The French word "tomber," the cops, and my mother-in-law
"See you" in French... and I hope you win this prize!

The French word topinambour--it saved French lives during WW2

Hidden in Paris Corine Gantz

Enter to win a copy of the book Hidden in Paris. Answer the following question:
Have you ever won something? Click here to answer.

topinambour (toh-pee-nam-boor)

    : jerusalem artichoke, sun choke, helianthus tuberosus

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav file

Pendant la guerre, manger des topinambours a permis d'éviter la famine.
During the war, eating jerusalem artichokes helped avoid famine.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

After what seemed like months I finally received the package of seeds I’d ordered. Ripping open the box, I reached for packets of maïs doux, épinard géant d’hiver, amaranthe rouge and ail chinois. It was strange how such a small order was delivered in such a large box--unusual for a company practicing sustainability.

Flattening the boîte for recycling, an earthy scent arose tickling my nose. Reaching into the package I pulled out a lump of dirt. More dirt followed and what looked like crottes! A thought crossed my mind: Perhaps one could go too far on this path of permaculture? Things were getting a little too natural for even my sensibilities!

I grabbed the receipt, my eyes traveling down the list to a vaguely familiar word: topinambour. Must have ordered them during my latest seed shopping spree… Why? Like a patient waking from a retail therapy coma, I had no answers—only a bizarre purchase to account for.

I took out a few more tubers, examining them. No two were alike. And which way was up? Which end was the root end for planting?

      The forest for the trees--or the tubers from the tiles...

With soiled hands, I pounded the keyboard for information. In addition to crotte-like tubers, an internet search brought up pages and pages of bright yellow sunflowers. The tournesols were only too familiar. I’d seen them in cozy French gardens and even in charming municipal displays. How I’d yearned for them, trying in vain to locate the exact flowers in seed catalogues.  

But what were they doing here, in a search for ugly tubers or topinambours?

Slowly connecting the dots, I realized I’d accidentally happened upon them—right in my mailbox--after ordering a légume ancien--forgotten vegetables our ancestors once grew!  Next came the quest to know everything possible about this absolutely charming vegetable, the Jerusalem artichoke (a.k.a. “The sunchoke” “the Pear of the Earth” and, my favorite, “The Truffle of Canada”).


Not only were the "sunroot" flowers beautiful to look at, they were, according to the internet, a cinch to grow in almost any soil (even in sand!) and they came with a host of benefits: they can be eaten raw or cooked, diabetics favor them for the inulin, which helps diminish or eliminate the need for insulin, neighbors plant them as “privacy shields” (the plants shoot up quickly, as high as 10-12 feet), animals love them (good for chickens!) and survivalists plant them in their yards. “When the supermarket shelves are empty,” one gardener said, “I’ll have 3 years worth of food!”

Sunroot flowers
Photographed by Paul Fenwick, 19th March 2005

Bon, one could get tired of even “truffles”… still with their golden blossoms and nutty-tasting tubers, what wasn’t there to love about these so-called Pears of the Earth? An internet forum revealed the downside: 1) intestinal response (gas) and 2) the tubers have an invasive characteristic. As little as a portion of one tuber could yield dozens and dozens and dozens more. Practically impossible to harvest every single one, the plant lives on to infinity and beyond—sometimes invading neighbor’s gardens!

After reading all the horror stories, including the tuber’s attractiveness to pigs—of which we have many (a serious sanglier problem), I went to sleep and had nightmares—so worried was I about the one or two Jerusalem artichokes I’d already planted, a vision of endless sunflowers having goaded me on and on. But where had I planted them? I could not exactly remember. Tossing and turning all night long, drenched in sweat, I tugged at the sunchokes in vain. No matter how deep I dug, in my dreams, more came up—totally invading my garden as they marched their gnarled “feet”, toward my neighbor’s yard! I woke several times in the night, drenched, only to fall back asleep to the same tuber war! Reaching, grasping, yanking, I could not oust the invader!

The next day, while serving coffee to our especially animated guest (a specialist on planting grapevines), I talked about the Jerusalem artichokes I’d ordered.

