trinquer + photos of winetasting

late bloomer in French

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First corn! Pictured this way it reminds me of The Good Witch's wand from The Wizard of Oz. That sure explains the magic going on around here, in the veggie patch! (Forgive me for the over-saturated photo. All that Instagraming is driving out the purist in me! More photos from our corner of France right here at Instagram.)

Today's word is in English - for our French readers' enjoyment: 

Late Bloomer

    : a late-blooming plant (une plante tardive)
    : someone who took his or her time to learn something or to bloom
      (quelqu'un qui a pris son temps pour découvrir sa passion)

Audio File: Listen to the sentence in French, below: Download MP3 or Wave file

(Today's example sentence is in honor of one of our readers, Herm, who also has a blog Herm's Rhyme Thyme)

He is what we call in English "a late bloomer." He began to publish his poetry after the age of 85.
Il est ce qu'on appelle en anglais "une plante tardive." Il a commencé à publier sa poesie après l'âge de quatre-vignt-cinq ans.

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

Sometime in May I began to notice how everyone else's tomato plants were growing and mine were not. I started pacing up and down the pathways in our garden in search of spontaneous seedlings. (New to permaculture I hoped for natural, automatic crops--raised from the ashes of last year's abundance!)
In June my husband brought home store-bought tomato plants, au cas où. Around that time, I began noticing how everyone south of Paris was racking in loads of strawberries. But my own fraisiers were no more than masses of green leaves, no berries in sight. 

By the time the neighborhood fruit stand ran out of strawberries, my plants began to show blossoms. Then came the tiny fruit. There was never enough to fill a whole basket, but it was easy to enjoy a few strawberries each morning while out pulling weeds in the would-be veggie patch.

Finally the tomato seedlings shot up! There were no tomatoes yet but that didn't matter--by then my neighbor, Annie, was delivering sackfuls from her potager!

"Compte sur moi le mois prochain," I promised Annie, pointing to those aromatic seedlings (the tomato scent was unmistakable!) which would ripen just like the strawberries--plus tard. I would then reciprocate, sharing a bounty of my own!

Now, each morning passes and I'm out in the garden, popping giant strawberries (green tops included!)  into my mouth as I go about my chores. I don't have baskets and baskets to show for it, but if you added up the incremental "harvest" or the number of times I've opened my mouth and thrown back a strawberry you could equate that to an entire farmers market stand marked "FRAISES A VENDRE!" (And if you added the times my golden assistant, Smokey, sneaked a berry, you might count a truckload!)

      Caught in the act! 

Oftentimes while digging in the garden I wonder why I didn't learn to jardiner years ago. Meantime, I'm enjoying watching my tomatoes fatten up (they still have not turned red) and can you believe those kernels of corn grew up? (Oh, I have not told you about them!) As for the maïs, I have no way of knowing whether I'm behind again this time--as no one grows corn in Provence. Either way, I've learned a thing or two about my garden and myself, namely that we're both late-bloomers. 


Roma tomato
Roma tomatoes. The yellow flower in the background is wild St John's Wort, a good insectary and a good herbal treatment for Jean-Marc's  biodynamic permaculture* vineyard. (*he'll be adding fava beans between vine rows soon!)


au cas où = just in case
un fraisier
= strawberry plant
le potager = kitchen garden, veggie patch
Compte sur moi = count on me
le mois prochain
= next month
plus tard = later on
jardiner = to garden
le maïs = corn, maize

  Strawberries or fraises
A precious few, or enough to share.

Note for annie

Now find a toothpick and recycle some stationary....


And don't worry about your French too much, just let someone know you're thinking of them:


It's just a little "kiss" to tell you I'm thinking of you. It's hot and I don't go out much. But (thank goodness) it's summertime.


Pictured in the canning jar: tarragon to fill in all the empty space, mint blossoms to add charm, fennel flowers for a burst of yellow! and a precious handful of fraises for neighbor Annie's dessert.

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.

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