On the way to meet Malou and Doreen ("The Dirt Divas"), Jules and I ventured through the town of Valréas. That's Mom... Her smile has returned.

bestiole (bes tee ohl) 

    : little creature; insect, bug

Example sentence:
Elles ne savaient pas quel genre de bestiole c'était. They did not know what type of insect it was


I just ordered this book for my mom, Jules. It's in rupture de stock, here in France, so we're waiting patiently for its arrival!:

The Greater Journey : Americans in Paris

The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work. Order The Greater Journey here.

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

Smashing Bugs!

If you were that collared dove cooing from the giant plane tree above, the view from the sky might provide curious sight...

There, on a South of France garden patio, among great clay pots filled with lilies à gogo, two women are dancing a kind of "gardener's twist".

"It's called 'The Lily Bug'!", Doreen explains, out of breath as she lifts her foot for another leg-twisting "Diva drill"--designed to literally squash out the competition! I follow her example and dance over to another of Malou's towering lilies, where I select a red-jacketed "dance partner" (the shy, would-be suitors are hiding among the lily leaves... and each time we reach for one, off it slides, via its elude-the-gardener defensive strategy). 

"They're sly devils!" Doreen warns, lifting her foot and slamming it to the ground. Without missing a beat our Dirt Diva selects another red-winged bestiole, one that will soon become "patio paste" (I wince as the little scarlet-backed bugs meet their fate via a tap-tap-twistaroo of our shoes).

Doreen is teaching me bug control. After the "wringing of the worms" (a horrifying fate in which invasive, hard-shelled worms meet their death by a swift thumb-to-forefinger twist), I am learning the lily-bug-squash technique.

It seems to be the most efficient means for eliminating the lys plants pire ennemi: the sometimes gooey lily beetle!
"Take that" (step-step-step... squash!) and that (twist-twist-wipe!

The turtledoves in the tree above look on, awestruck. Their featherless friends, below, are putting on quite a show!


Post note: Meantime, beneath the old plane tree, or platane, my mom, who came with me to Malou's home (where Doreen joined us), sat at a garden table, poring over Malou's knitting magazines. Every once in a while, Jules looked up, delighted by the table's spread: there were Moroccan cookies on a painted earthenware tray, and a selection of colorful sirops (banana-kiwi, lemon, lavender, mint), a large painted pitcher filled with fresh water and ice cubes decorated the cloth-covered table which overlooked Malou's magic garden.

"That Malou is smooth," Mom nodded her head, impressed. "She makes it look so easy." From my spot, over there on the bug-speckled patio, I had to agree. One day I would learn the art of hostessing. Meantime, I'm in bug boot camp being trained in the swift-kick-removal of unwanted guests: those lilioceris lilii, or lily snatchers!

Le Coin Commentaires
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An announcement from Chief Grape:

We are happy to let you know that Rouge-Bleu wines got some very nice scores on the lastest Wine Spectator issue : 90 points for Mistral red 09 and 87 points for Dentelle red 09. This link will help you locate them.


Just a few of Malou's lilies. There are many, many more! Thanks, Mom, for taking these photos, here and below.

French Vocabulary

à gogo = galore

la bestiole = bug

le lis (lys) = lily

le pire ennemi = worst enemy

le sirop = fruit drink made of one part fruit syrup, ten parts water (more or less...)

Reverse Dictionary

collared dove = la tourterelle turque

   Dancing among the lys, or lilies. Read about how I met the Dirt Divas. Click here.

Sirop Amazon has a big selection of refreshing drink syrops: add a swirl of grenadine to a glass of water, top with ice, and voilà - refreshing summertime! Check out all the sirop flavors and order one, here.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety