Since becoming winemaker and majority owner, along with Thomas Bertrand, of Domaine Rouge-Bleu, Caroline Jones has few free moments. Yet, she took time out during her busy first bottling last week, to put together a caring package for a friend. Read on, in today's missive.
Question: How to say "care package" in French?
Answer: I'm not exactly sure—but here are some ideas!:
- un colis suprise
- une trousse de soins
- un paquet de soins
Now for ideas about what to put into un colis surprise? How about something sweet, something nostalgic, and something healing? (see examples in today's story, meantime, share some care package essentials with us here. I would love some creative ideas for what to include inside un paquet de soins. Do you have any good ideas about whom to give une trousse de soins to? Soldats and étudiants often receive them, but I loved this blogger's idea about who to make up one for: give a care package to a homeless person.
Rien ne dit à domicile aux militaires déployés comme un paquet de soins. Nothing says home, to deployed military, like a care package. (Note: example sentence, in French, taken from here).
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
"What happened to the shepherd?" Jean-Marc asked, after walking the dogs Saturday morning.
I'd been wondering the same thing. Though I hadn't seen the punk rock berger lately, I had heard him, on Friday morning, somewhere in the bleating distance....
I was typing up the brebis story, struggling to meet a self-imposed deadline, when I heard the sheep, bells-a-clanking. I also heard a host of curious code words and whistles, as the shepherd steered his flock. A nagging dilemma arose: finish my story on time... or follow the bleating cue and get up and go meet the shepherd to find out about the bells, whistles and more!
"In a year it won't matter whether you posted a story or not!" I debated, as I pecked at the keyboard, grasping for le mot juste...
"I don't know... " I answered Jean-Marc, feeling a wave of regret for missing a second chance to deliver the shepherd his gâteau. And now the berger was gone.... and he never got his slice of homemade chocolate cake (worse, I ate it, along with the rest of the cake in the pan—and all the crumbs too!)
The cake may have disappeared, but the intention had been there all along.... even as I typed the last words of the story:
Little did the berger know—and little do we all know—that out there, somewhere, someone is trying to comfort us without our even knowing.
I still believed those words, which were quietly intended to comfort readers. Typing them filled me with hope, too, and I couldn't help wondering whether someone, somewhere, might even be trying to comfort me, just as the shepherd's cake had?
In the kitchen I was pressing and pinching the bottom of a Bundt pan, forming the remaining crumbs into cake balls and transfering them, sheepishly, into my mouth. Meantime another ball, of anxiety, was stuck in my throat. Apart from the berger, there were other souci, the kind that are difficult to put your finger on. How much easier it was to put a finger on a cake crumb!
"Caroline sent this back for you," Jean-Marc mentioned, as he returned home from Domaine Rouge-Bleu, where he had been helping the new owners with their first wine bottling.
Something sent back? For me?!
Jean-Marc handed me the colis, then went about the business lighting the fire, which had gone out when he left the day before.
I peered inside the boîte and saw two potted plants....
How thoughtful of her! I remembered telling Caroline, when she and Thomas bought the vineyard, that there were some medicinal plants in the garden. They were given to me, as ornamental plants, by the Dirt Divas; later on, I was excited to learn that the plant, euphorbia peplus, had healing properties. Coincidentally, is used to treat skin cancer!
When Caroline moved to Domaine Rouge-Bleu she said she would be happy to dig up the plants for me, but she cautioned me about self-medicating, "Please be careful. This is a toxic plant!"
I heeded Caroline's precaution, planting the euphorbia in our new garden as it was intended (as an ornamental... but one I will keep researching just in case...); each time I pass by the plant, it reminds me of the Dirt Divas and of Caroline, too. Regarding the extra plants Caroline sent back in her care package, she noted:
"I found these bigger ones amongst the vines when I was pruning. They look a bit winter-hardy, not sure if they'll grow well but thought it worth a shot!"
From her words, it was clear Caroline would keep researching too!
Wiping tears from my eyes, I peered back into the box and discovered a bottle of olive oil. Caroline and Thomas's first press! As I studied the bottle, thinking about picking those same trees with Jean-Marc, the tears were replaced with chokes of laughter on reading Caroline's tip:
Go easy with the olive oil - it's not filtered so quite peppery (nearly choked to death when we first tried it - but it has softened with age).
The cloudy olive oil was just what I had been searching for, ever since learning that the fresh press (when it's still cloudy) contains the most health benefits. No worries about the peppery taste. I could handle the healthy punch!
The tender nostalgia continued... the presents too! I pulled out this one next, handmade by Caroline from the corks of Jean-Marc's wine. I quickly hung the treasured souvenir on the wall of the cozy entry, stopping to admire the stylish handiwork of the winemaker-crafter.
I thought about how hard Caroline and Thomas have worked since moving to our former vineyard--and all the improvements they have made in less than five months.
They've gone through the whirlwind harvest (the pictures hint at the busy and joyful time), they have continued to renovate the farmhouse, to plant a vegetable garden--they have even completed their first bottling!--and they have designed a new and knock-down-delightful label (Do you like it? Be sure to let Caroline and Thomas know your thoughts about it, in the comments box!)
Caroline and Thomas, toasting to our new adventure, here at Mas des Brun.
In spite of all the hustle and bustle--including the recent wine bottling (indeed, as I type this, Caroline is finishing up the last of the mise-en-bouteille today!), this busy winemaker took the time to put together a thoughtful package, un colis de soins, for a friend.
Yes, of course, someone, somewhere, is trying to comfort us without our even knowing. And while I was anxiously pressing the cake tin, gathering the very last crumb, someone, at the same time, in a different place, was busy filling an old wine box with a thoughtful thing or two--for me... and why not for you?
If you enjoyed this story then it's safe to say that the thoughtful package touched and comforted us all! To comment on today's story, click here.
le mot juste = just the right word
le souci = worry
le gâteau = cake
le colis = package
la boîte = box
la mise-en-bouteille = wine bottling
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have enjoyed more than a little vocabulary here today and are looking forward to the next post, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."--Jacqueline