Weekend Update: Getting My French Fix & More

My Stylish French Box for May 2020, "Fleurs & Romance." Details at une femme d'un certain age.

You can probably tell just from the name of this blog that I have a special affinity for All Things French. 😉 We’ve been visiting France 🇫🇷 annually (sometimes more often) since 2007. With travel on hold at the moment, I’ve really been missing France and I hope to get back next year. But in the meantime, the May “My Stylish French Box” (gifted) was just the pick-me-up I needed.

“My Stylish French Box” is a subscription box filled with uniquely French items for you and your home. Sharon Santoni of My French Country Home personally selects the items for each box, and works with French brands and artisans to bring a little bit of France to you. I think every one of these boxes is exquisite, but this May box was probably my favorite one yet.

Some of the treasures in the May “Fleurs & Romance” box include:

Uniquely French gifts from My Stylish French Box. Details at une femme d'un certain age.
  • an upcycled wine bottle vase from Q’ de bouteilles
  • rose scented palettes from Carriere Freres for drawers or to hang in the bathroom
  • a gorgeous gossamer silk-blend scarf from Petrusse, perfect to drape over your shoulders on cool evenings (or air-conditioned interiors)
  • a natural pollen facial scrub from Apicia
  • a lovely daffodil painting by Pierre Yves Bonnot
  • unique pearl drop earrings from Gisel B
  • espresso cups from Sophie Masson embossed with “toujours” and “amour”
  • an antique book
Rose scented palettes and Apicia natural facial scrub. Details at une femme d'un certain age.
French gifts: scarf from Petrusse, pearl earrings from Gisel B. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Orders are open now for the next My Stylish French Box, which will be shipped in August. The theme will be “Dinner With Friends,” something we are all looking forward to, I think. These boxes make excellent gifts, too!

Inside My French Country Home Magazine. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

And be sure to check out My French Country Home Magazine, which is loaded with gorgeous photos, recipes, French lifestyle and travel tips. (My friend Tish Jett will have a column in the next issue!) It’s available in both print and digital versions.

Meet Pip

Baby hummingbird chick recovering from mites. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

That’s what I’ve started calling him, anyway. I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had a second hummingbird nest in the works on our back patio. Things were going along well: two chicks had hatched and seemed to be growing rapidly.

On Sunday, we noticed the larger chick trying to fly, and mama hovering around, seemingly to give encouragement. But the chick never left the nest. Then on Monday, we noticed the smaller of the two clinging to the outside of the nest, probably pushed out by the larger one. We didn’t want to disturb it, but that evening we found it on the ground. It was alive, but seemed to be sickly.

I called a local hummingbird rescue organization to see if they could help. The woman I spoke with told me that sadly, almost all of the current chicks were experiencing a terrible mite infestation, and most were not surviving. She said the smaller fallen chick was probably the male (which hatch later than the females). She suggested I put him in a shoebox lid lined with paper towel, and put him on a ladder or shelf under the nest. Apparently he’s better off out of the nest, as that’s the source of infestation.

The mama found him not long after and started feeding him again! To treat the mites, the rescue person told me to apply diatomaceous earth* all over him (avoiding the eyes) with a Qtip. And she said I can give him drops of sugar water every few hours to help build up his strength again. (He laps it off the tip of a spoon with the tiniest little tongue you’ve ever seen!)

Four days later, he’s still with us, has perked up considerably, and I think he’s grown a little. He’s not out of the woods yet, but mama bird is still watching over him and feeding him. At least he has a slightly better chance, I hope. (Sadly, his big sister didn’t make it. I think she kept trying to fly but was too weak from the mites, fell to the ground and badly injured herself.)

*so of course, not having a pool, we had no diatomaceous earth on hand. Le Monsieur ran out to the nearest open hardware store and came back with this 😆…

Diatomaceous earth for pool filters and treating hummingbird mites.

…a 25 lb. box, which was the smallest one they had. Fortunately his uncle has a pool and can use it.

A quick heads-up…Eileen Fisher has 20% off everything this weekend!

So how’s your week been?

Bon weekend!

Stay in touch.

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40 Comments

  1. Kelly
    June 13, 2020 / 4:22 am

    How sweet of you to take care of your little hummingbird. I love that your husband bought the 25 lb box of diatomaceous! You both have really big hearts. ❤️

  2. Sally
    June 13, 2020 / 4:37 am

    Wow, how heartening to hear this lovely story. God bless you both for taking such care of the little bird. That has cheered me up no end xx

    • Cheryl
      June 13, 2020 / 9:20 am

      I was advised to put “food grade” diatomaceous earth on my basil plants, that were getting destroyed by slugs. You can buy it in much smaller sizes than 25lbs. from Home Depot or any gardening store. Or order online. As info.
      And thank you for the updates on your hummingbirds. We have a family of cardinals nesting in the corkscrew willow tree, just our kitchen window. So much fun to watch mama and papa take care of the babies. It’s wonderful that your good care is helping that little guy along. ❤️

  3. Diane Buchanan
    June 13, 2020 / 4:42 am

    Thanks for the info on how to help the hummingbirds. Fingers and toes crossed that Pip makes it. Glad to hear mom was willing to take him back and kudos to your husband for getting out right away.
    The box for May looks so fun and romantic, and I do love the magazine.

