Apparently the vine leaves are changing up north, but in our area of Bandol the zinnias and the cosmos and one or two hollyhocks are still in bloom. And can you believe one little sunflower just blossomed, here on the eve of November....
: (of plants, especially strawberries) to layer--or when plants develop airborn roots, then skip across the garden, replanting themselves.
C’est encore la bonne période pour marcotter vos fraisiers. Si comme moi, vous n’avez pas été hyper consciencieux sur leur entretien vous devriez trouver une multitude de stolons autour de vos plants. Ces stolons vont vous permettre de multiplier vos fraisiers afin de commencer une nouvelle plate bande de vos fruits rouges préférés.
It's still the right time to layer your strawberries. If, like me, you haven't paid much attention to their care, you should find a lot of stolons around your plants. These stolons will enable you to multiply your strawberries in order to begin a new row of your favorite red fruit! (From Tous au Potager)
- Correctly pronounce French with the book Exercises in French Phonetics
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
"Distracted by a Newfound Freedom"
In the potager garden behind the house, the tarragon, sage and sarriette are tumbling over the sides of the rock beds, like lush green lava from a lively pit.
A similar kind of chaos is alive inside of me as I try, once again, to go with the flow of life. In four hours we are expecting some very important guests who might as well be rock stars or Jesus. Being the one-track thinker I am, I've pushed everything aside in order to prepare for this event. Mainly--I've pushed everyone aside, according to the belief that I can only succeed in solitude--I can only organize a perfect lunch in peace, without people around me needing things in the meantime.
And then, suddenly, the world showed up--as if to disprove this conviction. My husband announced his sister was arriving for the week. Next, our son showed up unexpectedly, with his girlfriend. The duo handed me a bouquet of flowers and my son asked, "What's for dinner?"
As two innocent faces looked on expectantly, I began to realize that now is the chance to make my son's girlfriend feel as cozy and welcome as my mother-in-law had made me feel once upon a time. I set the colorful marguerites in a vase, and watched as my son prepared with care a plate of aperitifs. Next, my sister-in-law arrived with her close-cropped platinum hair and wearing a satin pink bomber jacket.
Surrounded, now, by my loving family, I still fought the urge to send everyone home. It was getting late and according to my written-in-stone plans I should be in bed by now, resting up for tomorrow's production titled "The Perfect Lunch."
Refocusing on my sister-in-law, I thought of all the tattoos hidden beneath that pink satin bomber jacket and how the soft and hard contrasts of taffeta and tattoos mirrored the face of suffering: hers, yours, mine, my lunch guests....
What if none of us were weaker or stronger than another? What if we all tortured ourselves? The only difference being the time and the occasion? What if everything were OK, after all? Do we dare let everything be?
* * *
It's 7:30 am and my guests will be here soon (translation: in 4.5 hours). Last night's dishes have been put away. Normally, at this hour, I'd be standing in the kitchen with a roll of scotch tape. Winding the tape around my right hand, careful to keep the sticky side exposed, I'd be swatting my arms and legs with the makeshift glove, trying to vacuum every square inch of my body, lest one single stray hair fall from my sleeve into my gratin dauphinois! The thought of one of my guests reaching for a hair makes me want to run off to a nunnery and live out my days in the bleach-scented blanchisserie, washing away any an all stray hairs of character till kingdom come.
Instead of so much torture, I have been transported to the backyard garden with my sister-in-law, released from the chains of imagination....
"Can I take some to a friend?" Cécile asks, and fast as that our arms begin wading through the aromatic branches, collecting a bouquet of fines herbes. When we almost yank out a population of strawberry plants, our pace slows dramatically to a stop.
"See how they run across the garden?" Cécile says, as we study the long arms of the fraisiers. "We call it "marcotter". Les fraises qui marcotent...."
For a strawberry plant to regrow itself, it must be partly air-born. That is, its roots must be exposed in order to jump to new horizons. Perhaps we too must be a little up in the air, not so tightly grounded--open to new directions--in order to skip off, or marcotte, to higher ground?
My lunch guests have already come and gone and if there was so much as a hair in the potato casserole I didn't see it. I was too distracted by a new-found freedom. Hopefully it will stick around a while. Better toss out that stock of scotch tape and make sure it does.
le potager = kitchen garden
la sarriette = savory (herb)
la marguerite = daisy
la blanchisserie = laundry
les fines herbes (f) = mixed herbs
I should be showing you a picture of strawberries that marcottent. But sometimes it is hard getting one's act together. I will try to post a picture over at Instagram and Facebook. Please join me there!
The winner of Friday's book giveaway is Kathy, who wrote: I was just introduced to a wonderful French cheese, Brillat-Savarin, at a wine-pairing event. It is my new favorite - soft, creamy, YUM!
Thank you all for sharing your favorite cheese. What a chance to learn all about the fromages of France and beyond!
Favorite stories about French life in the book First French Essais--filled with vocabulary-building terms! When you order any item at Amazon, via this link, your purchase helps keep this free language journal going. Merci beaucoup. Click here to shop.
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