Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Cabane de berger (the shepherd's wooden hut) photo by the Neurdein brothers. Here we have a slumbering sheepherder with his border collie and german shepherd (is it?) minding the troup. (When Mom sees this photo, she'll ditch her latest treehouse scheme... in favor of this fort-on-wheels with a nifty sliding door! Mom has had a hard time deciding where to anchor, here on the olive farm. This just may be the answer!)
un berger (une bergère)
: a shepherd, or shepherdess
la bergerie = sheep pen, sheepfold
Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence, in French: Download MP3 or Wav file
Le berger amène ses moutons dans la plaine. Cela s'appelle la transhumance.
The shepherd brings his sheep to the flatland. This is called "la transhumance".
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
A Modern Day Nomad
Returning home from the doctor's on Monday, we ran into a roadblock along our driveway. Dozens of sheep, great and small, were feasting on the grass beside the olive trees!
They're here! Hurry, get their picture! I said to Jean-Marc, who got out of our car to check the mail. Hurry! Before they wander off!
Having collected the courrier, Jean-Marc made his way up the crowded and bleating path. There were sheep everywhere: in the road, in the meadow, and in the trees (or nearly!). I watched, amazed to see the peaceful-looking animals rip off and devour the thorny stems of the bushes, enjoying them like chewy licorice sticks.
Driving cautiously in my husband's wake, I rolled down the window to get a better look at the troupeaux, which included several nursing lambs—agneaux—and even a few black sheep. I smiled thinking of their proverbial brothers and sisters (and a few of my own family members...).
As Jean-Marc advanced, a shepherd appeared on the restanque just above. The two men began a lazy conversation. I struggled to get within earshot, but it wasn't until the shepherd whistled—and a Border collie materialized—that the path instantly cleared of its four-legged traffic and I was able to pull my car over to the side of the road.
Jean-Marc, interested in some free soil amendment for his soon-to-be planted vines, was informing the berger about which pastures belong to us, and which were the neighbors'. As the men pointed and stretched their arms, measuring the expanse of the pâturage, I stole a closer look at the sheepherder.
He appeared to be in his early thirties, an unusual age for sheepherders, who, once upon a time, were either the very young or the very old (deemed useless to the family for anything but watching sheep!).
History had changed since the down-and-out times of early shepherding; it wasn't likely that this modern day berger was a burden to his family. Shepherds these days earn a living and, from all appearances, made enough to afford a smartphone!
Apart from the portable phone, I noticed the shepherd's tattered wooden cane, une houlette. It had the famous hook at the end, useful for freeing the hoof of a trapped sheep, one that has fallen from the path.
The shepherd tucked his canne under his arm, pausing to roll a cigarette as he listened to Jean-Marc. He was no ordinary shepherd, wearing a newsboy cap and a punk haircut. His short locks were punctuated by a single strand of braided hair that signaled nonconformist. Come to think of it, weren't punk rockers noncomformists who aspired to be nomads? This shepherd was the real deal, a living, breathing wanderer.
"Tomorrow, I'll park on the other side of the field," the berger informed Jean-Marc, pointing to his beat-up shepherd wagon. It was one of those classic Estafettes, the kind Jean-Marc's grandmother drove during WWII, as she peddled house linens to the Pieds-Noirs in Morocco.
"Ça marche," Jean-Marc waved goodbye to the sheepherder, before getting back into our car.
I still hadn't had a word with the shepherd, though I was itching to know him. What a fascinating story he must have to share. But I had a feeling he was a private type—he reminded me so much of my rebel sister-in-law. And though I had so many questions, (just as I had for her), I didn't want to put him out and, admittedly, I didn't want to say something stupid or square to someone so authentic.
But then, wasn't I a little authentic too? How many times had I let my perceived squareness keep me from befriending the nonconformists? But I wasn't so straight as that. Gone were the perfectly made-up face and fluffy hair. With a bandaged nose* and, wearing a sweater with holes (my dear mom's, for comfort), I might pass for a bohemian, like him.