  4. Marzia
    June 13, 2020 / 5:07 am

    Forza Pip! From Italy we send you our encouragement! Good luck!

  5. Karen
    June 13, 2020 / 5:28 am

    Thank you, you’ve made me smile, something that has been lacking these past few weeks

  6. Lagatta de Montréal
    June 13, 2020 / 5:38 am

    Good luck with your wee birdie. The fact that mama is feeding him is a good sign. But please don’t feel guilty if he doesn’t make it. Bird rescule is tricky.

    Petrusse is beautiful – look at their “art” collection. Love the Sonia Delaunay! Also the “Vienna” in red.

    https://petrusse.com/collections/art

  7. Ellen
    June 13, 2020 / 6:04 am

    I love that he bought that humongous box of diatomaceous earth! That’s exactly what we would do. We have had a turtle dig three nests in our gravel path and of course I had to order wire baskets to put over them to keep predators out. Now we have to hop over this little obstacle course to get by. Apparently painted turtles have an incubation period of about 72 days, so it will be early August before we see if her (and our) efforts are successful. My fingers are crossed for Pip…but I echo what Lagatta said. Nature can be very tough.

  8. Lee
    June 13, 2020 / 6:17 am

    That’s wonderful that you are helping Pip. Our world needs more caring for each other big & small.

  9. June 13, 2020 / 6:26 am

    I loved reading about Pip on Instagram, and so glad you shared it here. My daughter is doing the same at this exact moment. I hope they both make it….xo

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 13, 2020 / 6:28 am

      Fingers and toes crossed for both chicks!

  10. Sally
    June 13, 2020 / 6:36 am

    Susan that is so cool that the mama hummingbird is still there feeding him too! I’m in awe that you’re able to feed him and care for him the way you too. Wonderful!

  11. Avicenna
    June 13, 2020 / 6:55 am

    Pip, Pip, Hurray!

  12. Kat
    June 13, 2020 / 7:02 am

    Oh my goodness! Thank you for sharing. Fingers crossed for Pip!

  13. Becki
    June 13, 2020 / 7:07 am

    I’m cheering for the Pip-squeak!!

  14. Leslie
    June 13, 2020 / 7:34 am

    Your review of The Box but it’s the continuing love you give Pip that makes my heart sing. We need to save our bird populations. Thank you!!

  15. Ainsivalavie
    June 13, 2020 / 7:38 am

    Looking at the paper towel he is enthroned on I am guessing little Pip is the size of the tip of my finger! How amazing that the young fellow survived his fall. If sister succumbed to the mites in the next he might well stand a better chance outside of it. With his Maman & et sa Marraine Susan ( et son Parrain le Monsieur) providing support, here’s hoping he’ll fledge soon, healthy and strong.
    Your box looks so pretty, I must find that magazine…what a lovely way to spend a cool, rainy June afternoon.

  16. Elizabeth Hall
    June 13, 2020 / 7:47 am

    Go Pip, Go!
    25 pound bag!!!!

  17. Alexis I
    June 13, 2020 / 7:57 am

    I absolutely love, love, love your hummingbird story, you are so kind! I’ll tuck the knowledge about the mites and diatomaceous earth away in case I ever need it.

  18. Meg
    June 13, 2020 / 7:58 am

    Congrats on being such a life saver for poor little Pip! And when he’s grown and flown, you can always use the Diatomaceous earth to repel slugs from plants. Just sprinkle around the base of the plant and slugs feel as though they are walking on broken glass.

  19. Florence
    June 13, 2020 / 8:43 am

    Before you donate your large box of DE, you might want to sprinkle a bit of the diatomaceous earth around your yard as it’s a natural way to kill fleas. It dries out their carapace.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 13, 2020 / 8:46 am

      Good to know, thanks!

  20. June 13, 2020 / 8:49 am

    The box is lovely but wouldn’t be anything for me. Most of the things (if not all) I wouldn’t have bought myself if I had seen them in the shop. But to receive such a box as a gift might be nice.
    And Pip… so nice that you rescued him. Ron rescued a little bird that the cat dragged in. It wasn’t hurt (which surprised me) and Ron caught it, put it high up in a hedge and we kept the cat inside for a day.
    Plus he rescued another bird as he was out walking with Watson. The dog fortunately was still on the leash.
    Let’s hope Pip survives.
    Greetje

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      June 13, 2020 / 6:13 pm

      I’m glad to hear about the birds who have escaped our faithful little carnivores. The things in the box are too delicate and ladylike for me – that isn’t a criticism, also Susan lives in a very different climate. Dutch day today – didn’t rise over 15c or so though usually it is much warmer here now (and much colder in the winter). But if you peruse the petrusse website you might well find things that appeal to you more.

