clochette a vache
terroir

attente

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The harvest: Phase Two and Grape Expections in today's story column.

attente (ah-tahnt) noun, feminine

    : expectation

"Attente" has other meanings and expressions... Help add to the definition by listing them in the comments box.

contre toute attente = contrary to all expectations
répondre à l'attente de = to live up to someone's expectations


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Dans son souci de répondre à l'attente des visiteurs, elle a bien balayé devant sa porte.... mais le vent s'est levé et les feuilles sont rentrées.

(Help translate this sentence in the comments box. Merci d'avance!)

 

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

The following story is for my mom, Jules. We all miss you at this year's harvest. Love, Kristi

Grape Expectations

I can't help wondering what everybody is thinking. By now, all of our volunteer harvesters have arrived, en direct from Amérique!* And they are all here, directly or indirectly, as a result of my on-line journal or blog.

I look around and wonder whether the readers-harvesters are seeing the same thing that I am seeing: a grape farm. I have never been comfortable with the term "vineyard," which conjures up the image of an estate with great Gallic gates, beyond which an imposing Chateau sits pretty sipping tea or brandy.

One thing pretty about our farm is the view: where a sea of grapevines is rivaled only by the Provence Giant in the distance: the sublime Mount Ventoux, now mauve, now blue. I love how the light plays on its colorful French face. To the right, Les  Dentelles, stand proud, like the finest French lace.

Otherwise, here at the farm it is no gates, no glamour. A plain dirt road leads up to the no-nonsense cellar. The long building in which we live has been divided up: part of it (the cellar) belongs to twenty-three investors; the other part is our still-needs-paint-in-places home sweet home.

Because our harvesters are volunteers/blog readers, I find it a delicate duty to lay down the law, to point out pesky procedures. But Jean-Marc has no problem issuing pruning shears, passing out seaux*... and pointing, swiftly, to those never-ending vine rows.

The pathetic craver-of-approval in me hopes beyond hope that the readers-harvesters will continue to feel that good cheer that, up until now, they may have felt, virtually, à travers* these stories that you are reading here. But out there (where the unsuspecting harvesters have begun their workday), the wind has picked up, and a cool chill takes the warmth right out of the early morning air. Oy vay!

(And just as you have come here for French terms--and ended up with Yiddish--our volunteer harvesters may have come here seeking la vie en rose*... only to end up with hard labor!)

One of the volunteer harvesters asked, innocently enough, before arriving:

"Have you seen the movie A Good Year?..."

I sensed her anticipation (expectation?) and could not bring myself to answer her question (Yes, I have seen A Good Year... No, it ain't that fancy here!).

This here harvest is not A Good Year but One Hell of Two Weeks. This is not a vineyard *estate* -- but a friend- and family-owned farm with tractors, dust, weeds and very good grapes! There won't be a maid serving pastis on a tray. We are deep in Provence, deep in the dirt and terroir. This is Authentic France, far from movie production sets, but we all have a part to play... in getting those grapes in...to that bottomless grape cart. Oy vay! Oy vay!

Bon courage to our harvesters and please don't throw grapes at me for writing this journal entry. It is never easy to share one's journal with those who inspire its stories. (Perhaps you will get me back, chers lecteurs/vendangeurs?* and share with us here your own impressions.... What say you, dear readers who have remained behind, in the comfort of your home sweet homes, far from the grape grind?)

***

Regarding Photos:
I know, I know: you would love to see photos of the harvest. This, I will try to do! However, it is a little more delicate to publish photos of our harvesters -- given that they are rock stars, and all. On a serious note: because our volunteers have just arrived, I haven't yet had the chance to ask their permission to post photos. Stay tuned.... Meantime:

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That's me, a bundle of nerves beneath the composed exterior. I hope everyone is getting enough to eat... I hope everyone enjoyed the pizza party... I know they enjoyed these oriental pastries -- a gift from my lovely Moroccan friend Mariam.

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I haven't asked permission to post photos of these three rock stars... and so I'd better play it safe for now. Just call me a wet chicken or scardey cat, or both.

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Here. I'll take a chance and post this one. (That's "Charles of the Vines", a.k.a. "Chuck" to the left. I hear he has a blog and I suspect he's capable of posting my photo without asking permission first. So, I'll get him before he gets me! (My brother-in-law Jacques is center and my husband, right.)

Comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for using the comments box!

~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Amérique
= America; le seau (m) = bucket; à travers = through, across; la vie (f) en rose = life (behind) rose-tinted lenses, the good life; lecteurs-vendangeurs = readers-harvesters

 

The Puppies!

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Ma fille, Jackie (she'll be eleven for 4 more days!)

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Six of one, half a dozen of the other

~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Diorshow Mascara: super volumizing, lengthening, and curling mascara
Mistral soap : a best-seller! Hand-crafted in the heart of Provence, and made according to a three-hundred year old tradition
"Ville de Paris" & "Service des Egouts" written on these replica Paris Cufflinks
Fleur de Sel. Gathered from the salt beds of Camargue, this subtly flavored salt will add burst of flavor to your food.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution makes a difference. A donation by check or via PayPal is vivement appréciéeMerci infiniment! Kristi

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