Before putting the car into gear, I stuck my tattered nose out the window. "Nice dog!" I offered, admiring the hardworking Border collie, and noble chien de berger. "Is she good at what she does?"
A smile now stretched across the nomad's face, revealing a row of teeth as wandering as his sheep.
"Elle est la meilleure!" the berger replied, his enthusiasm as endearing as his smile. "If one of these moutons ended up on that far off colline (with this, he stretched forth his cane, waving it for effect), Mieszka (mee-esh-ka) would be there in a flash, to steer her home."
It didn't take much, after all, to connect with the mysterious nomad who was so different from this heart-on-sleeves homebody. I had thought I had nothing to say, and yet, venturing the question, I was rewarded by the friendly, universal connection.
To comment on this story, click here. Keep the conversation going by sharing your own stories about connecting with people so seemingly different than yourself. And what about Border collies and the intelligence of dogs? Notice any other themes in today's essay? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, in the comments box.
*bandaged nose: the stiches from the biopsy were taken out on Monday. Good news: this time the results came back benign, and not bcc!
Read about Jean-Marc's grandmother in the story "bouder" (to pout). It was Jean-Marc's grandmother who gave me some of the best mariage advice, namely ne jamais bouder! Click here for that story and the scene of the grandmother peddling linens from a military supply vehicle....
le courrier = mail
le troupeau = herd
un agneau =lamb
le mouton = sheep (some fun & colorful "mouton" expressions, such as "revenons à nos moutons, here)
la restanque = a kind of terrace held by a wall of stacked rocks
le pâturage = field of grasses from which animals graze
la canne = cane
le pied-noir = French citizen who lived in Algeria before independence. The term included citizens, like my mother-in-law and her family, living in other North African countries, such as Morocco, during or after wartime.
ça marche = that'll work
le chien de berger = sheepdog, such as a Border collie
elle est la meilleure = she's the best
la colline = hill
Gus was so suprised and touched by the messages you left him for his 88th birthday. Gus writes (in typical Gus "all caps"):
IF I REALLY TRIED, I COULD COME UP WITH A FLOWERY PHRASE TO TELL YOU ABOUT MY FEELINGS FOR THE BIRTHDAY AFFAIR. THE BEST ONE IS A VERY SINCERE "THANKS"..
Gus is pictured, above, with daughter Mary, who is, Gus tells us, "MY ONE FLOWER AMONG FIVE SONS".
Marguerites in the lavender town of Sault. Has a friend forwarded you this post? Sign up, here, to receive French Word-A-Day in your in-box.
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
that photo is wonderful - did you use a special filter or a special effect?
EXCELLENT NEWS REGARDING YOUR PERKY LITTLE NOSE!!!!!!! XOXOXOXO
Posted by: michele | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Fantastic story for this cold rainy day in Roanoke, Va. You have made my day! Love that you wore your Mom's sweater to doctor's-Jules must be warmed by that thought. I wear my Mom's Big Red Sunglasses! - big- I think she was going for a Jackie-O look! (And I wear them despite how goofy they probably look!) Even though she is gone, I feel a connection so often to her, with or without them! Loving wishes for healing...xox.
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 01:41 PM
I love the first picture! Perhaps thats the first version of a take off of todays trailors.
Posted by: gail bingenheimer | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Fabulous photo, Jean-Marc. It reminds of all the roadblocks Brad and I found one summer driving around the Isle of Skye in Scotland. As for your brief connection with the berger, Kristin, I myself have noticed that I get more conversation with a stranger if I can find a way to ask about something he loves than to ask for his story directly. And EVERYBODY likes to talk about his dog. So glad to hear the news from the biopsy was good. My dermatologist just steered me and my fair skin toward Neutrogena Healthy Defense "pure screen" daily moisturizer for sensitive skin. She reminded me, though, that I really should apply it a couple of times a day (yes, redo the minimal makeup I use) because the SPF doesn't last all day.
Posted by: Julie Farrar | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Thank you. Yep, there is actually nothing that separates us from one another (except ourselves) and dogs bring us into wholeness. Great story.....and how is the nose??
Posted by: mary | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Amazing timeless story! La meme chose....., please correct
ma grammaire. And the painterly photo; C'est formidable!
