Viewing this edition via email? You'll need to click over to the website, here, to see the video. In the clip, Smokey and I have just returned from a hike (at a nearby calanque) in time to share the French word for "to sprinkle" as well as the useful term "quitte à le faire". You'll hear Braise, Smokey's maman, complaining in the background (she's stuck, stage left... in the chenil). You'll also see some of the old trees in the oliveraie just below, where fèves once grew. Hidden on the left of the screen, there is the stone cabanon that you saw in the previous video. Translation note: in the short film, you'll hear me refer several times to baking "powder". I really mean to say "soda". (The French word for baking soda is "la poudre chimique".)
: to sprinkle something with (sugar, powder, kindness)
saupoudrer de la farine, de poivre, de panure = sprinkle with flour, pepper, breadcrumbs
saupoudrer de chance = to sprinkle with luck
saupoudrer d'amour = to sprinkle with love
You'll also hear the expression quitte à le faire. Can you guess what this term means, based on the context in which it is used in today's video? Share your translations in the comment box.
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
A lot of activity here at home today, beginning with the massive hole being dug up behind the mas. Along with many of our fellow country-dwellers, it is time to bring our fosse septique up to standard after the French government updated its rules and regulations concerning assainissement.
Apart from the septic tank, we are kicking up dirt in other areas of our domaine. A huge machine, or excavatrice, rested in the olive orchard over the weekend, after it was used to blaze a trail from the oliveraie to the upper terraces, where Jean-Marc will plant his mourvedre vines.
Jean-Marc suggested this morning that, while we have access to the backhoe, or pelleteuse, we ought to use it to dig up the dirt we will need for our next vegetable plot. The idea is to build 4 buttes, or raised garden beds, through which we will run a drip system that will water our future potager.
"Want to have a look at the future garden?" Jean-Marc proposed.
Minding my steps across the muddy path with its deep, giant tractor-tire imprints, I gingerly followed my husband up to the terrace in question. Now was the chance to assess things. But once we reached the restful spot, all peace was lost.
I didn't point out the fact that the tractor had trail-blazed right over my experimental carrot patch! (how could the tractor operator have seen it, anyway, for the carrot tops hadn't yet appeared). Instead, I focused on my husband who was busy searching his coat pockets.
Jean-Marc produced a piece of paper on which he had sketched a diagram, based on my verbal description (and a few jottings) of our dream garden. But why, I wondered, were the beds square when they were supposed to be rectangular? And why were the four corners of the beds almost touching? There should be enough space between the beds for some sort of... ornamental object... maybe a circular bench or a tree. Yes! Wouldn't that be pretty!
As I proceeded to imagine, going as far as to raise my arms and spin, ornamentalement, Jean-Marc stomped his feet to the beat of reality. A bit dizzy, I stopped to listen to him.
"You need to get a tape measure and some markers!" he advised, unamused by my demonstration.
"But I am ONLY brainstorming!" I informed Monsieur Spoilsport.
"Well we ONLY have the tractor till Thursday!" came his sporty reminder.
And on we went, spinning and stomping until the only ones with their feet on the ground were the four-footed creatures watching us. If only Braise and Smokey could go ahead with the renovations.... and save us all from the frustrations of home-improvement.
Follow Jean-Marc's journey as he plants a vineyard on the terraces surrounding this historic olive orchard. His new blog is called Mas des Brun.
le chenil = kennel (note: I'm looking for the word "dog run", which better describes the fenced area Jean-Marc created for our dogs to use during the daytime. Submit a term in the comments box. Thanks!
une oliveraie = olive grove
le cabanon = stone hut
la maman = mom
la fève = broad bean, fava bean plant
Vocabulary from today's story (please help by sharing translations in the comments box):
Our 15-year-old, Jackie, falling from the sky like an angel. Photo taken from beyond the trampolene, just beneath her... I love the peaceful feeling this image brings, and enjoy reminding our kids that, once upon a time, they fell from heaven, into our arms.
A Message from Kristi: For twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety