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Posts tagged ‘cooking in France’

No. 309: The Herbs on my Windowsill

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To understand how much I love the herbs growing right outside my kitchen window, you have to understand the climate, weather patterns and wildlife from where I use to live. It is a big misnomer to think of Colorado as the freezing cold, snowy state in the U.S. While we do get our fair share of snow (much less nowadays with global warming), Colorado is the state that boast 300-days of sunshine every year. I’m not even sure Florida can say that.

So you would think that with that much sunshine, I would be able to have a pretty awesome herb and vegetable garden. Mais, non. Where I live in Colorado is known for the wild Chinook winds that howl through the foothills and end in rowdy microbursts in my backyard.

…our backyard...

…our backyard…

To give you an idea of what that means, we once lost a 2-ton industrial play structure one evening while out to dinner. The wind funnel simply picked it up and tossed it a hundred feet into my neighbor’s yard. We have lost several barbecue grills, wrought iron chairs, swimming pools filled with water, too many trash bins to count, a slide, and a couple of windows. A neighbor had the terracotta tiles completely stripped from her roof and rain down all over our lawns. Quite different from the kind of showers we have in Paris.

In Colorado, we constantly have to rework our dinner parties and meals based on the blazing sunshine and the wind. I’ve learned always to have a backup plan when it comes to parties that involve outside grilling. Fun fact: a grill will not stay lit in 60-100 mph winds…for that matter it won’t even stay on your deck. On really windy nights, our iron bed with both of us in it jiggles on the carpeted floor and the water is sucked from all the toilets.

So imagine a pitiable petite stalk of basil or tarragon trying desperately to beat the elements. Almost always my much-wanted herbs cry “Uncle” a week or two after I plant them, succumbing to those tenacious gusts and the stifling temperature.

If they do manage to get a foothold and green up, the elk and the deer are more than happy to stroll through the cul-de-sac and boldly have a light snack at dawn and dusk. If the big brown quadrupeds don’t happen to be hungry, the greedingl and antagonistic squirrels are delighted to add some seasoning to their nuts. And then of course there are the mini, but mighty, grey voles and our crazy neighbor’s skeletal hound that pees a fountain on everything, herbs and my own dog included…

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…so this is why j’adore my hardy and healthy herbs à Paris. To me, my four window boxes of herbs are nothing short of a miracle….

…Thai basil chicken tonight, lamb with tarragon and thyme tomorrow, and fresh mint tea daily. Yippee!