French Marriage advice, and weakness and sacrifice
avoir de la veine + Learning French strengthens your brain!

Meet Morrie & French fruit soup recipe

   Jean-Marc, returning to his vine fields after delivering me this tree!

Meet Morrie! We welcome to our vineyard a new tree, a morus alba pendula . This weeping mulberry tree, a permaculture gardener's dream, will lend a delicious dimension to today's recipe: French Fruit Soup. Read on!
la cueillette
 (kuh yet)

    1. picking, gathering
    2. crop, harvest

Also: cueillir (to pick, gather, pluck) 

AUDIO FILE: hear Jean-Marc pronounce these French words: Download MP3 or Wave file

la cueillette des raisins, des champignons, des pommes et des poires....
  the gathering of grapes, mushrooms, apples and pears... 

la cueillette de la lavande, des fleurs sauvages....
  the gathering of lavender, of wildflowers... 

la cueillette à la ferme, au verger...
  harvesting at the farm, at the orchard... 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

A Fresh New Perspective on Gardening

Sometime last spring, I looked out to my garden and thought: who are you kidding? You can't grow things - at least not consistenly. True, I've had a glory day or two (that five-pound zucchini and the prolific roma tomato plant. And those ears of corn! But the courgettes and tomatoes this year are weird and I never got around to planting corn, which is like sabotage since it wasn't so hard to grow afterall--and why wouldn't you grow something if you knew you could?

Just look at this mess! On a recent foray out to the back yard, to my three-part garden--a wild part, a tamed part, a wild part--Even my husband pointed it out: "It's a jungle out there. You need to tame it."

It's true, my garden experiment has gone amuck. Even the tamed part was out of control. Standing there, wondering what to do,  I knelt down to pull a few weeds from the base of this jungle. A bright red ball caught my attention, and I turned and yanked a strawberry from the vine, popping it in my mouth. Those random strawberries  didn't seem to amount to much, but, if you stopped and added them all up....  They might equal bushells by the end of summer!

I sat back and took a fresh look at my edible forest. What looked like havoc was, finally, the self-caring garden I had meant to cultivate from the very beginning-- when I began watching every Youtube video on the topic of permaculture and food forests.

Permaculture ("permanent agriculture")  and forest gardening are ways to jardiner by which you observe how plants behave in nature. Nature doesn't have neat rows of tomatoes or straight lines of thyme. Wild fruit trees are surrounded by plants and vines, not more of the same.

A week or so ago I began carrying a small bowl with me to my garden, filling it with whatever could be harvested. Back in the kitchen, I photographed the tiny harvest. When I string all the pictures together - days later, I see my harvest from a new perspective. Instead of the lone fraise, I now have a small bowl of berries.  Determined to come back to the kitchen with a small bounty, I now venture out through my jungle - searching out the hidden cherry tomato and the looming raspberry. This morning I found a pumpkin plant! It must have come out of the pile of compost I tossed at the foot of the kale tree (a veritable arbre!).

These petites cueillettes captured by my camera are wonderfully rewarding visual harvests and further motivation to head out each day and hunt for something ripe. Were it not for this recent return to the forest - the field riot I had so been avoiding - I would have never had the thrill of discovering our first homegrown avocado--here on the seacoast of France! I would have experienced the ironic twist of fate that sometimes happens to those who give up:

Strangely, so many people give up just moments before they would have realized their goal.

Speaking of strange, this brings me back to my weird garden. My weird and WONDERFUL garden. That little avocado would have been dangling out there in the forest, unseen as I headed into the house to hang up my garden gloves for good.

And what about that book I have given up on? Or the pursuit that you have stopped pursuing? Could it be it is well within reach?....

Vegetable garden and nettles patch
  When my garden was tame.

Post Note
I'm glad my husband made that remark, which poked at my stubborn heart. I now return daily to my wild garden, to remind myself it is just as it should be: rambling, uneven, free--and producing! My favorite thing to do with the jungle food -- will the recent micro harvests -- is to make fruit soup (the soup part, admittedly, makes up for all the missing fruit and has the added advantage of being super refreshing at the start of another canicular day).

I leave you with this simple recipe, and wish you bon appétit! 



  • selection of fruit including berries, stone fruit, bananas for creaminess
  • teaspoon olive oil*
  • scissored or chopped herb leaves - such as mint, basil, lemon verbena, or the simple-to-grow anise hyssop (see it somewhere in the above photo)
  • squeezes of lemon or orange
  • a dollop of yogurt - optional
  • seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax...), raisins, dried mulberries...
  • a little water  

Olive oil? you say. I know it sounds strange, but think of olive oil's health benefits!  I got the oil tip from Rachel (who taught me the easy Provencal Tomato Tart. She uses canola oil in her fruit salad, mashing it up with a banana and lemon juice for the dressing.)