  21. June 13, 2020 / 11:13 am

    Oh what a lovely story about the chick. I hoe with all my heart he survives! What you have with France, we have with the UK. This is the first year in 20 years that we probably won’t visit! I feel homesick. Have a good weekend!

  22. Carol
    June 13, 2020 / 11:17 am

    Thanks for the EF tip! I’ve had a Renew card burning a hole in my wallet, so I bought white jeans and a t-shirt! For Portugal, for whenever I get there.

    • June 13, 2020 / 11:52 am

      I love this hummingbird rescue story!
      Somewhat connected. . . we’ve been puzzled, and at first a bit amused, a bit irritated, to see some of the resident English/house sparrows tugging at lavender leaves and then flying off with them. As that seems an unlikely menu item for them, I did a bit of research, and apparently various species of birds (blue tits in the UK, starlings) use the lavender in their nests for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal properties. Not sure how effective it would be against the mites ,but if those hummingbirds only knew — they’re in the right place for lavender 😉

  23. Ann
    June 13, 2020 / 11:58 am

    I’m rooting for Pip!! Thank you for this story, it is heartwarming❤️ So nice for you to get a little bit of France delivered to your door. The scarf is beautiful! Take care

  24. Kay
    June 13, 2020 / 12:28 pm

    My (semi) annual trip to visit the in-laws in France was of course cancelled, as was theirs to come here. We Facetime. France has been much more strict about shutting down than we have. The only member who can leave the house regularly is my niece, the doctor. Fortunately, they live in the country, so the kids can run wild. It must be terrible for those kids in apartments in the cities like Paris or Lyon. I’m thinking we might stop in Lyon next visit because we haven’t been there for years and because I want to eat! Lyonaisse cuisine is the best.

  25. Linda Simpson
    June 13, 2020 / 12:40 pm

    Thank you for the heartwarming story of Pip. With your loving care, I expect that he will be fine in no time.

  26. RoseAG
    June 13, 2020 / 1:24 pm

    Don’t give it all away. You never know, Mama may return next year and you’ll need it again.

  27. Angela in NZ
    June 13, 2020 / 1:46 pm

    How fortunate that your French box had a scarf to suit a Spring palette, albeit quite muted.
    Just wondering, are your home interiors your palette or is Monsieur a Cool?
    We’re very fortunate to be a Winter and a Summer so our interior reflects that but our garden is much more eclectic.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 13, 2020 / 2:03 pm

      Other than our bed linens and some artwork, our home decor is mostly neutral (taupe, beige). Some of our furniture was inherited from family, and we’ve just never replaced it. I’d love to redecorate, but that’s a tough sell right now. 😉

  28. Pam Tipton
    June 13, 2020 / 6:30 pm

    Susan, do you follow Paris Adele on Facebook? Her photography is wonderful …. and she has such great suggestions and backgrounds.

  29. Janet D.
    June 13, 2020 / 8:55 pm

    My gosh, your success with Pip is astounding — what a tiny wee thing he is! And your husband & mine must have been separated at birth because that is EXACTLY what mine would do in the same situation. As others have said, you can get small shaker containers of diatom. earth at any plant nursery or hardware store; it’s great for getting rid of aphids on your houseplants or in the garden & can even be used in a dog or cat bed as a natural flea remedy. I’ve been threatening to get myself a subscription to the French gift boxes for 2 years now & haven’t done it yet. Maybe I’ll give my husband a very broad hint for my birthday (his usual gift — a romantic 4-day getaway special at a decadently luxurious resort up the coast we’ve been going to for a few years — is out this year, thanks to Covid). I figure anything I didn’t use myself (not much this time, except maybe the earrings as I don’t wear gold) would make a great gift for someone else. Thanks for a great feel-good post, btw. You made me laugh & Pip’s story is inspiring & hopeful & I loved going through your gift box with you & enjoying it vicariously 🙂

  30. Rondi
    June 13, 2020 / 11:58 pm

    Pip is precious.

  31. stephanie
    June 14, 2020 / 6:43 am

    I lost four baby birds this year. They just vanished as did their mum. We live in the mountains among large hawks, eagles, raccoons and snakes so figure something took them in the night. It broke my heart. Needless to say it is heartening to see your wee guy and your love and care for him. Best of luck Sue!

    Love the subscription box! There are always such beautiful offerings inside. Sadly it is out of my price range though.

  32. Blyma Wolpin
    June 15, 2020 / 7:55 am

    Pip! Also, diatomaceous earth is great for getting rid of ants that make their way inside….just find the source and create a barrier. (sp?)

  33. E E Deere
    June 15, 2020 / 2:11 pm

    Pip. Adorable. Keep us informed!

  34. June 16, 2020 / 7:43 am

    Pip is one lucky little bird to have you watching over him. I hope he survives and comes back next year to create a nest in your tree with his family. You’re good people, Susan.

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