Rasteau old French vine trunk feuilles vignes vineyard
No, these are not nids-de-poules, just overgrown pebbles. Given the choice between featuring an unsightly pothole... and a scenic paysage,  well -- the latter won out!

What do you call a French linguist get-together in which idioms and & expressions flow like beer... and take on a bit of farmyard flair?

Answer (hint: say it with a French accent):  l'Animal House  (lah-nee-mal hoos)

OK, so much for a corny joke and a bad rhyme) but, you know what they say: it is good to go out on a limb once in a while, shake things up, watch feathers fly!

Speaking of limbs, or branches--those popular hangout hubs for our feathered friends--enjoy today's bird-themed expression: le nid-de-poule.  And, for those of you who enjoy the educational comments that come in, following these posts, you'll appreciate "Newforest's" latest offering: "Petite Parenthèse (Digression) sur les Cris des Animaux en Français" (don't miss this list of French animal sounds.)

And, regarding comments... earlier I hinted that when language-lovers get together they really know how to party! Here's a case in point: after the most recent post, in which we learned about those rowdy, often raunchy chansons paillardes... many of us hung around--virtually, in the comments box--singing beer songs into the wee hours of the morning. Come to think of it... maybe that was a one-woman party after all? Anyway, I did enjoy singing this French favorite, no matter how off-key:

Lève ton verre
Et surtout ne le renverse pas

Et porte le
Au frontibus
Au nasibus
Au mentibus
Au ventribus
Au sexibus
Et glou, et glou, et glou...

Il (elle) est des nôtres
Il (elle) a bu son verre comme les autres
C'est un (une) ivrogne,
Ça se voit rien qu'à sa trogne.


And now, after what may be the longest digression in the editorial history of French Word-A-Day, I present today's word and story, by my soon-to-be 14-year-old son, Max:

nid-de-poule (nee-deuh-pool) noun, masculine
    : pothole
    : kind of dessert

nid (nest) de (of) poule (chicken)

French definition
: un trou dans une chaussée défoncée
(a hole in a  worn, damaged road).

Audio file: (some rug rat stole my microphone so there'll be no sound clip today...)

Les Nids-de-poule
par Maxime Espinasse

Dans mon allée pour aller jusqu'à chez moi, il y a plein de nids de poule. Un jour j'ai eu l'idée de les boucher. Figurez-vous que le 3ème nid de poule était occupé justement par une poule. BIZARRE!

J'ai essayé de faire partir la poule. Impossible. Alors je l'ai enlevé et il y avait des œufs en dessous d'elle! Je les ai deplacés mais, tout à coup, le coq arriva! Et c'est à cause de ça que j'ai laissé tomber le projet.


English translation:
In my driveway, on the way to my house, there are lots of potholes [or, what we call in French, "chickens' nests"]. One day, I had the idea of patching them up. And wouldn't you know that the 3rd "chicken's nest" was occupied, accordingly, by a chicken! BIZARRE!

I tried to make the chicken leave. Impossible. And so I took it out ... and saw that there were eggs beneath her! I moved them but, all of a sudden, the rooster arrived! And this is why I gave up on the project.

I hope you enjoyed my son's fictional, somewhat surreal, story! If so, why not let him know in the comments box? To read his last story, about the toads that live--once lived--in our pool... click here.

One more thing... What does a nid-de-poule ("chicken's nest") have in common with a dos d'âne ("donkey's back")? Aha! Give us your answer in today's comments box (and thanks, Jed, for the term dos-d'âne!)


French vineyard horse cheval  tatted handmade fly mask
Sneak peek at Saturday's photo bouquet, coming soon

Three Random Words:
le mal du pays = homesickness
le juron (m) = swearword => dire des jurons = to swear
le taulard, la taularde = convict, con

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