Chop up fruit (I leave the strawberry tops on), add chopped herbs and squeezes of citrus, and top with yogurt and seeds. I then put my bowl under the tap and add a quarter cup of water. I know that is very strange and surely amateur -- but have you experience the current heat wave in France? Extra water (now flavored with so much fruit!) can't hurt--and how else to make fruit soup? :-)

Your suggestions
Tell us what you would add to this refreshing soup. Click here to comment.

Smokey, Breizh, and Morrie--our new mulberry tree!



It all adds up. Jean-Marc and I once made a meal out of this carrot, frying it with an onion and putting the glazed and sweet topping over rice.

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


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Magnifique, Kristin! Sumptuous simple sustenance such as the one you and hubby enjoyed with the gorgeous carrot, sauteed onion (a sure thing to make anything wonderful!) and rice are the best!

Permaculture gardening is a beautiful plan. Love seeing the pics of your petite harvests. What a joy to behold what the land itself can do when we don't intervene (too much).

Hm, Fruit Soup, yes, please! Thanks for planting the idea... It shall come to "fruition" today. ;)

Stay safe & cool and give the pups a pet for me!


I love everything about this post.

(Especially the line about the book!) There are so many passions I have come close to giving up on. Thank you this reminder that we may be closer to our goals than we realize. All is preparation.

"At just the right time..."

Your discovery of the strawberry reminded me of a similar experience:

One of my favorite memories of childhood is when i discovered a little hill covered with wild strawberries in my backyard. Better than a mountain of rubies!

Merci pour le souvenir!


I try each year to do something different in planting veggies, but was thrown in a loop with my son's black lab coming for an extensive stay. Hence, I had to build a chicken wire fence to keep him out of it! Having been raised on my grandparent's tree nursery farm, I always have grand plans, but my efforts diminish when it gets too hot this time of year. Bravo! to your efforts in your garden! As for the fruit soup, I've been known to add fresh orange juice to the mix, it keeps the bananas from browning and is refreshing too!


My grandmother's yard had a big old weeping mulberry tree that we loved to play under. May you someday have grandchildren hiding under "Morrie."


Oh! What a delightful post, Kristin! It speaks to so many themes that dance around in my mind every day: resourcefulness; persistence; diligence; following our intuition; living life with a touch of whimsy.

I have been struggling with my garden this summer. The vegetables I planted in May just don't seem to be thriving well. This morning, when I quickly gazed out the window before leaving for work, I spotted one of our resident rabbits munching on the chard. We had built a fence all around the garden bed, but apparently, it's not enough to keep out hungry rabbits. It's disappointing. Yet, I love the idea of growing my own vegetables. The garden bounty is half-eaten every year yet, I continue to plant, trying to improve the security fence annually. Apparently, the critters continue to outsmart me.

Your fruit soup sounds delicious. I'm looking forward to trying it soon.


How wonderful! Wild strawberries continue to spread through our backyard every year, having crept over from the neighbour's. My children and I love going out to look for those tiny morsels of sweetness. Who needs a full bushel of berries when it's such a joy to find them individually, pluck them off the delicate stem and pop them into my mouth, savouring the taste.


Love this blog and the whole concept of an aside, how do U deal w/ snakes or don't U have any? We have had a lot of rain and I find myself sharing my yard with snakes!

Nan Morrissette

I love adding sliced, ripe avocado to fruit mixes. And maybe sprinkle some toasted slivered almonds on top. Oh... And chunks of fresh feta cheese. Yum!

Gail Accuardi

It's all about the soil. Keep up the composting all year long. Veggies like corn are heavy feeders is garlic. We have sand out here in Oysterville so raised beds and lots of compost is necessary....yet gardening is still wonderful. G

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

This time of year here in Florida, I would add in cubes of mango.


Lovely post--food for the soul. Helps me stop obsessing about the weeds in my garden...and life. Good reminder to look for the hidden fruit! Today I have my ninth radiation (of 28). This reading was such a beautiful and inspirational way to begin the day. Thanks!