“An excellent and advantageous food!” he chirped, only to grow uncharacteristically quiet. A peaceful look transformed his face and when next the farmer looked up he said:

“Thanks in part to your country and to the topinambour, France was saved during the war… from invasion and famine.

It was yet another coincidence, to be holding this homely tuber on such a memorable day: Armistice, or Veterans Day. 

leave a comment and automatically enter to win today’s giveaway.

French Vocabulary
la crotte = dog doo
le maïs doux = sweet corn
l'épinard géant d’hiver = giant winter spinach
amaranthe rouge = red amaranthus
ail (m) chinois = Chinese garlic
la boîte = box
le tournesol = sunflower 
bon = well (after all)
le sanglier = wild boar


Leave a comment and automatically enter to win today’s giveaway.  Click here.


Hidden in Paris Corine Gantz

Enter to win a copy of Corine Gantz' book Hidden in Paris. Simply leave a comment in the comments box or answer this question: Have you ever won anything? If so, what? Enter here.


 Capture plein écran 03112014 104029
"Laguiole" (with the little bee on the handle)! Did you know you can get these popular French knives at Amazon? When you purchase anything at Amazon, using the links in this newsletter or blog, you help support this free word journal. Click here.

Color therapy to lighten the mood and dog therapy to hug the heart. Did it work? 

Thanks for reading today's edition and for sharing it. Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Hidden in Paris. Click here to answer the question: Have you ever won something?

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


superb post as usual Kristin, could you put an amazon uk link in that benefits you then I'll use it all the time? Thanks, Lynne

Gerri Keating

Yes, when I was about 12, I was shopping with my mother at the local Sear's Dept. store. They were having a drawing for a spider monkey...I entered. I won! We had to call my father and the monkey got loose in while we waited for him, the monkey got loose in the store...he was running up and down the stairs...finally, we got him home. My dad built a tall cage for him, but, he was not very friendly...he would bite and would throw his fruit and food out all over the room...finally, the monkey had to go. It was quite an experience...and as I look back, a very funny episode in a 12 yr old girl's life.


I won £23 on a scratchcard in Tescos once - I squealed so much that the cashier couldn't stop laughing long enough to pay me - very dignified :/

Beth Vosoba

Yes I once entered a drawing and won a free trip to the Cayman Islands for 2! Travel has always been the best prize.

Rosalyn Barclay

Your picture of the tournesol confirmed my suspicion that I had planted dahlias (also a tuber like plant) upside down! No wonder they never bloomed. Thanks for sharing your life with so many of us.


I won a can of house paint at a hardware store when I lived in the dormitory at college.

Susan Lynch

I have not won anything in a drawing--only in a company road race when I came in second place. No lottery nor gambling for me. ;)


i won wallpaper from a hardware store years ago. how neat.. ann

Ken Scupp

Every year we attend a Kentucky Derby party where everyone chips in $1 bets. A couple of years ago, I won with a horse named- I'll have another. A friend wryly noted, I guess you just named your boat. After a career in the wine industry, it was the perfect fit. I used the winnings for the boat lettering.

AK Tam

I'm very lucky in that I've won raffles or contests often. The most notable prize was a trip to Paris for two after purchasing 3 - $1 raffle tickets in a national contest. The catch was that the trip originated in SF. So a girlfriend used her airline miles to get us to SF and I took her on the trip!

W Koehler

You know I don't think I have ever won anything. My wife and kids have but not me. No one has ever asked me this question so now thinking about it and realizing I have not won anything makes me sad. I need to start entering more contests.

Angel Constance

Dear French Word A Day <3
I have unfortunately never won anything but I LOVE PARIS & Provence. So reading and dreaming about Paris would be perfect when the rain and snow blowing outside the window.

Angel Constance

Elaine Rysner

I underwent a breast biopsy, which thank heaven was normal. Resting at home, two days later the phone rang and I was told I had won a trip for two to Hawaii. One week after the most anxiety I had ever experienced, I was on a plane to the most beautiful and serene place in the world. The contest was offered at my local Grocery Store, where on the way out I had hastily slipped my information into a slotted box, just for fun.

Gary Brand

I have occasionally won different things since I am one of those people that will call in to the radio station when prizes are offered - most often the prize is a pair of tickets to a jazz concert - which I love so much - almost as much as my laguiole knives.

