Friday, April 26, 2013

Living History Lessons

Written by Benjamin, age 7:
"Aujour'dui en allen a soucy nous avons trouver une vrai, vrai grenade, nous avons du prévenire la police que nous avons trouver une grenade, de la geuur [guerre]...
les policiers di c'etes une vraie grenade il ont dit que cé tai une vraie grenade.
ils sont enelver la grenade, pour pouvoir aller à soucy en sécuriter."

And his English version:
"thursday we found a grenade. We did tell the police that we found a grenade. the police did look if it is a real grenade. the police said that it was a real grenade. The police did take out the grenade so that we can go to soucy safely."

From time to time, we walk on this dirt road that starts behind our neighborhood and goes all the way to the neighboring village of Soucy. Several months ago, we saw what we thought could be a grenade embedded in the path. But when we went back to mark the spot, we couldn't find it again.

So yesterday, we borrowed our friends' metal detector and went out to look for it. (Other noteworthy finds: an old piece of pottery of some sort, and a heavy piece of metal that could possibly be part of a leftover shell from the war, or something else, who knows.)

And we did find it. It looked like this when we found it. We had the kids pick up all the rocks they could find and set them on the side of the road to mark the spot. Then we went home, and called city hall, who said to call the police.

The police ("gendarmes," who are military) came within about 30 or 40 minutes. Frédéric walked up with them to show them where it was. They dug around it a bit (yikes) to make sure they weren't going to be calling the bomb squad out for a pétanque ball. When they uncovered the top of it, they quit digging and marked it with red and white striped tape tied around some rocks. (Contrary to Benjamin's story, the police did not take it out themselves.)

Then they left to let the mayor of our town know, and to ask the bomb squad to come out and take care of it. They told us it may take a week for the bomb squad to come out, so in the meantime we're letting the neighbors who use that road occasionally know so no one sets it off on accident. (I had written "by accident," but I changed it back to "on accident" for you, Dad. You're welcome.)

My friend Emiley's dad, who is an EOD technician, says it is a British mills bomb. It could have been from either WWI or WWII. Our area had significant activity during both wars.

Benjamin seemed less than impressed when I told him the grenade could be 70 or 100 years old, but he wrote the story last night, so maybe he was more impressed than he looked.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I am not making this one up!

Every now and then, a tiny piece of the Parental Mythology is actually true. Noah was complaining of a tummy ache this morning (no big surprise given all that he ate yesterday when we had Frédéric's cousins over - and let me digress to add that now that spring is finally here, visiting season has begun, and with it, the season of 7+ hour lunches!). Benjamin wanted to find something he could do to make Noah feel better. ("But not too close so he doesn't get his germs on me.")

He offered to read to him, but Noah didn't want him to. He just wanted him to come sit with him. Once I convinced Benjamin that stomachaches due to overeating aren't contagious, he happily complied.

I guess they know me well... when I told them how nice they were being, and got up from the couch, they said, "Are you going to take a picture?" Ha. Of course I am! And the tummyache didn't prevent Noah from hamming it up for the camera.

We are THRILLED to see springtime finally starting to show its face around here. About time! We're still making fires some mornings to get the chill off, but the cars have been washed, the grass has been mowed, the seeds are planted on the patio, awaiting slightly warmer weather to be moved outside, we've started weeding the time-sucking retaining wall, and we've started taking kids and dog on walks & bike rides around the village.

And apparently spring is also the time of... hot air balloons! The kids called us from the living room when they spotted this one out the window tonight.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

You know you had a good night's sleep

when you wake up looking like this.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Future Bakers

I think Frédéric was inspired by our neighbor at last year's block party. The neighbor baked all of the bread for the event. Since then, Frédéric has been perfecting his recipes, and is past master of cinnamon rolls and hamburger buns. He is working on his baguette recipe now, and the boys are his willing helpers. (And the boys and I, and any company we may have, are willing testers!)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Flea Market Season is Officially Open!

Despite the cold weather, it is flea market season. We inaugurated this year's flea market season by attending the one in Montgobert today. Montgobert is right next to Puiseux, and is the home of Napoleon's sister's castle.

What better place for a flea market than on castle grounds?

We went in the afternoon, and the historical society was giving commented tours of the castle around the time we were there, so we took advantage of our first visit inside the castle, which is now primarily a wood museum.

This is the "Pauline Bonaparte room," so named for Napoleon's sister. Benjamin's in the picture because he's cute, but you can also see how small their beds were... perhaps I would have been a giant in the 18th century!

This tree is one of many in the local forests that were destroyed during World War I.
View of the castle grounds.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Waiting for spring...

It's still in the 30s-40s here (Fahrenheit, that is). We're so sick of cold and winter now that any time the sun is out, we go drink it in on the glassed-in patio, which is significantly warmer than outside and still allows us to soak in the glorious sunshine.

While we wait for spring, Frédéric has started our garden and my bar has been taken over by the sprouts of broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, corn, and whatever else he has going there.

The radishes and rhubarb have found their homes directly outside in the new part of the vegetable garden, located where the now-removed thin cement slabs were, next to the garden shed, and the strawberries are in the raised beds near the barbecue.

Next on the list - finding and installing some sort of fencing so that Gala doesn't tread all over the garden when she runs around the house like a whirling dervish.