A crush on architecture: le linteau
buyer's remorse in French

doux

Tomato vine, golden retriever, hide-n-seek, France, gardening www.french-word-a-day.com (c) Kristin Espinasse
Jouer à cache-cache means to play hide-n-seek. This was a favorite game of Smokey's when he was one-years-old (pictured), though his hiding places were a bit obvious.... Now, at 4, he likes the classics: a good ol' game of catch is fine by him. 

doux (do)

    : mild, temperate; sweet, pleasant; soft; lenient

Doux also refers to a gentle person--or how about a gentle soul, like the one hiding behind the tomatoes? Speaking of tomatoes, we're busy harvesting them--along with grapes--during this exceptionally mild weather. 

Terms & Expressions

un billet doux = a love letter
le vin doux
= sweet wine
dire des mots doux à quelqu'un = to whisper sweet nothings
faire les yeux doux à qqn = to make eyes at someone (to look at someone with puppy-dog eyes) 
Share more terms and expressions here, in the comments

Example Sentence:
Une période de temps doux et sec au début d'octobre fait en sorte que les apiculteurs ont amplement le temps de préparer leurs ruches en vue de l'hiver qui approche... A run of warm dry weather in early October is providing beekeepers with ample opportunity to prepare their hives for the coming winter.... (from FAC express and Linguee dictionnaire)

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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

"It looks like we will have tomatoes up into November!" I tell Jean-Marc, pour la troisième fois. I am excited by the findings in our garden, and motivated to do better next time. (Next time I will stake those tomatoes, which have spread like a riot across the garden beds. Though unruly tomatoes taste just as good, they are harder to find than "ruly" tomatoes--which don't hide themselves behind the parsley, or get tangled in with the cucumbers (will need to tie those up next time, too).

Here in the South of France, the weather on this 22nd of October is si doux! si doux! It's so mild outside. I watch the locals swim in the sea and the farmers collecting grapes this late in the season. (As I type this, Jean-Marc and the kids are high on the hill behind our house, working on a morning-long vendange. And when they are done, I know one of them will return to the beach, to wash all the grape juice off with the help of a salt-water bath!)

But back to fall weather... I love to see the autumn wildflowers pop up and to discover which plants are flowering. The roadsides are flanked with yellow beauties called millepertuis, or "a thousand holes"--for the tiny perforated leaves they sport. (In English we call them St John's wort). Some use the flowers to treat depression. My husband uses them to organically care for his vines (do vines get the blues?)

Also flowering here in our garden are the verbena plants—in French la verveine. Their blossoms are like lacy spears and, though silver-tinted, they are pretty in the golden vase Mom brought me years ago from Mexico.

I'm on my way outside now, to collect another bunch of verveine—for the lemony aroma, which freshens the house (and, some say, wards off les moustiques... But my experience is that it attracts the very same! Just last night I stood there with une poignée of leaves (to sweeten my tea) when--zap!--I was bitten by a flimsy passer-by! I watched as the drunk pest staggered off through the air, leaving its victim seething with vexation. How a weightless bully can displace a giant ever amazes me. 

No use letting a wobbly mosquito ruin one's mood. An extra drop of honey in one's tea is sometimes enough to restore sanity. (And a dab of miel on one's mosquito bite couldn't hurt either). When it comes to lotions and potions, Mother Nature's pharmacy is full of possibilities.

*    *    *

  Melissa and cabanon

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Pictured above: In other "flowering plants of October," here are some melisse, or lemon balm (I think...). A friend thought it was de la menthe, or mint--and though it tastes a little minty, it is not mint. What would you call a plant whose leaves looked like mint and whose flowers looked like this, pinkish-red?

French Vocabulary
pour la troisième fois = for the third time
si doux = so mild
la vendange = grape harvest
le millepertuis = St John's wort
la verveine = verbena
le moustique = mosquito
une poignée = a handful
le miel = honey
    =>expression, être tout sucre, tout miel 

 

Hibiscus and smokey
Bill Facker, are you reading? Here is the hibiscus plant you bought us in Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes. We dragged it south, when we moved. One year later--it's bloomed! (pictured: Smokey, in a rare holding-that-tongue-in moment).

Rosemary and smokey
Like the verbena plant in our yard, this rosemary is very old. But oh the blossoms it produces! What do you use rosemary or verbena for? Share some ideas, here, in the comments box.

Verbena-for-tea
Lemon verbena in the house. Did you read the previous post, about our current remodel project? Click here to see it. The work has not advanced since then.... 

Plastic protection sheet
Mom's painting matches the construction tape that holds up these plastic walls. The idea is to keep out dust. Tell that to all our furniture...

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