recensement militaire


Sicilian Seat with Geraniums (c) Kristin Espinasse
Alice Cooper crashed at our place over the weekend. Read on...

heurter (euhr tay) verb

    : to bang into, to knock against, to run into

heurter à la porte = to knock on the door
un heurtoir = a door-knocker

Audio File: listen to our daughter, Jackie, pronounce these French words: Download MP3 or Wav file

Le petit oiseau a heurté la fenêtre. 
The little bird crashed into the windowpane.


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

Over The Rainbow, Bluebirds Fly

The other night I noticed our golden retriever standing very still... nose-to-nose with wild creature.

"Smokey!" I shouted, in time for our dog to run into the house, only, the little creature remained....

Slowly, I approached the motionless visitor, getting close enough to identify it. Un petit oiseau... From the way the little bird stood perfectly still, it was clear it had been through some sort of trauma. 

A collision? I looked up to the window above the front door, then back down to the bird. Meantime, Little Blue Feathers stood staring at the wall. 

"Ça fait de la peine! It's heartbreaking," my friend Pascale sympathized, from the wooden deck beyond. She returned to her telephone conversation with her daughter, the subject now being "Comment aider un oiseau blessé?" or "How to help an injured bird?"

Lying on the ground beside the little sparrow, I noticed its dashing plumage: navy blue feathers which contrasted with the lighter blue and brown hues of its covering. How exquisite its design!  I resisted the urge to photograph the beautiful bird. Reason whispered into my ear, saying: All creatures are owed dignity in suffering.   

Surely the creature was suffering? Eye to eye with the bird, mindful not to touch it, I studied its behavior. My head resting on the cement porch, I studied the bird's beak, which opened and closed automatically. Open, close, open, close... Not a peep! It would seem Little Blue Feathers had seen a ghost... or a giant monster which, come to think of it, from the bird's perspective, must be what the giant, worried eye beside it looked like. I blinked. The bird blinked. "N'aie pas peur, petit oiseau. Don't be afraid, little bird."

I scooted back a bit, and studied the overall picture. No blood, no crooked, might-be-broken wings. Just a perfectly beautiful, if stunned, bird.

Now what to do? "Don't touch it!" Pascale suggested, transferring a message from her 13-year-old daughter, Alice.

I went in search of a small branch. "Qu'est-ce que tu fais?" Pascale wanted to know.

"I'm going to coax the bird onto this branch, sans le toucher!... then I'll... well, I'll...." (Well then what would I do?)

Pascale looked doubtful. Meantime, the sun set. I resisted the urge to set a basket over the bird, to protect it from predators. It seemed the best thing to do was not to tamper with Mother Nature (perhaps the bird, if left free, would fly off in time? under a basket it would not...). I trusted that our dogs had left enough of their scent to ward off any cats and, with that, we left the poor creature on its own beneath the darkening sky... into which the winged bats flew out to spy....

That night I said a Thy Will Be Done prayer and the next morning, on waking, I said another before opening the window shutters and looking down at the front patio.

No bird... It must have flown off. Could it be?!

I ran downstairs but my heart sank on opening the front door and seeing the little stranded sparrow... which had managed to move forward during the night, finding shelter between the chipped flower pot and the old Sicilian chair.


I knelt down, level with the little bird, and noticed its feathers were all puffed up. I hoped this wasn't a sign of distress!

And just when I thought my heart could not handle the worry of it all, I gave up and decided to trust. That is when the miracle happened: the little bird flew up... and into the tree just behind me!

I swirled around, amazed. Looking up into the mulberry tree, I found Little Blue Feathers looking back down at me! Well there you are! I thought. There you are!!!

After our silent, grateful bird-to-human exchange, le petit oiseau turned and hopped from branch to branch. Higher, and higher, and higher... in step with my thankful heart. 


Post note: I named the little bird "Alice", after Pascale's daughter, who had cared so much about the bird's outcome. Only, I had a doubt as to whether the bird might be a male... in which case, Alice would seem to work, too... (for in my home state of Arizona, we have a famous man who goes by "Alice". For this, our feathered surviver will be called, for the records, "Alice Cooper" (and hereafter, affectionately known as Alice (Ah leece).

