The sign says "Products from the beehive". Picture taken in Serre Chevalier.

The Ultimate French Review and Practice: Mastering French Grammar for Confident Communication

abeille (ah-bay) noun, feminine

La diligente abeille n'a pas de temps pour la tristesse.
The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
--William Blake

Thank heavens the vines are abuzz once again! And, no, it isn't the grape pickers that are causing so much commotion--but the honey harvesters. That's right--the bees are back!

When the "girls" jumped ship two months ago, leaving their hive as hollow as a hull, I gave Jean-Marc a verbal thump on the side of the head. "Qu'est-ce qui s'est passé?!"* I cried from the other end of the telephone line.* Jean-Marc wasn't sure what happened, but I had a hunch:

Juggling happened. Newly acquired vines (and the tending of them), renovation, moving homes, bees... too many ballons* in the air and one fell. Make that *flew* for everyone knows that bees don't jump ship.

But beekeepers do, or can, or can do if they don't get their act together! No use getting mad, besides--every jongleur* deserves a second chance...

And so it was that, still smarting from that thump, or verbal "bee bop" alongside the head, my jongleur/husband raced right out, empty beehive in hand, and found his queen another colony--this, after much negotiation at the bee brokers (or would-bee brokers. The bee boutique in question doesn't officially sell bees but, faced with one head-thumped and hiveless husband, they quickly changed their pollinator policy.)

The bee homecoming (new bees, old home) was grand and included all the pomp and circumstance of a Provençal parade. (The "pomp" being Jean-Marc's Gallic march down to the blackberry capped creek....followed by an ear-shattering scream I heard out in the field...


...the "circumstance" being a footloose vine and one fallen Frenchman, the latter having tripped over the former, beehive in hands and 60,000 "girls" strong...


Meanwhile, clueless from the balcony and admiring the full moon above, the shriek caused my eye to wander from the moon and catch on an erratic movement below. Next, I saw a streak across the horizon and could have sworn it was a shooting star disguised in a bee suit. Those silly stars.

                                      *     *     *

Post note: our "juggler" succeeded in placing the beehive on its stone platform beside the creek, beneath the shimmer of stars above. But he's up to his old tricks again, with yet another ball in the air (French Wine Label Design). Check out his progress in the "Vineyard Update" at the end of this edition.

References: qu'est-ce qui s'est passé = what happened; the other end of the telephone line = the kids & I were still living in Les Arcs, Jean-Marc had already moved north to begin pruning season; le ballon (m) = ball; le jongleur (la jongleuse) = juggler; merde! = sh--!

     => Dont miss "A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them"
     => Langstroth's Hive and the Honey-Bee: The Classic Beekeeper's Manual
:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word & quote:
Abeille. La diligente abeille n'a pas de temps pour la tristesse.

MP3 file: Download abeille.mp3
Wave file: Download abeille.wav

Don't be caught in customs without it: Burt's Bees Head To Toe Starter Kit
Orange blossom honey from Provence
In Music: "Vive la France" by Jazz great Sidney Bechet including "Petite Fleur" "Moustache Gauloise" "Dans Les Rues D'Antibes"

Terms & Expressions:
  une abeille maçonne = mason bee
  une abeille tueuse = killer bee
  une piqûre d'abeille = bee sting

English Terms & their French Equivalents:
  to have a bee in one's bonnet =avoir une idée fixe
  it's the bee's knees = c'est chouette! c'est extra!
  bee eater (bird) = un guêpier

:: Vineyard Update ::
Thanks to a flurry of feedback from "The Wine Label Poll" Jean-Marc has come up with a new prototype that he will enter into our October 1st contest. Check out his latest here.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety