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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Write With Me: Traveling with a Fleerd of Shepherds




An imagined encounter in the hills of Languedoc, Tsabones Land, near Olargues, France 




Each is good for one night only.
What is?
You're walking in the land of the Tsabones.
The what?
Cute little places to stay as you walk the path, you'll see them where you see shepherds.
Sounds like you're saying Xylophone.
You can't play a Tsabones, but some you can move, if the wind gives you permission.
Oh. Like those things that glide over the ice at hockey games?
That's a Zamboni.
It's 25 km today, so I guess we'll get started.
Say hello to the shepherd if you see him or her. But its not likely.
Why not?
They're thieves and tricksters.
And so I left with a caravan of pilgrims on my heels.

We walked all morning, noon, and almost as far as night. Sometimes they stayed behind, other times they disappeared as if birds flying over the trees. I walked closer. What a cute cozy wooden bed on wheels! The three pilgrims returned from nowhere, pushed me aside and climbed into the gypsy wagon. Tsabones!

There's still enough room for you.
Thanks. But shouldn't we leave the candelabras outside?
Our sleep problems are solved forever.
We can take this one with us.
Only if the wind says so..
Pulled by our flock.
You mean our herd.
No, our flock.
We just found the Tsabone, aren't you ever satisfied?
Even idiots know flocks are strictly birds.
You're the crazy one. Ever heard of a flock of sheep?
Open your eyes, there's birds and sheep around, let's just call it a fleerd.
As long as there's sleep and sheep, we're good.
Now wish for wind.
Excuse me.
That's not the kind of wind he meant.
Is anyone hungry?
Who's got the bread and cheese?
That's all that's left?
Build a fire, and umm. We hear the cheese melting and crackling into the fire.
What a perfect night, look at the stars!
In the flickering light something appears. What's that shadow? Yes that one.
It's staying still anyway.
Now its moving closer.
What glowing eyes!
Is it shepherd?
This must be his tsabone.
We rush inside and close the door.
Will he steal the fire?
We hear knocks outside all night.
Dear Milky Way, please keep us safe from wolves, other pilgrims, and mostly, shepherds.



We toast cheese, honey and chive tartines over the fire! Recipe below..


As dawn rose I slid open the door, and stumbled out on a crowd of pilgrims huddled around our smoking pit of dirt. The shadow of a shepherd we had seen at starlight had transformed into a simple outcropping of a few hundred rocks. 

We'll never get our Tsabones past those rocks. 
It's not ours anyway.
I'm not leaving my beloved Tsabones behind! 
It will take most of tomorrow to move them. 
What about today? 
Our traveling troupe gathers berries for first and second breakfast, being careful to stay close, lest we run into the strange shepherd who visited us last night. 

Georg, always the adventurous one, runs back breathing heavily. It's a good thing, I found him. There.  He points, his finger quivering.
We run to to the other end of the field. A shadow quickly departs into the trees. 



The new Tsabone looked small outside, but actually all 39 of us fit inside pretty well. Pretty well. Though some of us had to sleep on our sides. Especially after two breakfasts of berries. Our afternoon nap passed by rather suddenly, and when we woke the rest of the berries were gone, smears of purple washed the stones outside. Stolen by the sly shepherd we saw last night. How did he sneak in so silently? With such stealth? He must be part of a roaming fleerd of shepherds. 




Turns out this is the back door. 



And this is the Front Door



We run to the back again. Looking inside. But how strange, the door that appears  
is neither the front door or the back door! 

We open the disappearing door of the shepherd, slowly. 


Tartine of Cheese with Honey and Chives

serves one shepherd

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh snipped chives
small baguette, sliced lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix goat cheese, gruyere, honey, and chives. Spread half on each half of the baguette. 

Place baguette halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until cheese is melted and bread is golden. serve immediately.





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