Caro Feely

Thanks Kirsten for a great post. We won something at the school fete tombola last month. A case of our immediate neighbour's wine (luckily he's organic like us)... As winegrowers ourselves everyone including the head of the school giving out the prizes had a good laugh.

Jennifer Jones

Yes. In Northern California, when I was in the second grade, instead of cake walks, at our school's spring fair, we would have "produce walks", as this was the land of John Steinbeck. I fact, at the end of the new development where are home was located, there was nothing but cabbage fields.

Anyway, my sister and I entered so many produce walks, and we won every time, selecting pints of strawberries for our prizes. We won over and over and lined up row upon row of the little pints in the "way back" of our 1972 baby blue Vokvo station wagon.

My mom had to make jam, freeze them, and we had those berries wih every meal for a few months, and even on top of our strawberry ice cream.

I felt very lucky that day!.

Denise Morgan

I have won a baseball bat (I do not play baseball); a set of embroidery thread ( I do not embroider) and a set of golf clubs ( I do not play golf).
I do read a lot so a book would be a wonderful thing to win !!!! :)

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
Love the post today. I was planting alliums and crocuses yesterday. I love the jerusalem artichoke flowers. I will see if they will grow here. I plant things willy nilly around the yard and sometimes I forget what I have planted. It's fun to see where things pop up! I won $52 once from a lottery ticket. I never play, but was visiting my sister who plays weekly and I bought one with her.


I won a chocolate ice cream cake at a small local shop Gone Chocolate as part of a giveaway at our annual Christmas stroll. My granddaughters then decided they did not need supper and wanted only ice cream cake. It wasn't worth arguing about so cake it was and they were happy. It was delicious. No wonder the same shop now sells an ice cream pizza (sounds more like a meal than cake for those occasions when ice cream for dinner is a huge treat).🍭

Teresa Johnston

No, I haven't,so I rarely enter..but the book looks like a good read...


Many years ago, I think I was about 14, my family was in Chicago at Navy Pier. Playing a game there I can't remember, I won a pair of opera glasses. They came in a box and when I took them out to examine my new 'mini-binoculars', hidden under them was a five dollar bill. I was over the moon!


I am a terrible cook, but I once won a pie contest!

The other pies were magnificent, with cut-out pastry, etc., but I fooled the judges with my store-bought pie crust!

The prize was a beautifully embroidered apron. (Which I never wear!)

Aletta Penning

No.Never have been that lucky!

Lisa Sarasohn

Yes, I won in a poster contest sponsored by NOW Foundation: Love Your Body!

Linda R.

I usually buy raffle tickets - always lots of fundraisers going on in our little town. I have won two quilts, several books, a Le Creuset pan, season tickets for two to performances at Grand Street Theatre... j'ai de la chance.


At a Kentucky Derby party at a friends three years ago I won $100. I don't remember the name of the horse I bet on, probably because I just drew the name out of a hat!

Robert Dinwoodie

By deducing who committed the murder in a play put on by the inn in their restaurant , I won a night for two at North Hero House , Vermont , a truly delightful inn !

Mary D

Never, but I keep hoping. :)

Barbara Krenzer

I won a trip to Reunion Island many years ago. It was this holiday that first inspired me to learn French and I enrolled on an introductory course.Sadly I let it lapse after a year and now, 30 years later, I have rejoined a French conversation course - your entertaining emails are just the extra motivation I need!

Lacie E.

Yes, I have won something once! It was a beautiful gift basket after a very competitive game of musical chairs!!! Did I mention it was very Competitive, lol !

Nyla Witmore

The "shopping therapy coma" gave me the giggles.
Twice I have won in drawings at events...
1) In the mid 1960's the Stan Kenton Dance Band was playing at my college. One of the sponsors was a shoe company, who, during band breaks, would have a drawing and give away shoes. I won a pair of furry pink "mop" like bedroom slippers popular at the time. Felt like a clown walking around the dorm...they were that large and fluffy.
2) A museum was having an event in which my entry dropped in the hat resulted in a diamond choker neclace donated by a jeweler.
BOTH TIMES, I was the last person to drop my ticket stub in the hat.

Nina Tasi

Shortly after starting my first job after college, I won two round trip tickets on AmericanAirlines for anywhere in the US.
I promptly gave them to my parents , as a small token of thanks for giving me my college education.

Geraldine Ventura

As a wedding gift, I received a set of Revereware pots and pans. A year later, I entered a contest at a deparment store and won. Guess what the prize was? A set of Revereware pots and pans. Didn't think I needed 2 sets so I gave them to a dear aunt.

Nyla Witmore

I have a tip for anyone with an iPad type device. Download a FRENCH-ENLISH, ENGLISH-FRENCH dictionary. Then if you come to a word in an article, it is so fast to type in, either FRENCH or English to speedily get a definition and often a phonetic pronunciation...even conjugations.

I also use the "memo section" on my iPad into which I copy and paste many of the expressions Kristen uses in her blog...I keep adding and can occasionally go back to review. Love the easy quick vocabulary she includes in all her wonderful and funny stories.

Kathleen from Connecticut

Love the story today. Too bad about the artichokes.

I won a lobster dinner for two and that became the first date with my husband. I had gone to his house with another friend and found it rather stark and when he arrived at my house for the dinner he brought a perfectly laid out salad and the wine for which I asked. But when he walked in, he said " boy your place is cluttered". We have been married for 12 years now and we have meshed our ways.


Marybeth Smith

I bet two euros on a steeplechase race in March at the Bois and won!

Lydia S

i won a silhouette die cut machines and lots of yarn.

judith bryant

When I was nine, I won a ton of coal. Not my idea of much of a prize! Ticket stubs at the county fair were used for a raffle drawing that summer, and I was the only one in my gang of kids who hadn't sneaked in under the fence. My ticket was drawn -- later exchanged by the company for an equivalent amount of heating oil. Eventually, my parents let me choose my own gift when we were traveling. I carried that enormous toy donkey in my arms for weeks...and still have it.


An ezine health letter that I follow recently established a website. By signing on to the site, I was unwittingly entered into a monthly drawing to have a free cleaning service for 5 hours. Being informed that I had won a contest of which I had no knowlege was quite the pleasant surprise!


I won my husband's heart over 35 years ago. And I still have that wonderful prize.

Micki Simms

I've never won anything but I consider your website a "win" every time
it appears on my screen! And, YES! The color and dog therapy worked! Great combination. If you want to borrow my cat, he's good for hug therapy, too!

Thanks for the day-brightener. Wishing wellness to all.

xo, Micki

armando zetina

Yes, the lottery, bought my first car. I was 18

Karen Kehm

I won my husband's heart 39 years ago!

Michele Laajili

As a young foster parent I put my name in a drawing for a baby contest. I was picking up a new-born, drug addicted baby from the hospital and I wanted to buy her some new things. I bought several items, but decided to pass on the new crib set because it was an unnecessary splurge, since I already had a crib set. I had barely gotten home when I got the call that I won! The prize, the exact same crib set that I wanted for this special little girl. When I picked her up from the hospital I knew that she would be mine forever. A year later she was free for adoption and she became officially our daughter.

Helen miller

When I was 13 I won a little purple purse to match the blueberry pie-eating contest that I won. :-)

phyllis morton

I won an Oldsmobile (small) at a golf tournament. My children used it during the summer to work as lifeguards, then sold it in the fall.

Katie Beaver

I surprisingly won a French Oven by Le Creuset, cookbook included!

Tonya McNair

Wow.. I won in a drawing for Halloween decor and a small, orange cutting board for the bar with a tiny, sharp knife for cutting limes and lemons for drinks! That's about it in my adult life... :(
I love your blog.


I won concert tickets on KLOVE radio, while driving to work.


Once I won a TV and within 3 days, someone broke into my house and stole the TV :(

Virginia Kairys

Well what do you know! The 'truffle of Canada'! My husband loves these sliced, with butter and garlic.
All best wishes,
Virginia (Toronto)

Brenda B. Jones

Yes.......I won a wonderful insulated picnic tote at a cookout!

Kathi Koegle

I won a gift certificate for writing the article "Why my Dad is the best dad in the world." It was part of a Father's Day contest sponsored by a nice department store in Columbus, Ohio. My Dad bought a raincoat with the gc, and that tickled my little third-grade heart!

