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  • Writer's pictureShannon Elisabeth

Everyday Life in the french countryside

As Instagram gets more and more crowded, and I feel a bit lost, I decided it's high time to start blogging again. I thought I might be able to sustainably express myself better and get to know you. Please bare with me as I navigate my way through this rekindling, mes amies.

Would you believe it if I told you I've wanted to live in the countryside for as long as I can remember???? I wouldn't have believed you back then if you had told me I'd end up in the countryside in France, though

This is a très common sight along the rural roads here in my village. You're more likely to see people riding horses, tractors, and bikes.

I recently began horseback riding after a long hiatus due to an accident back in Montana. After asking around in France for two years, I finally found a good teacher and a gentle but giant horse named Quanaille. Aurelie (the teacher) says my riding skills aren't lost. I need to regain confidence. But now I'm riding with an English saddle (more common in France than a Western saddle)! There's no horn on the sleek English saddle to hold on to for dear life. And handling the reins is quite different, too. I kept calling my cheval horse chevaux hair because I was so nervous. Aurelie just grinned, but the monsieur didn't hear. Instead, he kept showing off his horse riding skills. Unfortunately, not all of us grew up taking lessons in Paris' chic Pont Neuilly Boulogne equestrian center.

Old bridges, such as this 14th-century one, give this region a charming feel. I like sitting on it and dreaming or watching the birds, especially the swans.

And, boy, do I love birds - their flapping wings as they flock overhead, their calls, and their beauty. I once belonged to the Audubon Society until they kept sending me so much marketing junk mail. At the time, I read everything I could about James Audubon, who was raised in France before moving to America and painting wild birds. I've lost track of how many bird books are on my bookshelves. I suppose I got the birdwatching gene from both my Mom and Dad.

There is always something to forage or harvest nearby, and I find that it's a way for me to make the delicious memories of summer tangible.

My husband and I enjoy preserving fruit into confiture (jams, jellies, preserves). We've canned rhubarb, strawberry, marmalade, myrtilles, raspberry/peach, mirabelles, and blackberries in the past three months. He gobbles it up as fast as we make it. Like most Frenchies, he eats his tartine with confiture each and every single morning.

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