Heaven is in the yard – Le bonheur est dans le jardin

In English below

This post is dedicated to Elizabeth Thomas!

Ma maman s’inquiète toujours de la santé de mon coeur et voulais que je laisse le jardinier s’occuper du nettoyage d’hiver. Pas question! C’est l’une de mes occupations préférées. C’est bon pour mon coeur ET c’est bon pour l’âme. Et puis l’odeur de la terre mouillée. La sensation de fraîcheur d’une journée un peu grise… Bref, je m’y suis mis tard, mais je m’y suis mis. Ah le bonheur de découvrir mes pousses de jonquilles pointant sous les feuilles du tilleul. Le plaisir de voir et de sentir mes pieds de thym, de romarin et de lavande… J’ai même trouvé les premiers bourgeons de violettes.

Je pensais tout nettoyer en 2 heures… Ça fait 2 jours que j’y suis:0) Quel bonheur! J’ai aussi ouvert le grenier du petit chai où j’ai trouvé des paquets d’oignons pendus là depuis la fin des années 60, quand mon arrière grand père (en photo) tenait encore son potager. Un vrai trésor au dessus du vinaigrier…

En ces temps difficiles et parce que le monde est de plus en plus fou, ralentissons, reprenons Candide et, comme dirait Pangloss, cultivons notre jardin!

Quoi qu’il arrive, tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles:0)1

Two years now after my open heart surgery, my mom still worries about my health and insisted I let the gardener take care of the big Winter cleaning of the yard. No way! This is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s good for my heart AND it’s good for my soul. And the smell of the wet soil and leaves. The fresh air… Anyway, I got into it late in the season, but I got started on Monday. Oh the joy of discovering the fresh daffodils piercing through the dark  soil. The relief to see the herb garden still alive and well. I even found the first buds of violets.

2I thought I would get everything done in 2 hours … It’s been two days:0) I’m glad!

I also opened the attic of the cottage. There I found bunches of oignons my great grandpa (in the picture) had hung there at least 50 years ago when he was still tending our vegetable garden… A real treasure for me:0) I guess I won’t use these in my next soup… In the room below, I still use the barrel he himself had installed there to make our own red wine vinegar…  3

In these difficult times, and because the world is getting crazier each day, we must slow down. We must read Candide again, and remember what Pangloss said: We must cultivate our garden!

As, whatever happens, everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds:0)

And yes, the little gardener in the picture is me:0)4567891011121314IMG_8063 _Snapseed15161718

80 Comments Add yours

  1. the pictures are breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Denise! You are very kind:)

  2. terrepruitt says:

    Your blog makes me happy. Your pictures are so beautiful. My heart gets so happy seeing them . . . . the food . . . . the friends . . . . the beautiful country . . . . Thank you!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am so glad! That’s why I keep this blog. To make people (and myself I must admit) HAPPY!!! Your rice and beans post reminded me of when I used to live in Louisiana. What a great dish. They say it’s a great combination to “replace” proteins from meat…

      1. terrepruitt says:

        I know that beans are used to replace meat, but that recipe actually has both (meat and beans). I was hoping one day I could make it without the meat and my hubby wouldn’t notice . . . . but I think what he loves so much about it is the sausage. 🙂 When you were in Louisiana was the typical red bean and rice recipe a little “heavier” on the sauce? I always thought of it more as a saucy dish.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          It had a stew feel to it yes, but it still felt healthy enough…

          1. terrepruitt says:

            🙂 I think of stew as healthy. With meat and veggies and all that good stuff. I am just not a fan. But I am also not a fan of beans. I am just learning to eat them.

          2. My French Heaven says:

            If you come to Frence one day, you should try white beans in tomato sauce and duck fat. I know it sounds very unhealthy, but it actually is one of the healthiest things you can eat. People who live in the South West eat this regularly together with red wine and have the lowest rate of heart desease in Europe:)

          3. terrepruitt says:

            I was just intrigued by the recipe I did because it looked as if there was hardly any liquid at all. That is what I was thinking and forgot to say.

