clochette a vache


My son, Max, taming les toutous.

Harvest update: Youpie* -- Charles has arrived! After a quadruple bi-pass surgery in 2007, this is his third vendange* here at Domaine Rouge-Bleu where Charles doubles as investisseur! He just can't seem to get in enough back-breaking, knee-numbing grape-picking (and he can't get in enough greasy chips in either! Don't worry, Martha, I'll see if we can get our harvesting hands on some carrot sticks for your hubby!)

apprivoiser (ah-pree-vwa-zay) verb

    : to tame, correct, discipline... to make fit for domestic life

Verb conjugation: j'apprivoise, tu apprivoises, il apprivoise, nous apprivoisons, vous apprivoisez, ils apprivoisent  => past participle = apprivoisé

Audio File and Example Sentence: Download Wave file or Download MP3

On ne connaît que les choses qu'on apprivoise.
We know only the things that we tame.

        "Le Petit Prince," by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A Day in a French Life...

Kristin Espinasse

The Taming of Les Toutous*

The puppies are now three and a half weeks old and, as of two days ago, we have found families for them all. Because we are giving the golden retrievers away it was not too difficult to find homes for them. The challenging part, from here on out, will be to tame those toutous--or les apprivoiser. We have another four to five weeks to live in harmony... or in havoc... together.

As for the training of the pups, their future owners already have plans for them...


One of the six chiots* will become a French truffle expert, trained to snuff out the most fanciful fungi! Can you tell which one of the pups is already showing potential in this field? Sniff, sniff, sniff, renifle, renifle, renifle*...


A chicken farmer claimed the second puppy, which will, dorénavant,* be in charge of the two thousand chicks that were menaced, last year alone, by sixty-eight renards* (or was that one renard and 68 attentats*?).... (No worries: the new owner assures us that the pup will mostly be in charge of playing with the children on the farm.)


Two of the puppies will déménager* to Marseilles, from where their father hails.... We do not know what kind of specialists, if any, they will become. Shall we try to devine?: Fishmonger? Policier?* Or mascot for the Marseillais Ballet? Wait a minute -- opera! -- yes, this one (center stage, below) looks as if she were practicing already.


One of the pups will move to a neighboring town to be with a family of four whose own venerable Golden just passed...

...and one of the babes -- the only one who has been named so far -- will stay with us. Can you guess its name? Here are a few hints: the prenom* is in theme with its mother's name ("Braise") and I once knew an ours* by the same name....

That's got to be our pup, there, sliding off the side of the la botte de paille.* He's a little clumsy (it's in the genes: his grandmother failed pom-pom tryout, though his Great-Grandmother Jules was a champion cheerleader!)



It's time to thank my son, Max, for helping me with this photo shoot. He had his hands full trying to keep those puppies on board (or "on botte")!

...and was all-too relieved when Maman* returned to the fold.

Note: If you have recently signed on to this word journal, then you may have missed the story about how our dog escaped in the bustling city of Marseilles with her new fiancé (the father of those puppies). It is a three-part story that animal-lovers might appreciate. (Plus, see photos of the puppies father!)


~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~
= yay; la vendange = wine, grape harvest; le toutou (m) = doggie; le chiot (m) = puppy; renifle (renifler) = sniff (to sniff); dorénavant = from now on; le renard (m) = fox; un attentat (m) = attempt to harm; déménager = to move; le policier (femme policier) = policeman (policewoman); le prenom (m) = (first) name; un ours (m) = bear; la botte (f) de paille = bale of hay; maman (f) = ma, mom




  1.  The Ultimate French Verb Review and Practice
  2.  Exercises in French Phonics
  3. French Bingo (ages 3+)
  4. Lego Eiffel Tower model stands more than 3-1/2 feet tall


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I will miss those puppy pics. This has been the best storyline ever. Please deluge us with them until their departure.
Name guess for your little one: sautee, sear, no, couldn't be boil...


Fantastic sequence of photos!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Vayia.

Sheila: good try with the cooking terms... but you have not yet found the



Bill in St. Paul

Great pictures, but I don't think I'll show them to my wife - we'd have a new Golden by the end of the weekend if I did!

Having once participated in a vendange (only for half a day, however), I know what hard, hot work it can be - I hope Charlies takes it easy and doesn't overdo it.

The only bear with a name that I can think of is "Smokey", so maybe Leslie's last guess is correct: fumée.


These photos are beautiful. There is just something special and classic about a young man and a litter of puppies. Love the opera singer, the sniffer, and M. Clumsy and pondering their future lives. Thanks for the great story.


Great pics Kristen!
Please....what is your puppie's anme?

Annette Heath

Dear Kristin, A million mercis for the beautiful pictures of the puppies and your handsome son. I think he looks like you! Do others say that? I am proud to share his birthday. The puppies are so precious and I know you will miss them when they are gone, but thank goodness you are keeping one. I'd say all the recepients are very blessed.
Annette (Ledoux)

kat of panda transport

puppies sell magazines. or blogs anyway. i have been subscribing to this one for a long while now and enjoying it but today is the first time it was obligatoire to forward it to so many. because of those floppy silky golDEns. not only is their content super, but the photos themselves are rich and gorgeous. thanks!


These pictures are great - I have a huge grin now - fantastic way to start the day - puppy love! Thank you!


Hello, I love this post. You have the most beautiful and perfect site here. Thank you so much for sharing it ... & best wishes


GLORIOUS gosh he looks like you!!

Beautiful Kristin!


On this 9/11, with many memories a swirl in my head of 8 years ago, it was a treat, and a distraction to open my email and find this entry.

The puppies are beautiful as is Max (but don't tell him I called him beautiful) and the story line is a classic.

Thank you for your wonderful photography, your beautiful way with words and your joy of sharing.



How about étincelle?


Golden puppies, jeune homme bien bronze, mountains in blue haze, red shorts and bright blue sky. Wonderful photos.


How sweet! I'm speechless.


Smokey the bear...of course, Bill! I could only think of Winnie and Yogi. But I love "etincelle" so much that I'm tempted to find us a third golden just to use the name. It just seems classier than Sparky...and French is one of Canada's official languages. Kristen, will you let us know all their names when they've been christened? The breeder of our dogs ties a different coloured ribbon around each puppy neck to distinguish them until they have homes and names. Our Mace(for the spice) was formerly known as Light Pink Girl. And just as a reassurance in advance, Jean, whose business is breeding goldens, cries when she says goodbye to every one of her puppies and their new owners.


The puppies are adorable!!!


It is just a pleasure to see this pictures! Gracias Kristin!


I simply find these puppies irresistable, those faces, the paws, the bellies, OMG. Is yours going to be Fraise? They are way too adorable each one with a profession.

Have a great weekend Kristin!



Hmm, the only bear I can think of is Cannelle, but I don't really see what that has to do with Braise.. Still thinking.

Marianne Rankin

Too bad you are so far away, or I would be tempted to adopt one of the puppies. Great shots of them!

I was glad to see Max in one of the pictures. Do you think sometime you can post a photo of the whole family?

I came up with a short tongue-twister in honor of the pups:

Les toutous sont tous tres trognons.


How about "Corduroy?" He's enchanted children and adults with his sweet disposition for many years. Your little fella who can't seem to stay on "la botte de paille" seems a perfect Corduroy.

Shandy Burton

They are so cute!! :) Beautiful photos Kristin!


Comme c'est charmant, l'histoire de tes chiots!

Je devine que le chiot qui restera chez vous s'appelle Fumee. C'est vrai?


Amazing photos! So fun to try to pick out young puppies' personalities. Thank you for the post and pictures!

nadine goodban




Hi Kristi, Happy Friday!! My vote is for "Brulee"
See you Sunday!


Adorable pupppies. I bet you didn't have trouble finding homes if you are giving them away. A friend at home in England breeds labs and her pups fetch a lot of money -- of course you have to deduct stud fees and Kennel Club registration, but even so it took my breath away what people will pay for a puppy. I hope the recipients of your pups know how lucky they are.

And did I say the puppies are adorable?


Bonjour Kristin - great photos - wonderfully done story line, too!!! I think you need to tell us your puppy's name MAINTENANT!! I do like Brulée!!!


"Apprivoiser"...mmmm...I think this is what is happening with my husband today..."to make fit for domestic life".
He went to a Men Only Cooking Course on Wednesday night ( a Fathers Day present) and has declared he is going to cook a Moroccan Chicken Tangine for friends tonight. I was given the shopping list this morning ( it was a cooking class not shopping class and he was mending something in the garage...;-)) and after nearly a small fortune later due to a number of exotic ingredients not normally bought and having to now prepare a Lemon Mascapone Cheesecake dessert (we have guests) I am now going to go onto my usual tasks about the house. My newly "domesticated" chef husband is lying on the couch studiously pouring over The that snoring I hear....?


oops.."Tagine" that is!!


Leslie, Christine, Bill, and Bev: You have correctly guessed: "Smokey" it is! We'll use the English, and not the French (Fumée).

While on vacation, the kids met another golden retriever named Smokey. The owner was a fire fighter :-)

Gretel: Loved your story! Bon appétit.

Passante: RE giving the puppies away, I should note that we are asking to be reimbursed for the vaccinations / vet fees ... which shouldn't cost too much (we hope to get a "group of 6" special :-)

Marianne: great tongue-twister!

Mona: "Fraise" -- I love it: Braise et Fraise...

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words.

Bill en Libye

Awesome pix of les chiots! milles mercis.
Une petite corrigement: Cest'une botte de paille, pas de foin. en english a bale of straw, rather than hay (of course your French is correct). From an old farm boy who used to load these hundred pound critters (les bottes) by hand onto the truck for shipping in the hot summer sun. BTW, will be in Paris 19-25 septembre and looking for where to buy Domaine Rouge Bleu? Síl vous plait?

Teresa Engebretsen

Bonjour, Kristin!
My French word of the day in my 7th grade class on Thursday was apprivoiser (without knowing it was yours!) because my students read The Little Prince as their summer reading book. I couldn't resist putting the scene between the Little Prince and the Renard on the board in French. It is so great. On Monday I will show them this and they will fall totally in love with Max and the puppies. Want some 7th grade female penapals, Max???

Carol Folino

Love the pics of Max and the puppies!!!

Christine Dashper

Love these pics Kristin, what a Joy!! I am glad you are keep one, how could you not..



Sooooo cute! And so is your boy! :-) God bless those pups, wherever they go.

Pat Cargill

Fantastic pictures and story, Kristin. Keep the puppy (et Max, aussi!)pics coming until they depart for their special assignments! They are adorable. Bonne chance w/the next few busy weeks de la vendange!


Solid golden photos!!! Everyone including me, loves golden puppies.

Luvena Lim

Hi Kristin, merci for sharing these beautiful and stunning photos of golden retriever puppies! I especially enjoy the one with *Maman in it. Would it be possible to share these photos of my photoblog with attributes back to you? I already have a small collection of golden retriever puppies pictures at Would love to include these too. Do email me and let me know. Thanks Kristin!

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