Jim from Boston
Posted by: Jim Sullivan | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Posted by: Nancy | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 02:01 PM
wonderful story, photo. I've been reading you for several years now and your eye or ear for detail has grown so much. You take us there.
Posted by: Debbie Poulin | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Good news re your pretty little nose! Thanks for that picture perfect photo. I loved your story today..you made my day.
Posted by: Irene Tanedo | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Nice story. Thanks.
Posted by: Jim | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Beautiful photo of the sheep, very much like artwork! Wonderful story. I read a story on another blog recently about a shepherd, and he was young also. I enjoyed seeing the picture of Gus and his daughter too. I hope your nose is healing very well. I had a biopsy on the same day as your doctor visit and I had a report just a few days ago that it was benign, thankfully. Thank you for sharing France with us.
Posted by: Debbie Ambrous - www.AFrenchOpportunity.com | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Excellent news from Kristin and Debbie. I'm happy for both of you. Isn't it amazing how conquering the initial fear of speaking to someone most often leads to a positive result. We were created to communicate with one another ... to share the joy and empathize with the painful experiences. Our human family truly carries one another through life, enriching the experience as we move along together. Your writing is a great example of this enrichment, Kristin. Thank You!
Posted by: Bill Facker | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Yea for BENIGN!!!!!!
Great story,comme toujours. And I love the photo, too.
Posted by: Ophelia | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 03:04 PM
I loved today's story and Jean-Marc took a pretty good photo! I also enjoyed clicking back and reading about JM's sister and grandmother. Nice picture of Gus and his daughter too!
Posted by: Eileen - Charlottesville, VA | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Prayers answered Kristin! Loved today's post. Merci et santé!
Posted by: Cindy | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Great news about the biopsy! Years ago when we were in the English countryside hiking we came across a farmer moving his flock of sheep to a new pasture (the ones contained by the stone walls) and to get to the new pasture they had to lead the flock over a foot bridge - very interesting to watch. We were told that when the land is sold the sheep go with the land.
Posted by: Bill in St. Paul | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Thank you for this post! Good news, memorable photos and interesting writing. You have made my day. Mille mercis.
Posted by: Carol | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Loved reading this story...and following the "rest" of the story to
your grandmother-in-law...a lot to learn from her past experiences.
How cozy is the cabane de berger....!! Perfect for a backyard "get-away"...!!!
Posted by: Pat | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 03:35 PM
I guess I popped in just to say that I enjoyed your shepherd/sheep wagon story on a snowy, chilly day when the wind is howling like a banshee (which basically means the snow will blow into another county fairly soon.) I also recognized your cluster of marguerites in front of the blue door and am glad to have an identity "marguerites in the lavender town of Sault" to go along with the photo. : )
Loving the mention of the red sweater that belonged to your mom. Thanks for the all-around warm story.
Posted by: Linda R. | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 03:36 PM
YOU DID IT AGAIN! YOUR CHOICE OF PICTURES AND WORDS HAVE A WAY OF TRANSPORTING THE READER TO THE SCENE. I COULD SMELL THE SHEEP AND THEIR BLEATING FILLED MY ROOM. I ENJOYED YOUR NEW SURROUNDINGS, PERHAPS AS MUCH AS YOU DO.
Posted by: GUS ELISON | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Kristin, I've said this before, I believe, but I think this is my favorite post ever, for so many reasons. Wonderful news about your nose :). Love that you took a chance and connected with the shepherd! Terrific pictures! (Yes, that is a German shepherd dog in the first pic.) I haven't read the other story links yet, but I am going back to do so. I love so many other aspects of this post, but I don't want to make this too long.
I've missed hearing from your mom lately. Glad you mentioned her. Hoping she is ok. And I am so glad you have felt like writing more frequently. It's always a delight to hear from you!
Posted by: Karene | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Excellent photos today.
In Arizona past, cattle and sheep drives were common each spring and fall. As the snow melted in the mountains and the new grass began growing, livestock were moved up on Mogollon Rim. In the winter, they were moved back down to the lower elevations.