Le Coin Commentaires
Join us now in the community corner. Respond to today's story or share one of your own. Corrections in English and in French welcome. Click here to leave a message

P.S.: Little did I know, when dragging that chair back from Etna last summer, that its most noble incarnation to date would be that of sauvetrice, or héroïne...

French Vocabulary

un petit oiseau = a little bird

ça fait de la peine = it's heartbreaking

comment aider un oiseau blessé = how to help an injured bird?

n'aie pas peur = don't be afraid

qu'est-ce que tu fais = what are you doing.

sans le toucher = without touching it


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French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France


Garden update: Voici, here is my first attempt at lasagna gardening. I am doing things backwards (having gotten a late start). The idea is to build up layers of plant material that will eventually break down and amend the soil. It is also an effective way to control weeds! Suzanne, if you are reading, I will be trying to get my hands on some of that straw... meantime, I am collecting tiny twigs and building them up around the tomato plants. A suivre... to be continued...

I need mulch!!! The old vine stalks are only there to hold down the cardboard... I need to find a lot of tiny twigs -- plenty of them around here. Now to get out and hunt for them! Any other mulch suggestions? Stuff to be found around one's garden? I hear one can even grow her own straw. Pourquoi pas?

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Ah, Kristin what a lovely story and so well told! I love your gardening ideas too, bon chance with that. I leave for Paris in the morning now knowing how to say "que'st-ce que vu fais?" just in case!

Audrey Wilson

Ah what a lovely story . I'm so glad the wee bird survived . A blue tit was it ?
Being an old stone built barn that has deep set windows that we live in,we have this problem of birds flying into the windows . A friens suggested that hanging old CD discs works to dissuade them I'm going to try this

Alastair Grant

A happy outcome to the 'flying accident' Kristin. We often have similar events in our South African garden. We gently place the bird in a shoebox lined with a soft cloth or even tissue paper and keep it under the cover of our veranda roof where it's safe from predators. Stunned birds usually recover fully in a few hours.

A friend in France once rescued a stunned blue tit and took it into the kitchen until it recovered. He then took it to the door in cupped hands and as he reached the eaves line an avalanche of snow landed on his arms and the bird disappeared! Hearing a flutter near his ear he found that the bird had seen the snow comming and had flown back into the kitchen. After a pause on his shoulder the bird decided it was clear and flew into the garden.

Kristin Espinasse

Audrey, aha! Now I understand what all those CDs are... twirling about in French windows! Ive often wondered... now I will know, each time I see the CDs, that a bird lover lives there!

Alastair, loved your friends story, so eloquently told by you.

Marie, wishing you a lovely time in Paris!


What a lovely story, Kristin, and one with a happy ending. We often have to rescue stunned birds and, like Alastair, usually put the bird somewhere safe from predators until it can look after itself again.

Bill in St. Paul

We have a set of windows that on a cloudy, pre-rain day have fooled a bird or two into thinking that they could fly right through. Most birds, like yours, Kristin, have recovered but we did have one woodpecker that broke its neck flying into the window. However, I figured it was the house's revenge for the wholes the woodpecker had made in our cedar shake siding. (I'll have to pass these pictures on to my daughter, the gardener, so she can tell me what you are doing with your garden.)

Kristin Espinasse

P.S. to Audrey -- I've gone back to the story and noted that it is a blue sparrow. I had been doubtful (didn't realize sparrows could be blue!), but an internet search cleared up the matter.

Perpetua and Alastair, thanks for the tip - we were lucky this time, but protecting the bird from predators seems a good idea. I did rea to not use metal cages, so will keep your box (with holes) idea in mind. Hopefully there won't be another occasion!


Hi Kristin,

Très heureuse d'avoir lu l'histoire du petit oiseau - such a wonderful recovery! According to your description, it doesn't seem to be "une mésange bleue" (a blue tit) but, whatever it is, I was thrilled to 'see' it hopping higher and higher on the branches of your mulburry tree, having fully recovered. I hope it gets plenty of good food to give all the energy needed after such a trauma. We'll never know whether the pretty feathered creature "a heurté un poteau, un mur, ou une fenêtre... ('bumped into a post, a wall, or a window...') but I guess it's most probably a window. Birds are used to see trees, walls and posts everyday... but windows are quite treacherous. I never hang a bird feeder against a wall or near a window. The nearest feeders to my house are a good 5m away from walls and windows.