Ninón Flasch

Yes, I won a Green Card! Years ago there was a lottery for people born in Argentina. All you had to do was send as many applications (just w/your personal info and how many people you would be sponsoring), had to have a job in the US already, but had to have been born in Argentina. You had a window of a week and an address in Texas. A few weeks later, voila! My husband and I had won a Green Card (and later became Citizens)!


Alas, it is most sad that I have never one anything!

Trish Steen

When I was in the 6th grade, I won a box of Old Nick candy bars for selling the most magazine subscriptions in my class.
When I got them home, I hid them in my bottom drawer because my mother was a chocoholic and I knew she would eat them all if I left them in plain sight!! I savored every one of them

Betty Heycke

I was a thin pale straight haired child of about five years old (1940) when my aunt entered me in a Shirley Temple look-alike contest. We little girls marched around in a circle. The judges picked out one by one the girls LEAST resembling Shirley Temple until the one MOST resembling pudgy curly haired Shirley remained. I was the FIRST one chosen and was thus the winner of a small prize. My aunt never mentioned this great win to my mother.


A gift card to a great restaurant!

Nita Woodruff

Excellent postm, as usual, Kristin. I always look forward to your newsletters.

I won something once. I guessed how many apples were in a bushel basket of apples, and I guessed the exact number! (75)

Victoria Stone

I won a VIP weekend stay for 4 people in a charming cottage in the wine country. But it was in the same town that I live in. It turned out to be a romantic getaway away for my husband and me.

Vicky from Athens

Another great article by you! I always look forward to your posts.
Yes, I've been lucky enough to win something from time to time. It always comes as a huge but very pleasant surprise to me. Life is good!

Cathy Reilly

LOVE this post! SO full of fascinating information. Thank you for your work, Kristin!

As for winning: I won Bruce Springsteen tickets in '88, Roller Derby tix a few years back, some cool condiment dishes with a stand from a Pampered Chef lady and other things that I am not able to call to mind just now...

Stay warm and well-it is FOUR degrees here in Colorado Spring this a.m.! But OH what a lovely fall we've enjoyed here...


I won a 10 lb bag of flour.

Jeanne Vickery

Kristin! Beautiful Veteran's Day tribute! Several years ago, I won a pass for vip seating on the Champs Elysees for viewing the Tour de France!!! It was a magical afternoon - one of those misty, grey cloudy days in Paris, and just as the cyclists turned onto the Champs for their first of many laps, the sun burst from the clouds and bathed us all in warmth and sunlight! It seemed all of Paris rose up in joyous unison to clap and cheer!!! I will never forget that moment. The contest was offered by a gorgeous but sadly no longer in existence magazine - "This City Paris."

Barbara Bruell

I won two sets of foul weather gear for sailing from Helly Jansen.


Yes, I won my Mothers Gene"s and they have kept me going for the last 87 years, which allowed me to visit you several years ago and hopefully again next year. finally got back on the blog, My best to you and yours. Lou Bogue

anita burkhart

i have never won anything but that doesn't stop mr from trying...
hope springs eternal ! actually now that i think about it ...i do
win your french word a day 3 times a week. that really is a prize
to me !!!!

Deanne Tetzl

I won a new pair of Rossignol skis at a ski swap! They were my faithful companion for many ski seasons. I so enjoy your blog - thank you for the entertaining and inspiring posts.

Corrine Livingston

Yes, I won a pair of roller skates at a theatre when I was 10 years old. Love your writings a d photos!

Julene Newland-Pyfer

I loved today's column and, yes, I have won something. After dinner on our first of two cruises, my husband and I decided to play bingo in the ship's huge auditorium. We had never done this before, but thought it might be fun. After discarding several losing cards, we decided to try once more. This time, blackout bingo was on the menu. In the darkened auditorium amid a hushed crowd, number after number was called. One after one, I systematically marked off the numbers on my card. I felt amused that all of the numbers so far were on my card. My tingle of excitement grew as I filled one half, then three quarters of the numbers. And then I had all of them! I shyly raised my hand and called out, "Bingo"! In an instant the spotlight was on me alone as the bingo caller's assistant made her way to the balcony where we were sitting. She slowly counted out my $1000. prize, one dollar at a time. I left the auditorium, making a bee line to my room with a thick stack of bills that just would not fit into my evening bag. Oui! After many years I still have this impressive wad of money. It is a good luck charm, a rainy day fund and something that makes me smile whenever I chance to look at it.