          4. My French Heaven says:

            It really depends what you put with it. Here, we soak them for a night and then cook them with tomato sauce (most times)

  3. Such amazing photos Stephane, and a lovely post! I’m very jealous of all the wine… is it still drinkable?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! No, these bottles are for vinegar, but we have plenty of good ones elsewhere:)

  4. Such wonderful photos!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  5. Dominique says:

    Superbes photos comme toujours! Je partage votre plaisir de jardiner, de soigner et voir prospérer légumes et fleurs.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Surtout quand il fait un peu frais! Un vrai plaisir d’être dehors:)

  6. Lesley says:

    Ahh…you make me long for spring while I’m in the midst of winter here! 🙂 Gorgeous photos! I love preparing the yard also – it’s a zen work that not everyone appreciates.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      🙂 Send me photos of your yard in the Spring!

      1. Lesley says:

        I will do that!

  7. eveleduc says:

    Je déborde de jalousie en voyant les pousses de jonquilles et la riche palette de verts!
    Ici, nous toujours (en encore pour plusieurs semaines) ensevelie sous la neige.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Dans quelle région êtes vous? Nous avons rarement de la neige à Bordeaux. Lorsque c’est le cas, tout le monde est heureux. Elle ne tient jamais bien plus d’une journée, mais c’est toujours un plaisir.

  8. Sarah Spaetzle says:

    Your post made me smile, even though I don’t have a garden to tend 😦 Lovely photographs.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m glad it made you smile Sarah:)

  9. Beautiful photography. I’ve never been much interested in gardening or yard work but you’ve managed to make it look like a very peaceful, relaxing experience.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It really is. It’s something you usually procrastinate about, but once you start you can’t stop:)

  10. becky6259 says:

    Very sweet pictures,and you have so many talents! It’s wonderful that one of your favorite things to do also brings back fond memories of your great grandpa!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! I only knew him as a kid. He died when I was 10, but one thing I remember about him is that he took his time whatever he was doing… A great lesson in itself:)

  11. Rometti says:

    Great photos!! Cheers to the inspiration of the old and the dreams to come for our future!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks a lot! I didn’t leave a comment on your latest post, but I will be having Lomi Lomi Salmon soon!! 🙂

    2. My French Heaven says:

      PS. the name alone is delicious:)

  12. Beautiful photos, Stepnane.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks so much! I had to at least get a post out of this. After all this work…:) I was about to get out there, but it started raining…

  13. Michelle says:

    What an adorable little gardener. And what a beautiful garden.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! I thought I’d finish it all today, but someone up there decided to make it rain:)

  14. Stephane I just noticed that you dedicated this post to me! Thank you so much! I’m flattered! Aside from getting my daily fix from your posting you just made my day! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I just decided that from now on I would dedicate some of my favorite posts to people who make MY days with their great posts or inspiring comments… You are the first one on the list, and for good reasons:)

  15. Gardening is good for the mind, body and soul! I too am an avid gardener. I have tons and tons of huge flower beds bordering my property. I learned everything from my 86 year old mother who lives with hubby and I. She helps out still puttering around in the garden here and there. Keeps her young! Hubby and I also have a very large vegetable garden in the summer. Here’s a peek of our yard:


    1. My French Heaven says:

      There is no way that lady is 86. You are pulling my leg! Your yard and house look stunning! It is exactly what French people think American living is like. The beautiful sunny garden, the house with pastel painted wooden walls… Very Martha Steward (if she had a soul). I could totally imagine a Kennedy showing up for tea:)

      1. Yes my mother (Dot) is actually just shy of 87. And she still mulches the beds, moves and plants by herself. It keeps her going. She and her 89 year old girlfriend from school just flew out to Arizona for two months. We call them Thelma and Louise after the movie.

        Thanks re: the house. My backyard in the good weather is my respite from the real world. I have tried to create a small paradise within my own property! But it takes much work to get it up and going in the spring. About 6 weeks. A lot of work but well worth it as I’m sure you know! Gardening is truly good for the soul!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          What kills me is when you spend a fortune on flowers and once planted you can barely see them:)

  16. Can share your enthusiasm. I used to love seeing all of the bulbs coming through in a garden I had for five years. Even though I don’t like Winter seeing new growth would always excite me.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I know. It’s a very special thing:)

  17. hollykaann says:

    Heaven is indeed in the yard. I have always said that the place I go to meet with God is my garden. I love your pictures. Your family history is so wonderful. I enjoy gardening with my grandmother in the gardens that once belonged to my great-grandmother- with whom I also gardened. It was from her that I learned the difference between “picking flowers” and “looking flowers”. I could pick from the picking flowers till my little heart was content, but I had to have permission to pick the looking flowers.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What a great story. It is a rare thing to have a family like yours or mine. I know we both know how lucky we are. People move so much these days. Few families stay whole or sedentary… I truly believe it’s one of the reasons why values and traditions have disappeared…

      1. hollykaann says:

        Very true! I was thinking as I read your post that I wish my family had history like yours and then it dawned on me- WE DO! It’s just different. I, too, know I am blessed with my family- of course they can still drive us crazy! LOL

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Tell me about it:)

  18. soonie2 says:

    Thank you for sharing your little piece of heaven! Such beautiful images! And what a lovely tribute to our beautiful friend, Liz Thomas! Yes, we all need to stop and smell the roses more often.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I love Elizabeth’s photography. She is such a great artist:) Thanks for your kind words! Your photos are stunning too. I hope I reach your level one day!!

  19. Jayne says:

    beautiful photos!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you!

  20. Luffy Moogan says:

    There is an old saying in English that you are nearer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth. I am not a religious person but I read this to mean that you are closer to peace and to the earth whilst gardening than at any other time. And yes., I think I’d agree with that …:-)

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am not a religious person either (at all), but I think that cooking and gardening are activities that make one reach a higher level of being:) They literally lift your spirit…

  21. ladyredspecs says:

    The photos are beautiful, a chilly winters day in the garden sounds so appealing especially in the extreme heat we are currently enduring😀

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Winer is my favorite season. I get so much more done. I also love the light. So much softer. Perfect for taking pictures:)

  22. Wonderful thoughts shared….lovely!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much!! 🙂

  23. Jeanette says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. A day spent working in the garden is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It has to be good for both heart and soul!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It is almost as enjoyable as spending time in the kitchen:)

      1. Jeanette says:

        Yes, just about as good…. 😉

  24. Steve says:

    Have you opened any of those dust covered bottles? save one for June!!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      No, those are ancient and really bad. I use them to refill the vinegar barrel:) Although if you bring some of that good olive oil, we can make the best vinaigrette in history:)

      1. Steve says:

        I will definitely bring you a bottle of our family’s oil. I also have my own vinegar, with a “mother” dating back to 1936. It was given to me by a close friend who owned Montreal’s oldest Italian restaurant, and his family had brought their vinegar barrel with them when they came to Canada in 1952. He cut a piece of the original bacterial mass, the “mother”, and seeded an old empty wine barrel with it for me. It is absolutely amazing and we have friends constantly asking to “borrow” some for their salads.

        My friend did give me one tip about making great vinegar: The better the wine you put in the better the vinegar. So I tend to put in the leftovers (when there are some) from good bottles into it, as well as the occasional mid-range wine.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          What a great story!

  25. juliabarrett says:

    Such a gorgeous story in pictures. Gardens equal good health.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I know:) And I can already feel the benefits. I mean the soreness:)

  26. Lynda says:

    Your garden inspires me! Beautiful photography too.
    Thank you for visiting me today!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Linda! I really enjoy reading your posts:)

      1. Lynda says:

        I will enjoy reading yours too!

  27. Clanmother says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. We need to rethink our lives and rewards systems. We are rewarded for being crazy-busy and somewhere along the line we have equated personal value by how much we get done and how busy we are. It is a zero sum game. I love stopping by for a visit!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Rebecca! Thanks also for coming so often. I am flattered:)

      1. Clanmother says:

        You always welcome with open arms…

  28. denmother says:

    My oh my, I love your life!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Well at least one of us does:) Just kidding! Thanks for the lovely comment:)

  29. Your photography is wonderful!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks darling! I loved your shot of the borsch. That color was yummmmmmy!

  30. Are you taking reservations to become members of your family? Great post. Where was the shot of the 50-year-old onions?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are the second person to ask. It’s on the right side of the black and white picture of the window… I guess I’ll post a larger one:)

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