My beaux-parents are here in the valley this week.
As usual, they arrived with a car-full of presents for us. The very best kind: home-grown and home-prepared. Four jars of courgette jam. A box of potatoes. Garlic. Onions. Two crates of tomatoes. A crate of French beans.
Tuesday was a bit of a poorly day for me. So whilst the men-folk were up a mountain, I sat in the kitchen and was given a lesson in canning French beans in a pressure cooker from my belle-mère.
From a crate of fresh, crisp beans, we ended up with only two jars for the winter. But they are a celebration of quality over quantity.
For me, these jars of beans encapsulate one of the things that I so treasure about daily life in France: the deeply rooted understanding that it is in our own back gardens (be it veggie patches, favourite hedgerows, shady glen, brook sides or mountain meadows) that the best stuff of life resides.
By the time the boys had come back from the mountain, there were two jars of French beans ready to tidy away for the winter. And they came home with armfulls of delicious wild mushrooms.