Verna LABounty

I love the pictures you include with your posts. I won a collection of fabric at the final banquet of our local quilt show. As a quilter, winning fabric is as good as winning chocolate.


I recently won a merit award and People's Choice at the juried gallery show Art of the Word. My quilt memorialized the words of our daughter's beautifully written email about her gratitude towards the villagers in Africa. They were building a school hand made brick by hand made brick. She was 'satisfied, healthy and every minute was permeated with happiness". She died the next day when the bus she was no rolled.

Karen Cafarella

I won a book once about 2 years ago.

Candace Notman

I received a phone call on the eve of my daughter's seventh birthday to tell me I had won a pink girl's bicycle from the local grocery store My daughter was very pleased and surprised and so was I as I had forgotten I had even entered the contest.


I won a box of See's Candies Chocolates!

Janine Cortell

I won the Theodore Roosevelt medal for writing an essay about his life when I was in high school. I was a high school senior and I was so excited that I was able to honor this great president and be rewarded in return.

Tish Tyler

I've never won anything that I can recall!

I have read Hidden in Paris and loved the book. I was sorry when the story ended!


It was the headline not the prize that caught my attention. I do remember WWII and food stamps and more. Am reading Ronald Rosbottom's book"When Paris Went Dark" about the years 1940- 45 and beyond. It is a collective memory that needs to be remembered. Hope others will feel the same. Like you all I am a winner just to be alive.

Barbara Monajem

Jerusalem artichokes make great pickles, too. Thanks for reminding me about this lovely veg which I haven't had in ages.

Léa Forslund

An enjoyable post. Well done!

I won four bottles of local wine a few years ago at the quatorzieme juillet tombola in my village.

Linda Gage

Consolation prize for being the slowest child to hammer in a nail.

Brittany Stolle

Yes, once when I was in high school I called in to the radio station and own concert tickets. I felt pretty lucky!! Thanks for a fun giveaway. I always look forward to your posts!

Carolyn Uyemura

A bag of pancake mix in a bingo game. If I ever win anything of value I,d probably faint!


Our dear Kristi,
This is an absolutely beautiful post,and such a fitting tribute.(the book is also wondetful!)
I am happy to be able to make a comment today;for some reason last time the "comments"
wouldn't open.
What I have won in my life really isn't material,it is the love and friendship of those I admire,treasure,and who also inspire me (you!)
Thank you for the opportunity to remember this!Really puts things in perspective!
Natalia. xo

Hilary Frye

When I was 3 or 4 or 5? I found the golden egg in the village Easter Egg Hunt. The prize was a giant stuffed rabbit in a giant basket full of candy. Since my name was Bunnie, the newspaper ran the picture on the front page with the headline"Bunnie wins the Bunny". The stuffed rabbit was about as tall as I was!

anne wirth

I won a set of golf clubs at Bingo for my newly wed husband. I gave up lots of lovely kitchen stuff for something special for him. Hmmmmmmm, sounds like O'Henry's The Christmas Gift!


Robin Wyatt

So when I was 11, during the winter, my mother’s favorite radio station offered to give away a very nice radio to the first person who would come to the station in a bathing suit! Being the bright-eyed, free- spirit of a child I was (and wanting that radio!), I begged my mother to take me to the station, bathing suit ready under my warm coat. Well, I won the radio and was mostly unfazed by the publicity I probably received on air.
About Jerusalem Artichokes. Last summer at our local farmer’s market, I was introduced to these odd but curious tubers. The farmer told me they were the roots of sunflowers and they were edible and would grow sunflowers if planted. I thought of two things: I love trying new foods and sunflowers were my youngest sister’s favorite flower! I took some home, prepared a few by roasting with olive oil, sea salt and Herbs de Provence… interesting but they would not become my new “go to” root for roasting. I planted the rest and they grew fast into tall pots of lots of green and eventual small pretty yellow flowers. I had given my sister hers before mine (now relocated to a flower bed) bloomed. We were both deflated to see such small flowers for such tall, bushy plants. They also made me itch as I tried to dig them up to stop their spread, which they do quite well. Knowing what I learned from this experience, if I had it to do over, I would have passed them by at the market! Don’t worry though, you’ll win the battle to control them, it’ll just require patience, persistence and appreciation for a plant so curious and clever.

