Asparagus, Two Ways; The Joys of House Hunting!

When we sold our house in the U.S. we were told to:
Remove anything personal;
Pack away all decorative stuff;
Replace anything obviously worn;
And, in general to ‘tart it up a bit’ and keep it looking as good as possible.

The philosophy here, apparently, is: When you can no longer find the floor through the clutter and the sink is hidden under mounds of mold, close the shutters and put it on the market.

Do not, I repeat, do not clean it first…or ever again!  Sell it and let the new owners handle all that.  I mean, why would one want to clean someone else’s house?

We looked at 8 properties with 2 agents… or, at least tried to.

Day 1; Agent 1:

House 1: Not bad.  Hadn’t been lived in for about 5 years but still had food in the cupboards. It was stuffed to the gills with furniture.
Only three bedrooms, but filled with 6 or 7 big, antique beds and some huge, gorgeous old armoires and sideboards. I have no idea how they got some of the furniture into the house, and have a sneaking suspicion the intention is to not try to get any of it out…. Windows only on one side.

House 2: Agent couldn’t get the key to work.  But, from the outside, we had a hard time trying to figure out what was house and what was the neighbor’s barn.  We passed.

House 3: This was a long barn that had been divided into three sections.  We only had a key that worked in the first section which was the ‘main’ house, consisting of 3 small rooms.  It hadn’t been lived in (we were told) in years, but there was a pile of (very) dirty laundry in the corner as well as miscellaneous bits laying around.  There was no bathroom, but a toilet, bidet and sink in the bedroom  You had to step over and around them, carefully, to get to the bed which had the thickest duvet on it I’ve ever seen in my life.  Something told me that the fireplace was not the most efficient heat source come winter.  Only 2 windows.
But it had a bread oven outside….

House 4: Agent didn’t have the key.

Day 2; Agent 2:

House 1:  Big house, high ceilings, windows on three sides, empty and almost completely cleaned out…. Which allowed us to see the rotten floorboards.  Equally rotten staircase in the attached barn led to a second floor tobacco storage loft.  Gorgeous beams, solid barn, good roof… No kitchen and the ugliest , most dysfunctional bathroom in the galaxy….. Possible… Possible…. Thinking….

House 2: Perfectly nice house.  Where’s the fun in that?  Oh, and the neighbor’s house, while not attached, was less than 12″ (30cm) away.  Only windows on one side.

House 3: One of the most interesting houses I’ve been in.  2-story entry with a balcony going around 2 sides and bedrooms off the balcony.  A  huge ‘French farm’ kitchen, with curtains rather than doors on the 2 cabinets.  A loft with a ladder going up for the main bedroom and bathroom.  Lovely bathroom with huge tub and shower – that they hadn’t bothered to actually hook-up to the septic system.  It just drained into the back garden… as did the toilet.  And the front garden?  That didn’t belong to the house, only driveway rights.
Interesting…but don’t think so….

House 4: Perfectly nice house. Perfectly nice garden.  Completely ready to move in and live.  Only about 50 years old.  I repeat: Where’s the fun in that?

That took 2 full days: leaving at 5 on Thursday morning and getting back at 8 Friday night.

I might add that, after looking at tons of stuff on the internet, we have learned: thanks to digital cameras, wide angle lenses and photoshop, what one sees on the internet bears only the vaguest resemblance to what it actually looks like.

Ninety-five percent of the time, reality is very disappointing.

If the photos actually reflected reality, no one would every buy anything….
And they would have to clean them up…. The houses, I mean.

Maybe that’s why we had trouble finding keys….

Amazingly, I found asparagus last week, three whole weeks after I thought the season had ended.

Green asparagus; the nicest I found all year!

For one last hurrah, in case you get lucky (with asparagus), here are two of my favorite ways of fixing it.

Asparagus has been enjoyed for over 2,000 years, as both a food and medicine source.  It’s full of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins K, C, and A, and Folate.

For those of us who love it… Asparagus season is always worthy of celebration.

Weekend Herb Blogging, Started over 2 1/2 years ago by Kalyn, of Kalyn’s Kitchen is being hosted this week by Astrid of Paulchen’s Food Blog

The recipe, Roasted Asparagus Balsamic, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Balsamic Asparagus.

The recipe, Chinese Asparagus Salad, has been updated and re-posted here: Chinese Asparagus Salad.

I also have Fried Asparagus,  made Tarts, served them with Quail Eggs and made Soup.

Oh, and only 1 out of the 8 houses had a lawn that had been mowed in the last 12 months.

Bon Weekend!

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21 thoughts on “Asparagus, Two Ways; The Joys of House Hunting!”

  1. Very funny. The housing market here is very competitive at the moment, quite different. So I assume none of these houses is “the one.” Where are you moving?
    Love asparagus any way you cook it. Both these sound so good!

  2. Both of those asparagus dishes look good. Balsamic roasted asparagus is one one my favorites. For something different I sometimes add a bit of parmigiano reggiano.

  3. Love both of the asparagus recipes, especially as I found the end-of-the-season asparagus at our farmers’ market this morning. And the house hunting? Well, we looked at 50 houses before we bought the one we live in now — and the first thing we did when we bought this one was to tear out the old kitchen. A house with no work left to do is no fun at all!

  4. Good luck my dear. It sounds like you need some. It also sounds like you are taking everything in stride and with the right amount of humor, which is good. When you find the one, it will call your name. Nice asparagus recipes, both. Too bad their season is ending.

  5. Unfortunatley my three gentlemen are not very fond of asparagus, they are glad that the end of season is only 9 days away…

  6. House hunting is hell. Not looking forward to it, even though I am craving a garden to grow my own produce, including asparagus. Lovely recipes. The Chinese treatment is a regular in my kitchen.

  7. Oddly, our current house was the first one we looked at – but we were so unsure that we then looked at all the others available before deciding that that first one really was _the_ one! Good luck – it doesn’t sound promising but I think the right one is just around the corner! Glad you liked the blog award I sent you!

  8. How funny! Expecially because of the realestate agent who was just insisting that we clear everything out.
    “No one wants to see a television” WHAT?
    We’ll wait to sell. In the mean time I am making some balsamic asparagus!

  9. Ah the joys of house shopping (as i clench my jaws). We are looking near us (45 minutes from Narbonne or Beziers) for a fixer-up and have had no luck but the prices seem to be going down so that is working in our favor. We dont want a ready to move in one either, no fun! Barns and rotten make me salivate as does your lovely asian salad!

  10. So I don’t get it — why does the french housing market sound so much so painful, and the french home designers so much more incompetent? Rotting floorboards? Bathrooms not hooked into the sceptic tank? Agents that forget keys twice??? How absurd! What on earth is the deal?

  11. Tanna, thanks…we need it.
    Kalyn, that’s part of the problem, we think we have, finally, settled on an area. Should make things easier.
    Kevin, a bit of Parmigiana – always a welcome addition
    Lydia, the one we like doesn’t even have a kitchen….
    Simona, eventually… we hope. Just takes the looking first.
    Gattina, so many of the houses have other buildings attached, so no windows.
    Thanks, Pat.
    Too bad!!! Ulrike… But, then, you can eat it all yourself!
    Val and Susan: you are both right. Fun and Hell both. No panic, we have 10 weeks to move… and it takes 12 to close.
    Zoomie, it’s out there, somewhere.
    Sandi, I remember the same when we sold our house in the U.S.
    Tigerfish, thanks!
    Riana, the one thing we are adamant about is the roof… we want a good roof. We can fix walls!
    Neen, it is different. For one thing, the houses are a lot older. The one with the rotting floor boards had parts dating to the 1400’s. As to the septic… well, these are farms…

  12. Aaaah How dissapointing! I know what you mean… here in Spain some years ago, when I had to move… I saw “houses” that wouldn’t be lived by neandertals!!!
    Asparagus are always good to rise… your mood 😀

  13. We’d like to invite you to participate in our July berry recipe contest. All competitors will be placed on our blogroll, and the winner will receive a fun prize! Please email me,, if you’re interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details. (Click on my name in the message to visit our blog. 🙂

  14. We’re planning to stir-fry asparagus with ginger, garlic and fermented black beans tonight – what an excellent idea to add sesame seeds!
    (We had the most brilliant dinner last night – grilled pork chops, herbs from the garden, toaster-oven roasted potatoes, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce… I love asparagus season!)

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