Polly Adkins (South Carolina)

I have a messy, disorganized garden just like that. And like you I gather One berry here, one pepper there, a few grape tomatoes over there and a squash or two at the end of a grass, covered row. And in the end, I have a basket full of a melange of unrelated stuff to figure out what to do with! So weird salads and bizarre fruit and vegetable plates are set on the table for my husband. "What's this?" He asks. "Don't ask," I say. "You'll like it!" Sometimes he does and other times he quietly eats it with a strange look on his face. He makes fun of my shambles of a garden, but it does its job. I'm very pleased with it's ugliness.


I guess I like to admire a garden with straight rows, corn tied up also tomatoes and few weeds; yours cannot grow and produce because of the weeds and unorderliness. What a waste of produce when you could be enjoying a lot of fruit and vegetables. You should look up what a good diet looks like and get food for a healthy diet.


Our dear Kristi,
These beautiful Summer pictures just carry us away!
You reminded me of my(considerably more youthful) garden experience,where I ended up with two asparagus,four blueberries,six raspberries and a couple of figs.Not as creative as you are (for sure!)I ended up making a salad
which hubby Rod and I split.It was yummy,even though less was defintely more.
You brought this serendipity to mind once again today.
Natalia. xo
PS Here in the Southwest,we are also in extreme drought.Have been struggling with water rationing for well over a year now.Garden gets saved sink water in a bucket.Reduced toilet flushing and ridiculously short
showers.Oh my.Wish I appreciated such necessities more when we had them.

Kristin Espinasse

Lynne,  sending good thoughts your way.  Bon courage  with the rest of your treatment and may you be feeling better very soon.

Vivian Langley

Kristin, as you know I live in an Assisted-living retirement center, grew up on a farm so how could your messages not be enjoyed. Each day I looked forward to hearing and learning about so much. Please, never stop. Vivian

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

All in due time... I love the message of today's post and the latest addition to your garden. Precisely the inspiration I needed. I had to look up canicular for I'd not heard it before. Enjoy your sweet bounty!

Joanne Ablan

Hi, Kristin,
You have truly evolved as une bonne femme française and you have arrived as an artist as well. My favorite part of this particular French-Word-A-Day story is when you reveal your creative process by commenting on the string of photos of your little
harvest bowl which yielded a new perspective. This is the power of montage. Congratulations! Joanne, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Kristin Espinasse

This comments section needs a like button, as there are so many likeable and very dear words here.  Thank you so much for your encouragement and for continuing to read this blog.  Happy weekend!


Life should be a rambling garden. Even nature has rules and boundaries with the option to ramble.
Think about it. Think about what you might find around each corner. Sort of like going on a road trip and flipping a coin out the driveway as to what direction to go..N, S, E, (no west here....the ocean is only 4 blocks away.
.And about that soup. Is it soup or salad? I do a fruit salad with vinaigrette and crumbled honey goat cheese. Quite refreshing.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks,  Joie. Love your words about life being a rambling garden. Re the salad,  it is definitely a soup (this time,  anyway).

Kari Wishingrad

How about adding some hemp seeds? Or sunflower and pumpkin seeds for added nutrition.
Merci - I love your blogs.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
Isn't it so much fun to gather tasty things from your own garden? We have been trying to keep up with the harvest! The plants just keep producing! Now you just need some chickens! :-)

Maureen Winterhager

Lovely post, enjoyed it so much....May I make one correction: I think it's to "run amok" not "go amuck" ?
Our wild forest strawberries have certainly run amok in our garden and pop up all over the place. Love the flavour....
Do you have gooseberries and red and black currants? They are fabulous and tangy in flavour.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for the helpful correction,  Maureen. No,  none of those berries yet. Hope to plant some!

Patricia Cowan

Your posts are always a joy to read...NEVER think there is anything wrong with your garden! I do landscape design for clients but MUCH PREFER your home & garden to those who want a typical suits your home, site, and personality! Hope Smokey is ok!

Diane Young

That is one gorgeous artichoke in your garden! I just watched Martha Stewart cooking some veggies, and one of them was the artichoke which she snipped around and took core out of. great veggie. I buy them in jar with oil since I neither have un jardin or patience to cook fresh one. You are getting very good at experimenting and making a meal out of miscellaneous fruits and/or veggies. Keep on keeping on.


Merci, Kristin!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Patricia.  So cheered by your words =-)

Maria Clara

I delight in the photos that you take and post for us to see! It has occurred to me, that I don't see any weeds growing in your gravel, how do you manage that?

Pam Luckey

Loved this post, Kristin!
Keep up your wild gardening. The loveliest thing about owning our own property is the fact that we may do as WE please, and not as others prefer. Permaculture is a refreshing departure from what' s ordinary.
And your photography is just great!

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