Phil Anderson

Wow . . what a deal! At age 7 my father took me to a local carnival - or was it a circus? -for my 7th birthday and on one game on April 7th I bet a dime on #7 and won a . . . baby duck! Mom was not excited about this great winning as I was and so the duck went to live with other ducks at a nearby neighbor's home where he had a duck pond in his back yard. Since then,I've won nothing.

Fran Rice

Yes I once one a $50 Gucci Gift Certificate in a drawing. I spent the whole of it on a small jewelry box which I still use when traveling. I enjoy reading your posts.

Melodee Monroe

In 1966 I won tickets to a Rolling Stones concert and admission to their press conference at the Beverly Rodeo hotel. I was 16 and so, so excited.

Wendy Arbushites

I won a prize at a "tricky tray". It was the tray that my colleagues and I assembled!

Barbara Artson

I once bought a raffle book to support a local theater group. The phone rang and when the person announced that I had won a round trip to Costa Rica complete with air fare, lodgings, food, all, I sarcastically, and repeated asked, "Yes! And what do I have to do to get?" After a few rounds of that back and forth, the person finally said, "Did you buy a raffle ticket to...?" And then I realized it was legit. And what a trip it was.

Susan Miles

Ironically, I won another fine root crop: a ten pound bag of onions at a gathering of organic farmers. Almost as good as winning sun chokes. Yes, they get out of hand very quickly, but oh! the harvest. And the sweetness

Carolyn duPont

Don't think I've ever won anything. At least nothing memorable. Bit....I was a winner when I discovered your blog. It is a ray of sunshine as I plan my trip to Provence next year. Perhaps I'll plant some sum chokes.


I don't have a green thumb but I admire those who do! Superb!


Oui, j'ai gagne quelque chose: a fireplace insert that was to conduct heat, making the fireplace much more efficient. Turned out to create an eddy current that filled the house with smoke!

Regina Henry

My late husband liked to play blackjack at casinos, so we often went to Niagara Falls for little "get always." We would sty in a lovely hotel with a view of the falls and I would swim and relax in the hot tub while he went to the casino. Sometimes I would join him at the casino to be his good luck charm, but sometimes he would give me $20 and tell me to go have a drink or a snack and stop distracting him. My "charm" did not always work! One of these times I decided to see why all these people say in front of these noisy boxes pushing buttons and pulling levers. I put my $20 dollars in a slot and then started pushing random buttons. All of a sudden and alarm went off and lights started flashing. I asked my neighbor what I had done wrong. She laughed and said I won too much for chips, to wait and a casino manager would bring me a cheque. I had won $2345.00! I couldn't wait to tell my husband, but he had moved tables and was nowhere to be found. While I waited for him to find me, I thought why not and put a dollar in the slot machine I was sitting next to. I was bored, hungry and $180 richer when my husband finally showed up. Oh did mention it was my birthday? We went out for a beautiful dinner at a restaurant overlooking the falls and spent some of my winnings on a bottle of good champagne. We continued to go for getaways and even after my big win, I continued my swims and only went to the casino to be a good luck charm until last June. My husband had died the previous July and I went to the casino as part of my grief journey. Once I was inside I remembered that I had forgotten to get some cash, but when I looked in my purse, I had exactly $20. I put it into a slot machine and stopped when I was up to $50. After a good cry, I went back to the same restaurant and had a snack and glass of wine, while I reminisced about all the years I had had with the man who won my heart.

Faye Stelly

Once, a piece of luggage, which I just gave away to my grandson who goes away to college next year!

Love this beautiful blog and the farmer's remembering some good things about WWII on this day. Thanks so much.


Yes, I have won prizes but nothing big.

Suzanne Marie Lambert

Oui, I won a pet rabbit when I was 6 yrs old.
I Love your blog and I Love France!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)