Kristin, I spent all my w/end in the garden and thought a lot about you and your composting. "Ice follies" and Devon red" daffodils having passed their best, I cut off all the dead flower heads - yes, as you guess, they ended up on my compost heap. I still have 5 more varieties in full bloom or blooming soon, so, I think the next 'flower head cutting' will be some time around mid May. I spent a lot of time pruning shrubs. The ginormous pile of fresh clippings plus the existing pile of older clippings got all shredded by my husband and produced a splendid addition to the compost. I mixed it with the existing compost and I transferred the stirred up mixture to the second compost heap! There was enough shreddings to start up another compost heap too. Oh, I could have cut so many, many "brindilles" (= twigs) for you! I love shrubs (evergreen or not) - for their shape and colour, and many other reasons (one of which being ... clipping!). Little birds like them too!


just read your note about "blue sparrow"
and tried to get some info (a lot from Australia... and also mentioned in Canada)
Did it look like:


Karen W  (Towson, Maryland)

Lovely stories here today! I've had this happen due to a large picture window. It's so sad. I wince when I hear the sound when they hit the glass and pray that it recovers.

There is a poem by Emily Dickinson that my grandmother - an avid "birdie" - always recited. I hear it in my head with today's post so I'll share it:

"Not In Vain"

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.


Karen, I do appreciate the 'Not in vain' poem. Thank you so much!

Kristin, I love the flowered seat of your Sicilian chair! Let's say your little "Alice in Wonderland' had a discerning eye and enjoyed the snuggly blue spot of muscaris in between a broken pot and a Sicilian-seatless-chair-looking after-red geranium! Blissful blue and red 'recovery room' for an injured blue sparrow...

Very interesting to see your cardboard system for suppressing 'unwanted vegetation'. I haven't read the info about the 'lasagna system' yet.

I still have plenty of work in the garden - something to do with... 'architecture' I suppose! My husband calls it 'the hardware' as opposed to the 'software' of foliage and flowers! That sort of work has been through a long period of planning and discussing. It will have to wait until beg of May to get started.

By the way, "le nettoyage de printemps" ("Spring cleaning") in my house will also have to wait till May too. My hours of knitting and typing + other things (all the 'ings' that make me lose track of time!) meant a certain minimum of time for... clean-ing!

The garden is ok for the time being. We're off on Wed and will be back for Easter when our children and guests will spend a whole week here, enjoying the sea, the New Forest region ... - and ... the Royal Wedding on TV! As you can understand, my laptop will have a holiday!

I'll be back after the 'Royal Wedding'...
Joyeuses fêtes de Pâques et bonnes vacances!

another happy smile to dear Little Blue Feathers "qui voyait 36 chandelles" when you first noticed it

"voir 36 chandelles" = to see 'stars' -> (flashes of light, as a result of a concussion of the head

'Alice in Wonderland' will now have another meaning to me.
Merci Kristin!

Kristin Espinasse

Newforest, the sparrow looks very much like the one in the picture from the link you sent. I'm wondering if its chest was as blue...

Love the expression "voir 36 chandelles" = to see 'stars'. And re the chamelian of a Sicilian chair... I have YOU to thank for the idea of setting a plant into its empty seat :-) I hope the geraniums will grow up and out of it, falling down the sides like a flowering Rapunzel! Enjoy your getaway and some rest from garden work. PPS: Perhaps we'll rethink "Alice Cooper"... for "Alice in Wonderland"?? :-) Also "brindilles" - just the word I'd been looking for while out on the latest "brindille" hunt!

Karen, thank you for that poem! It reminds me of another that Stacy sent us a while back... such wise words!


Late one afternoon many years ago, I became aware of a commotion of birds outside my window. I looked out and mother and father bird had obviously been giving flying lessons and one little bird had alighted on a wrought iron chair on the deck and must have slipped because it was caught by the neck. The adult birds were very agitated but there was nothing they could do, so they finally flew away with the three others of the brood.