Now when I “Google” the subject, I get a list of dude and guest ranches touting vacation roundups giving the modern day “tenderfoots’’ (and bottoms) a taste of the old west.
However, the Bill Williams Mountain Men still do their 200-mile ride each spring.
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, Az | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:21 PM
This picture of the sheep looks like a painting. I love it! I feels so cozy and the story about the shepherd was wonderful.
Every once in a while we have an unforgetable encounter that will stick with us the rest of our lives. This is one I will remember always.
Posted by: Helen Ehler | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Wishing for a "Like" button on here today. Enjoyed the story, the pictures. And so many of fellow readers' comments. (And happy for your benign diagnosis, too!) Were there a Facebook-style "Like" button, I'd would have used it often! Thanks, Kristin, for your writing and for assembling this virtual community of kind-hearted folks.
Posted by: Kathy en Californie | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Thank you for sharing another personal story. Jean-Marc's photo is amazing too. Then there is the good news about your latest diagnosis. Thank you for starting my day in such a good way.
Posted by: Dennis - Sebastopol CA | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Great photo - as soon as I saw it, I gave up my retirement dream of selling the house and buying a trailer (which we would use to visit our kids ... sending postcards of course first to tell them when we were arriving). Same concept, though at a slower pace!
Posted by: John G. Patte | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:44 PM
I loved this story of the authentic young sheep herder choosing such free and fresh work out of doors. Thank you for sharing this great encounter. When i lived in Eagle Vail, Colorado in the 1980s, a sheep herder used to herd his sheep right down the highway when he moved them to a different pasture - it was a narrow valley and he had no other choice.
It was a special moment for me to see this then and to share in your day also.
Posted by: Hedda | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:48 PM
So wonderful to hear the results of your biopsy, dear, dear Kristen.
I loved todays post, partly because it reminded me of a similar sighting while driving near Lourmarin. A man, his dog and his work - an enticing picture.
Posted by: Heather Donaldson | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Beautiful photo, and great news about your nose.
Posted by: Josseline | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Beautiful photo of the sheep! Who needs a lawnmower if this guy comes by once a week? lol
Posted by: Marcia | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Bonjour du Texas. Félicitations pour votre résultat de la biopsie, a poursuivi meilleurs voeux!
I wanted to suggest a different breed ID for the shepherd dog in your 'Cabane' picture from the famous Maison Neurdein photo studio. Since the picture location is designated 'en Beauce', I believe, it shows a Beauceron, also called Berger de Beauce or Bas Rouge, Red Stocking. This old working breed from northern France was used as a guard and herding companion, quite fierce and brave, even fighting wolves to protect his sheep. Before the modern standard was set, which allows only either 'Black and Tan' (all black dogs with red markings similar to a Doberman, including their hallmark red feet) or 'Harlequin' (tan and grey brindled), many Beauceron were more tawny overall, just as the dog in the pictures appears to be. The Beauceron are closely related to the other northern French shepherd breed, the Briard. The facial markings and profile of the dog pictured are identical to it's modern cousins, only the ears are no longer cropped. I wish, I could attach a picture of our boy Vandal, who heils from Rouen and listens to the traditional French commands. He sends greetings to Mama Braise and her intrepid son Smokey!
Posted by: Claudia MK Leon | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Thank you for these educational! Herm, I love the southwest history you share with us (makes me so nostalgic for AZ!), and Claudia -- loved learning about the Beauceron and the synonyms, too!
Michele, yes--I used a lomo filter (free from Picasa) on Jean-Marcs photo. It was such a dreamy image, and the lomo filter is extra dreamy.
Julie, one can always use a sunblock reminder. I hope your latest appt went well.
Debbie, so good to hear the all clear news.
Jim, your grammar looks good to me!
Bill, love your words on communicating with one another. So eloquent! So true!
Eileen and Pat, thanks for taking the time to read those stories, about JMs grandmother and his sister.
Karene, thanks for asking about Mom. She is painting and enjoying her husbands cooking. Shes been a little shy to comment (what? Jules? shy? -- yes, sometimes!). I know she will be back with us soon. Meantime, you (readers here) are her favorite telephone topic. She is so touched by the extended family here.
