hunters just outside our gate. Pheasants are really beautiful birds and although they're pretty common, I still get excited when I see one.

He stayed in the yard for more than an hour after we first noticed him. Then the wind kicked up and it started to rain, and he was gone. We hope he didn't become someone's dinner... Here's a little video of him pecking around in the yard, with some added music; the video is a bit shaky because I was zoomed to the max.

See more photos of the pheasant at Ken's blog, here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Word Of The Week


I like to watch cooking shows on television, not that that's a surprise to anyone that knows me. A day or so ago, while watching Eric Léautey on Cuisine TV, I noticed that he was working with oysters. This time of year, the holiday season, is oyster season. In France, oysters (les huîtres) are big food items for celebration meals, especially xmas eve and new year's eve - les réveillons in French.

In fact, Ken and I will likely get some oysters at least for new year's, as is our tradition. So, Eric was talking about buying oysters and mentioned that one should never buy them en vrac (loosely or in bulk) because they have a tendency to open and expose themselves to the air and that makes them less fresh.

Instead, he recommended that one should always buy them dans une bourriche because that way they're packed in and covered and are less likely to open. Since we have always purchased oysters the other way, I wondered what a bourriche is.

Turns out it's simply the wooden basket, with no handles but with a lid, that oysters are typically sold in. Of course, I have seen these all over wherever oysters are sold, but always just assumed that it's better to buy the tasty coquillages you could see rather than take a chance on ones packed in a box. Silly me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

For those of you who asked for the eggplant curry recipe, it's here. You can use your favorite curry powder in place of the individual spices in the recipe, or you can mix up your own spice mix according to your taste.

Also, we didn't add potatoes; instead, we added tofu cubes toward the end of the recipe. It was great, and we'll probably try it again with potatoes one day.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Vineyard Views

A couple months after the grape harvest, the task of pruning the vines begins. I noticed a few days ago that it has started out back.

The smoke rises as workers burn the cut vines.

Rising smoke and clouds.

A November butterfly lands on the car. It's been a warm autumn.