I went outside. I couldn't leave the little creature to strangle slowly, so as gently as I could, I freed it. Its little head was twisted to one side. It couldn't live and there was no way I could bring myself to make its end faster. I decided I would sit with it in my cupped hands until it died, hoping the warmth would give it some comfort.

After about 10 minutes, the bird lifted its head and chirped. Apparently there was hope. I went inside and got a box with a piece of towel in it, put the bird in it, and sat down again beside it. After a few more minutes it gave an unsteady hop --- backwards --- and chirped some more.

More time went by and it made a couple of hops forward and was chirping like a champ. By this time I'd been sitting with the little bird for over an hour and it was early evening. If I took it inside and tried to care for it, I knew from experience that it would eventually die. If I left it in the box on my deck, a cat would get it. So I finally decided to put it in the flowerbed under the tree where I knew the nest was, in the hope that mother and father would hear the chirps and encourage it back to the nest. I had no idea if it was true that they would reject it because I had touched it. I still don't know if it's true, and I don't want to know; so please, don't anyone tell me.

My little bird wasn't there the next morning. I know there are unhappy explanations for that, but the one I want to believe is the happy ending: that like your bird, it recovered its ability to fly, and was reunited with its family.


Chère Kristin,

So glad the little bird is well. It is heartbreaking when they hurt themselves -- and all one wants to do is help them!

Lasagna gardening sounds fascinating! Please promise that you will use a peat alternative. Ironically, peat harvesting is destroying homes to all kinds of petits oiseaux!

I am finally reading your book. How I am enjoying it!

Amitiés - Melanie


Dear Kristin, I have always enjoyed your stories from France over the years, but this one particularly spoke to me. Likewise, there's a situation in my life and I'm at a loss as to what to do about it. No sooner had I decided just to trust in whatever may be, I read your story and was so inspired. Thank you for your words!


Hi Kristin, I, too, have had similar experiences with injured birds and butterflies. Although I know that your are not supposed to touch these beauties, I do. I put on those thin rubber gloves and carefully hold the injured being and pray--then putting the animal in a safe spot. Usually, they come back to themselves; look at me intently and fly off. Truly we are all one. Mary

Candy in SW KS

Perhaps "Alice in Wander-land"? :)


Dear Kristin,
What a lovely story. I especially enjoyed the image of your blonde head lying with its cheek on the ground looking eye to eye with the little blue scrap of life. I have always been amazed at how much life there is in such a teeny bit of fluff.

I think breathing with another being who is injured or stunned is a magnificent natural instinct, being present with what is, moving slowly and somehow just being there. (I just started to imagine it the other way around, with a giant bird next to me... hmmm. puts my theory to the test. But then if I noticed it was breathing with me, and I hadn't died of a heart felt kind of peaceful.) Excuse the flight...
One friend of mine ( a bird pro) puts red strips of paper in her windows. Seems to work but looks more Chinese than French. Very cheery though.

I am reporting great success with lasagna gardening. I have very clay soil here in Northern Ca. and one side of my house had had a gravel driveway, very packed down and too hard to even get a shovel into. I tried lasagna gardening for a year, used newspapers and cardboard, even small branches. It was a couple of years ago and yesterday when I dug down, (I have thrown compost and straw on it randomly) but it does not explain the 1 foot of delicious black soil that appeared. The clay was down about a foot, no trace of the gravel??? and the clay was very shallow and easy to dig through. As my Italian friend from NYC says "Go figguh!"
Happy cooking.

Carolyn Chase

Pour le jardin, on peut utilizer le marc du café et aussi les tontes de gazon comme paillis.

Jules Greer

My Precious Kristi,

I loved your post today. You have not traveled far from that 8 year old little girl that always had my heart captured in your daily stories shared with me. What a lucky MOM I was to have witnessed your presence.

It is good for you to flounder around in the dirt, surrounded by your empty pizza boxes held down with old vine stumps. This is building your 'Garden Character' which is the secret to all great gardeners. As a Mother my heart yearns to be with you to wipe away the twigs that cling to your hair.

I am so emotionally tied up with todays photographs and your thoughts - I feel a pull to be with you more than ever so I can ease you into this new path in your life. You need some helping hands, Thank God you have all of your friends here at FWAD to encourage you in your infancy.