Kathy, there is a like button -- thanks for asking about it. You need to click over to the blog, then scroll to the end of the post to find it. Thanks for hitting like, as it helps to share the story with others.
John, follow that dream and the slow pace, too!
Marcia, haha -- I hope he will be back soon to cut the lawn again!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 05:46 PM
As a fellow cancer survivor, I fully comprehend the terror of awaiting test results. Congrats and a high five to you! Awesome sheep photo!
Posted by: Sharon | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Lovely lovely story, Kristin. i, too, was struck by how much like a painting the photo is. Up in the corner, the sky and trees look like a tender watercolor. beautiful.
And what a beautiful reminder the story was--what appears to be a roadblock is almost always an opportunity. delicious.
Posted by: Gwyn Ganjeau | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 06:22 PM
So happy for you that you biopsy came back negative.
Now, the old French teacher will remind you that words ending in age are usually masucline as in le paturage. I know what a nuisance these gender issues can be.
I continue to love y our every day stories that are so full of life.
Posted by: Janine Cortell | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Thanks, Janine. So helpful. Off to fix it. (And feeling smug, on learning that age is a masculine thing--in French at least! :-)
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Nothing beats a picture of animals doing their age old routine. Loved the sheep and the dogs. Remember seeing an excerpt on tv about Queen Elizabeth and her dog whom she could direct from a great distance with her whistle. An extraordinary gift. Your grandmother-in-law's advice was the best/ Pouting is no way to live.
Posted by: Diane Young | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Each and every time I read French Word-a-Day, my life is enriched. I rarely comment even though you give me plenty of food for thought. Today is an exception. Your berger has a dog with the Polish name of Mieszka? How can this be?
Posted by: Gabrielle Charest | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 07:01 PM
I love Jean-Marc's picture of the all the sheep! I also love the image of a punk, cellphone toting berger!! Have you read the Alechemist, Kristin? Great story that begins with a shepherd in Spain.
Posted by: Julie | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Well, Kristin, the nose knows. Good news.
On my recent trip to your adopted country, I found the subject of dogs a welcome entree into conversation. We missed our little bichon and stopped anyone on the street with a small white dog to let them know. It was a welcome diversion for us.
Posted by: Christine Webb-Curtis | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Our dear Kristi,
Firstly--most importantly--we rejoice at the wonderful news that there is no cancer!
Thank dear God for hearing our prayers and answering them!!
The story today (and the beautiful photos!)
wrapped themselves around my heart and filled me with smiles.
You are so gifted in making us feel part of this truly pastoral adventure.I was especially inspired by the way you found a (shared!)common denominator with the shepard--love of his dog! And then to draw him into a conversation which otherwise might never have happened. You have such a touch for making people feel special. (Starting with all of us at FWAD!!)
Love, Natalia XO
Posted by: Natalia | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Wow. Awesome news about the nose :-) Had to add a nose to my usual smiley. Only started reading your blog a few months ago. Thoroughly enjoying it.
Posted by: Wonky73 | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Loved the photo and story. Since you know where the "berger" will be in the next few days and since you have established a connection or rapport with him I think you should go talk with him (not to him). Take a walk with the sheep. Ask if you can take some photos of the sheep. Explain what you do. If you don't do it you will never know the story and friendship that might develop. Your mother would agree and if she were there she would come with you for certain. I think the other dog in the first photo may be a Malinois.
Posted by: joie in carmel | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 09:07 PM
I love the photo of the sheep by the olive tree! Good story too...Thanks
Posted by: Trish Nickell | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 09:48 PM
This photo took my breath away! I'm in the midst of planning my first ever trip to France, and of course, I want to find these moutons!! I grew up raising sheep and at times miss them dreadfully. Thanks for a great story, too. I find that I am more prone to interact with interesting strangers when I'm travelling, but lately am starting to do more of this around home. For instance, I admired the beautiful winter local organic produce from Maine (I'm in Massachusetts) at the natural foods store and had a wonderful conversation with the guy who orders it and arranges the display every morning!! Now when we see each other we are friends in a way and can interact again.
Posted by: Priscilla Williams | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Oops, forgot to say that I'd love to hear more about the grandmother and her time in Morocco. Travelled there two years ago. A fascinating place! Where was she exactly?
Posted by: Priscilla Williams | Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:27 PM
I just remembered something from my past, and therefore all the more reason to seek out the berger again. In my twenties there were two sheepherders who would bring their sheep down from the Sierra-Nevada mountains in the winter time to graze for free on government land near here. There were several acres of flat land right of the two lane road that I often traveled called Sycamore Flats. One day I stopped to take some photos of the sheep and climbed over the fence and ventured in. As I was taking some photos I realised that one of the bergers was in just outside his trailer (similar to the one in the photo). He came over to where I was and we started talking. He spoke some English and French. He was Basque. Your description of the one there reminded me of him. So very pleasant. He showed me one ewe that was ready to birth and another whose lamb had died. There was another lamb who had lost it's mother and he showed me how they put the skin of of the deceased lamb over the orphan at first so the mother can get the combined smell and would feed it. I went back the following year and he was there again. Unfortunately they no longer bring them down,but thank you for bringing up such a memorable moment in my life. It brings a smile to my face right now. So tomorrow, go take some photos of those sheep. Thank you again.
Posted by: joie in carmel | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Oh Kristi Darling - I just love every little word in your post today! I think I will put this one in the 'classic' file. And as I always tell you - you could create a whole chapter out of this moment in time. I hope you will take your new friend a nice hot meal tomorrow and see to whatever needs he may have, oh how I wish I was there to spoil him and sit around a campfire and take movies of the entire experience.
I am just over the moon with this story. Love the photo - more please more....I will never have enough photo's of sheep.
Posted by: JULES GREER - PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Do farmers give the shepherds permission to use their fields? I guess that must be how it works. Gives the sheep grass to eat and fertilizes the fields for the farmers.
Nice post, and fascinating old photo. I wonder where shepherds sleep nowadays.
Posted by: Teresa | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Love that picture by Jean-Marc & such a fun story to go with it.
Posted by: Susan Carter (Westminster, CA) | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Kristin, although I don't post much, I read all your posts with interest and today's story was special. And what a beautiful picture! I'd give anything to come home to a driveway full of sheep! And I love how Jean-Marc just entered into a "lazy" conversation with the berger. When I saw the title of your post in my email this morning it reminded me of a song for children in French that I love - do you know it?
Il était une bergère,
Et ron, ron, ron, petit patapon.
Il était une bergère,
Qui gardait ses moutons,
Qui gardait ses moutons.
Wonderful news about your biopsy. Hope you were able to celebrate it with your family!
Posted by: Ellen | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 01:16 AM
This is my first comment to one of your much enjoyed posts. I was a high school french student but lost much of it over the years Now I enjoy reading your blog and try to recover some of my "french" What made me comment now is that wonderful picture of the sheep that looks like a master's painting. I am an artist and looking at it made me want to grab my pastels and go for it. Beautiful
Posted by: Mary | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Hello Kristin, I love this story and the photo.
I've not posted before but have just now had to unsubscribe from FWAD and felt so disloyal about it that I had to explain that I've immediately re-subscribed. I wasn't sure how else to to register my new email address (will soon move to India for a couple of years). I enjoy and appreciate being let into your life and your thoughts.
Posted by: Linda - Melbourne, Australia | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 03:25 AM
Excellent news from your doctor, Kristin! I loved today's entry for so many reasons, including the most excellent photos bookending it. Jean-Marc's photo of the sheep is just surreal, something about the light and the way the sheep are holding themselves, like stiff members of parliament at a garden party. Your marguerites are fresh as a new life against that bright blue. Can it be that your relief about the biopsy results gave you each a renewed appreciation for the sweetness of today?
Oh, by the way, I think the perfect solution for your Mom's visits to the mas would be to buy plans for a tiny eco-house and have a local builder make it for her. Some are on wheels like your favorite caravans. Look at www.tumbleweedhouses.com. (I have no connection to the company, but I like their ideas).
