30 May 2009

Pas sage ?

We were out until midnight last night. And when I say "out," I mean outdoors, sitting around a table at our friends' house, way past our usual bedtime. So I'm tired today because I wasn't
« sage » yesterday. Sage, pronounced [sahzh], means wise, well-behaved, reasonable, in French.

In English, "sage" is a plant. We have some in our back yard. We started with one bush in 2003. We rooted two branches off that bush and now we have three. And earlier this spring, we transplanted the two new sage bushes we created to regroup them with the parent plant.

Three sage bushes in flower in the yard

Sage in French is called « sauge », which is pronounced [sohzh]. That [zh] sound is very common in French, whether at the beginning of a word like « je », in the middle in a word like
« juger », or at the end in a word like « page ». In English, it occurs only in the middle of a few words, including "measure", "pleasure", and "treasure".

A bee on the sage flowers

Our sage is in flower right now, and if I remember correctly it will flower all summer. It attracts a lot of bees and butterflies. We are surprised that the two sage bushes we transplanted back in March or April even flowered this year. Sage is a very hardy plant. It's leaves give good flavor to chicken, turkey, rabbit, or pork.

Look at this amazing insect.
I didn't whether to admire it or fear it.


  1. For music lovers, there is an aria for barytone, "Légende de la Sauge" in le Jongleur de Notre-Dame by Jules Massenet.

  2. No need to fear the beautiful creature. It's a perfectly harmless 5-spot Burnet moth Zygaena trifolii (la Zygène du trèfle in French).

  3. I'm afraid Susan is wrong this time.

    You have good reason to fear this unholy creature, the Darth Vader Beetle, Forcecum Vobiscum.

    Often seen in the vicinity of the Chinese Komodo Dragon Flower, these deadly species compete for the same food source; people, dogs, hedgehogs. etc.

    Upon spotting likely prey, they unleash "The Force" which renders the vicim comatose while they leisurely consume their dinner.

    They pick victims based upon the vinyard which they inhabit; a goose for a rich Gamay or perhaps a chicken for a Sauvignon Blanc.

    You should immediately report your sighting to the "local authorities" so that they can take appropriate action.

    In the meantime, just stay calm and remain indoors.


  4. There are a lot of smashed bugs on our car's windshield here in Idaho Falls. I don't think they are the Darth Vader sort, but they could be a distant cousin known as Voldemort. The Voldemorts attack the potatoes which are just sprouting in the beautiful Idaho fields.

    Susan, I'm glad you know the French names as well as the English ones. Zygène sounds so nice.

  5. Bill, thanks for confirming my suspicions. The resemblance to Darth Vader was just too striking.

    Sorry to report that we are having the most perfect weather we can expect here in Saint-Aignan. Against my better instincts, I must venture outdoors to brave the danger.

    If I don't post anything this coming week, you'll know why. Alert our neighbor the mayor, in case she doesn't notice our disappearance.

  6. Ken,
    Its Leon here. Can I suggest that all languages have alternative meanings to different words.
    Let's look at the word in your blog "rooted". When I was in the US as a racing cyclist in 79, my colleagues rooted for my success.
    In OZ land it means being very tired and that is what Sue and I are, having just arrived while sitting in our leafy garden at our very noyce Paris apartment at this moment.
    Just a quick hello and thankyou for your kind hospitality on our visit.
    Leon and Sue

  7. Those Zygenes are going to be furious that Bill has seen through their clever disguise. You guys had all better be veeeery careful.


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