Keep studying the garden video's on Youtube, you are doing great. As always I am so proud of you.



Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut Kristin,

Thanks for the neat story and photos.

In Arizona, our windows usually have a light coat of dust on them and, when a kamikaze bird crashes into a window, a ghostly image is left at the scene. I wonder . . . . Is there pain when the bird hits the pane? I’ve heard that when a fish swims into a concrete wall, he thinks “DAM”; what’s the bird thinking?

Alice Cooper lives in a gated community on top of the mountain just to the west of Moon Valley where I live in North Phoenix.

À bientôt

Nancy flemming

What a beautiful event written so vividly!
It touched so many because we have shared a moment like that as well. I live on an island in N. California and have French doors that birds on this island refuge have flown into as well. I 'do' use the cushioned box technique! Once a whole nest of baby birds fell... They all made it!!
The poem and your mom's beautiful writing completed the day!

Carolyn Curtis

Since you used the words dirt and soil to describe La Terre in today's piece, I wanted to return to that discussion which was started by an English reader. She objected to your use of "dirt" as in "dirt divas" - I love it! But in England "soil" is the word used. When I moved to the States, I couldn't handle "dirt in the backyard" either. I had "soil in my garden"! Ah language - you gotta love it. The English readers who object to dirt need to remember that soil also has the connotation of dirtying (soiled hands, to soil something). Finally my question is this - Is there another word in French for la terre?


I'm so happy our petit oiseau is "up and away." I was holding my breath throughout your story. It was so beautiful, so compassionate. You have such a good heart, Kristin.

Re: Gardening: yesterday I spent nearly 2 delightful hours giving my yellow bank's roses haircuts. It's so renewing to be outside, thinking of nothing except what I'm doing at the moment. Thank goodness for the arrival of Spring.


in reply to Carolyn Curtis,

Soil is regarded as the top layer of the earth in which we can grow plants and trees.
According to the main elements the soil in our garden is made of, we say we have a clay soil, a chalky soil.... a sandy soil, a silty soil etc
British gardeners never say they've got a sandy 'dirt', a clay 'dirt'.... a chalky 'dirt'... etc in their garden
Our soil can be mainly acid, or alkaline. I've never heard any Englishman saying in his garden, he can easily grow camelias, azaleas and rhododendrons because he's got 'acid dirt'...

Equivalent of the word "soil", in French:
--> The French use 2 words in the same way as the British use the word "soil". These 2 French words are "le sol" and "la terre". In their garden and fields, they have un sol argileux / une terre argileuse, un sol calcaire / une terre calcaire.... un sol sablonneux / une terre sablonneuse etc
In this context, "le sol" is more of a scientific word.

- The noun 'dirt' in French = SALETÉ(s)
- when related to the soil, it essentially means "la boue" (= mud)
For a French person, le sol, la terre and les produits du "terroir" (ask Jean-Marc) are words more connected with 'soil' and 'earth' than with 'dirt'

Conclusion: it helps when we understand meaning of words, gardening context and the way words have taken a different meaning in different places.

"Notre Mère, la Terre" is "Mother Earth"
"Dame Nature" is "Mother Nature"

Mille et mille mercis Kristin for the video in Cinéma Vérité!... about that man who planted trees....


How good to read that little Alice recovered, Kristin.

We have a large front window with a pine tree in front where we feed the local birds. This past Christmas, we placed our holiday tree in the window and the birds kept flying into the window, thinking, I suppose that it was a new tree in which to roost. None were injured but it drove our kitties cuckoo because they would land on the small window ledge outside.


What a nice surprise to see your reference to Lasagna Gardening: I am about to try it, too! I'm no further along than you are, though, because I don't have much mulching material--especially dirt. Some cardboard, at least, is down!

Bon courage avec le jardin, et quel bonheur de savoir que les oiseaux vont bien !


I loved the story about le petit oiseau. Most the time they are just stunned. You can put them in a soft cloth or towel and use an eye dropper to drip water into their beak....or off the end of your finger. I have found that this speeds up their recovery. Also liked the usage of the chair and pot. I will place plants in almost anything.....try the old shoe. Perhaps your mother has an old cowgirl boot she could donate. That way every time you looked at that planter you would think of her.

Jennifer in OR

Precious story today. Two days ago my daughter brought in a baby woodpecker that'd hit our window. Sadly it didn't make it and she tenderly care for it and prepared a grave.


We also have very large glass windows and I found some reflective leaf shaped things which adhere to the windows so that the birds will not fly into them, but lo and behold, they find other windows to fly into. I have found several dead birds and I have to have my husband take and bury them. I hate the sound they they make when they hit the window and only wish that they knew that it was glass and not the great outdoors.
I have been mulching my gardens. We are lucky enough to get mulch from the town, but it goes quickly and I need more. Hopefully there will be some left.
I love the flower chair. Never thought of putting the flower under a seatless chair - good idea.

ann ceraldi

I think that if it was still somewhat light outside the parents came for the baby bird. Usually, if it's dark, it's best to put a bird in a shoebox in a warm, dark, quiet place (like a closet shelf) until morning. You do not want to feed it or give it water (could give the wrong food, and if it is chilled it can't digest it anyway, and the undigested food will make it ill. No water because it is easy for a stressed and frightened bird to get water into its lungs--not good! The trachea is near the midpoint of their tongues) It doesn't matter if you touch the bird, that is an old wive's tale. Most birds (vultures are an exception) have very poorly developed senses of smell.
Once a baby bird has left the nest it does not return. This is the fledging stage, and the most vulnerable of a young bird's life. They will spend a day or two or three on the ground before they completely master the ability to fly. If you find a nestling, which is a bird without complete feathering, it has fallen (not left) from the nest and should be put back if you can find it. If not, you can put it in a margarine tub lined with toilet paper. Put it on a heating pad set to LOW with a towel between the pad and the margarine tub.
Then, if you're lucky and have a wildlife rehab center nearby, you can drop it off when they are open. If not, you are stuck feeding it every 15 -30 minutes depending on how old it is--that would be an entire essay, so I'll stop now!!

Alice Federico

Dear Kristin - Moi aussi, je m'appelle Alice! I am like you a lover of all creatures great and small. En particulier, les oiseaux. Your story reminded me of a similar experience. One day I heard a thrush (plain-Jane cousin of the Robin) slam against the large window in our kitchen. I ran out to see what I could do to help it. I thought the worst when I found it on top of the hedge, legs sprawled up in the air, seemingly lifeless. Like you, I did not want to cause it any more harm from human contact but I was afraid of cats that might go after it while it was unconscious. I remembered that I had a very large bird cage in the garage, so I carefully transferred the beautiful creature to a piece of cardboard and set it out in the yard with the bird cage over it. I checked every 10 minutes or so until miracle of miracles, the bird regained consciousness after about 1 hour. I lifted up the cage and stepped aside so my little friend could fly off fearless and unharmed.

Amazing n'est-ce pas how such encounters offer one the opportunity to see up close the wonderful beauty of nature's creatures such as birds. I am grateful to have had such a chance to see my thrush up close yet also to see it fly away.


I read your Alice story and was so worried that the next day Alice would have gone to that big bird house in the sky, but thank goodness Alice made it to the next day. I am also wondering about your use of twigs around the tomato plants - I've never heard of this before. Is this a way of staking them as they grow?


Have a wonderful day!


To anyone interested:
7 or 8th post above this one, I replied to Carolyn's message.
True that 'soil' can make your hands dirty!

Here are extra points I didn't take time to mention in my previous post.

---> GROUND (solid surface under your feet) can be translated in French by either "le sol" or "la terre".
- To prepare the ground before planting =
"préparer le sol avant de planter"
/ "préparer la terre avant de planter"

---> LAND -
- "la terre", for a landowner, is 'the land'
- "vendre une terre" = to sell a plot of land
- "la terre de mes ancêtres" = the land of my ancestors
- "la terre natale" = native land
- "le terroir" = local land with specific characteristics related to soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, all contributing to its uniqueness and the unique flavour and quality of its (local) produce. Hello Jean-Marc, have I got it right? I know this word means a lot to you!

---> CLAY - in pottery:
- "de la terre glaise" ("de l'argile") = clay
- "en terre cuite" = baked clay / terracotta

---> TERRITORY - (from the French word "terre" is a limited space of land under someone's authority
- "le territoire"

---> and of course, when "terre" is used in parallel with "ciel", we mean 'earth' (all earthly things) as opposed to 'heaven'


previous post and this one covered the following vocab:
**soil, ground, earth, land, clay, territory, Earth, Planet Earth.
**le sol, la terre, le terroir, la terre glaise, le territoire, la Terre, la Planète Terre.

so many touching rescue stories!
For years, we used to have a large aviary in our garden, so, we have many stories about birds! In the end, we gave our birds (a good fifty of them) to a younger family and my husband helped them to build their aviary.
Now, we care about wild birds.

Della from Colorado


I guess I've been lasagna gardening for years - just didn't know it. Thought I was just lazy. I HATE weeding, so mulch heavily with grass clippings and leaves. I have been known to appropriate neighbors clippings rather than let them go to the landfill.

I also do something that not all think is great, but I've never had any problem with. I dig raw kitchen debris (peels etc.) along with the shredded paper from our home office into the garden. I do try to mix a bit of last year's grass, soil, and peels when I dig them in. Kind of in-place composting. During the growing season I just work around the plants. I have soil full of lovely worms and have never dug up a half-rotten cantaloupe the next spring. They disappear beautifully even in our cold winters. And best of all, I don't have to turn any compost heaps!



... about 'twirling CDs and birds' mentioned in early posts.

I would rather think the gardener who 'plants' such a twirling CDs device in his "potager" (= kitchen garden) wants to say to the birds:
You are NOT welcome here - Get off my seeds and seedlings... Fly away!

Now, if there is a mobile made of twirling CDs hung by a window, it shows people don't want any bird to hit that window pane and get injured. It sounds like a good solution for birds (as long as you don't mind seeing the twirling CDs through your window all the time)

Variation in the story if you are a magpie. For them, silvery CDs twisting and twirling in the sun is a great invitation! something... irresistible! "Les pies" (= magpies) are strongly attracted to all shiny objects and will instinctively try to steal them (shiny objects are found in their nest!) Our noisy chattering magpies are "voleuses" - To me, they are not thieves but let's say they quite naturally try to 'steal' anything shiny!
Thieving magpies?
'The thieving magpie'
-> "La pie voleuse"
Hello Rossini!
I haven't listened to the famous overture of your opera for... years!

On this musical notes, I'll say "Au revoir".
I'll be back "en début mai", after the extra holiday given for the Royal Wedding...


I have little birds hit my windows all the time and have to do the same rescue....I usually pick them up gently and put them inside a potted plant and then put the pot on top of my storage locker on my deck or the patio table. Somewhere elevated where the raccoons or cats or fox won't get them. I leave some bread crumbs and water for the bird too. Usually if they don't have a broken neck or wings, they are only stunned and seem to get control of themselves within and hour's time. One time I rescued a baby owl that was lying on its back right next door to the building I work in in downtown Chicago. So many people just walked past him and I was not afraid to pick him up on my way to my building and put him into one of the main planters on the plaza where there were trees and bushes. As soon as I got him upright on the mud, he immediately flew up into the branches of the shade tree. Otherwise, he'd probably would have died on the marble sidewalk.

Marianne Rankin

What a wonderful story about the bird. And yes, I do think we should try to save injured animals, of course touching them as little as possible, but not leaving them to suffer; they deserve a chance.

Could pieces of grapevine work as mulch/ clippings for the compost? Or possibly dried grapes that didn't grow to full size?

Mike from South Africa

If you have a sawmill nearby (probably not?) it might be possible to get the bark or chippings and use it as mulch. The nurseries hereabouts do this. Another possibility is to use the chipper (absolutely essential, as I said the other day) with prunings from your vines. After shredding, they should still have enough bulk to do what you need, particularly if they are strwen under the lasagni

Suzanne Hurst

I love the story of "la petite l'oiseau." I had a similar experience on a walk in my neighborhood. In my case, it was a baby robin, which could only hop. I tried to coax it into a box and was going to put it in someone's yard, but decided that it might attract even more attn., and there are lots of cats in the area, so reluctantly, I just left it there in the grass. When I returned the next day, it was gone. I can only hope that it had a miracle too.

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