Best wishes from afar...
Posted by: Ellen from Beverly Hills | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 03:34 AM
Hello Kristin - as for your mother's choice of lodgings on your family's new property, how about a fully restored & tricked out Airstream? Are there even any in France? They are very stylish and your mother appears to be a stylish and eclectic person!
Posted by: Kathleene | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 05:58 AM
Lovely post, Kristin! I hope you get a chance to learn more about your berger! I love hearing other people's stories! It seems everyone else has a more interesting life . . . I guess it is a little like the grass is always greener! :)
I was happy to hear about the good news from the Dr. I have been through that also. The waiting between the biopsy and the results is the worst part. Mine ended up being a melanoma, but I have been free and clear for over 10 years now! Yay! :)
And . . . congratulations! I see you have reached the 40,000 reader mark! :) Yay!
Posted by: Sherrill | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 06:05 AM
Brilliant all-clear news Kristi!!! Here's to a very Healthy & Happy 2013, and thank you for this post. It made this square peg pause to think ;)
Much love and support from Australia,
Posted by: Leisa Smith | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 07:38 AM
This is my first message to you. I am really enjoying FWAD-revisiting the French language that I did study at school many years ago. I loved your story and the photo. Also I am having a biopsy taken on Monday 21/01/2013 from an area on my face so I am hoping that I get as good a result as you did. Many thanks.
Elizabeth, Gold Coast, Australia.
Posted by: Elizabeth | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 09:39 AM
Was cheered to hear the super news re your nez.....and loved the moutons. Showed my son the pic, as he finally met the local berger and his moutons on 6th Jan in the garrigue and I had taken a pic of him from the back, looking at the moutons with the sun shining through the trees into them - so like Jean-Marc's pic. We felt that we had stumbled across the flock again and it reminded us of a wondeful walk on a wonderful day. Thankyou for doing the site and sharing your pics, writing and news.
Posted by: Lorraine | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 04:03 PM
Oops! Meant to add that I had a chat with the berger when we met and he has a Border Collie to work the sheep and 2 big Pyreneens to guard them. The collie runs about like a helicopter Mummy when the sheep make a move and the other dogs wander about and do their own thing till anyone or anything approaches, when they assess the friend or foe.
Posted by: Lorraine | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Wonderful news on the medical front!! Just wanted to add our congratulations on the biopsy results. Our son is also a cancer survivor, so we know all too well how it feels to wait for those test results. We are both so happy for you, your family, and all the folks around the world who love you and love sharing your French Life.
This latest story is a delight. Everyone who has ever been lucky enough to have such a dog must have smiled as much as I did.
Posted by: Johanna DeMay | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 08:39 PM
This story is as charming as the daisies in the last photo (one of my favs!)! The neighboring farm uses some of my pastures for their sheep. It is lambing time here; heartwarming to watch the boundless joy of the lambs as they jump and play.
Speaking of heartwarming; thanks for including the photo of GUS and WONDERFUL news regarding your biopsy results!
Posted by: Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon | Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Great news!! Glad to hear the biopsy was neg. Loved the story of Jean-Marc's grandmother!
Posted by: Jackie Durham | Friday, January 18, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Elizabeth, best wishes for an all clear for you biospy on Monday. Good you are getting this looked at. Take care and send an update.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, January 18, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Just catching up on the French-Word-a-Day editions from this past week. What a wonderful story about making a connection with a 'stranger!' Time and time again, I'm reminded to put myself out there and make the first step toward speaking with someone, and especially if that someone appears to be very 'different.' There is so much more that unites us than what separates us! And congratulations on the excellent news from the biopsy!
Posted by: Katia | Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Linda, no worries at all -- and you are so thoughtful to want to explain why you had signed off. I do not look at the sign offs (that way I will not have to wonder who or why or what did I do wrong? :-) I am so glad to know you are resubscribed. Best wishes with your move to India.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Priscilla, thanks, and in northern Marocco. I cannot remember the city, but could ask my mother-in-law...
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 05:17 PM