Moving to Mexico : voler de ses propres ailes
Tarte Tomate : that seasonal French recipe you love and have been asking for!

Something the French never eat & our first official wine harvest


Our son, Max, delivering more cases to the harvesters, who will empty their buckets of grapes inside.

TODAY'S WORD: réchauffer

    to heat, reheat
    to warm up
    to encourage

Réchauffer le coeur de quelqu'un = to console or comfort someone

ECOUTER: "Kristi a réchauffé toutes les pizzas. Kristi reheated all the pizzas. Download Rechauffer


    by Kristi Espinasse

Jean-Marc and I don't see eye-to-eye on many of the wine harvest details. But no matter how different our opinions are, there's one thing I know for sure: my husband is, and will always be, Chief Grape. My job is to support the farmer and winemaker and to keep my own anxieties at bay during his critical vendange! A very emotional harvest at that, given we do not know if we will be here in one year's time--a period of doubt having settled in over these past six months.

Our last harvest or not, it is still extremely difficult not to freak out when Chief Grape will not tell me how many people are showing up for harvest lunch. Exasperated by my constant drilling, Jean-Marc made the decision to order pizza. But if there is one person who can complicate pizza, it's You Know Who.

"So you are going to order it the night before? And store it in the fridge? But the French don't like cold pizza!" I pointed out.

"It won't be cold. You can set it out a few hours early and it will come to room temperature!"

"But the ants will get to it by then!"

On and on we went, until it dawned on me I could  get off The Crazy Hamster Wheel whenever I chose to. I could stop worrying.  I could put into practice the helpful acronym KISS:


As it turned out, there were twice as many people than expected. And, as wildly imagined, they preferred their pizza hot!

Seeing my distress, Jean-Marc's buddy, Nico, seemed to understand the acronym KISS, too. He suggested that if anyone bothered me again for hot pizza, to tell them to just KISS it! (Only he used a more colorful French expression! No, I'm not going to tell you which one!)

But when Nico himself reached for a hot slice as I ran by with the sizzling pies, I realized the French really are particular about the temperature of certain foods!

Hurrying back and forth from the front porch to the oven, my friend Cyn and I delivered la pizza réchauffée, after struggling with the cheap plastic (free with purchase) pizza cutter to divide it (burning our fingers off in the process). The red floor tiles of this farmhouse were covered with clumps of dirt from everyone trekking in to use the restroom. Each time I looked at the mess it reminded me how out of control things were. Here and there, sticky globs of fig were evidence that some people had taken dessert into their own hands--enjoying fresh fruit from the giant tree by the pétanque court. The fallen figs had gotten smashed into their shoes and were now being trekked--along with the dirt and a coat of our dog's fur (Smokey's entire body wags with joy when guests are here)--across the floor inside the house.

Looking down at the floor which was thick with clumps of dirt, I felt that familiar tightening in my throat. The heatwave, the hot oven, the dirty floors, the polite needs of our harvesters (Do you have another band-aid? More hot pizza? Any more cold water?)....everything was spinning out of control.

Running back to the sink, where I had been trying to filter water from a one-liter carafe to all those empty water bottles, my eyes caught sight again of the dusty, sticky floors--only this time everything came to a standstill.

A peacefulness came over the room. The dusty floors began to blur. Looking up, I saw dusty vineyard fields. I was now remembering the scene from 5 hours earlier, before even the sun had risen, when Jean-Marc's friends began to show up, one by one, to the scorched grape fields. Some even brought their children. All brought an unspoken message: We are here to help you at this difficult time.

Back on the front porch I reached for a slice of hot pizza as Cynthia sped by, and sat down to experience first hand what the French so honorably call la solidarité. Though it hurts not knowing whether or not we will continue with this vineyard (and farmhouse-garden) dream, there is no feeling that compares to the catharsis of manifested solidarity--of two dozen friends holding up, with their nicked, scraped, grape-stained hands, an exhausted farmer and his wife.

And if we are here for the next harvest--si Dieu le veut--I will make pasta salad next time! That's one thing the French will eat at room temperature :-)

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More pictures from our harvest here on Instagram

Our friends Cynthia and Ian


Selected products
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BRITA WATER FILTER - I used this one for our harvest! Here are some good water filtering pitchers. Click here to order one.

Colorful Foutas - perfect gift : quick dry towels for camping, sauna, gym, massage, water park--and they make very pretty table cloths, too! Click here to order.

French groceries: Carte d'Or coffee, berlingots candies, cassoulet and more. Click here.

Beautiful French Kitchen Towels by Garnier-Thiebaut. Order here.

Paris Peace T-shirt - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty. Click here

Did you read the previous story about my Mom's move? Don't miss it, click here.

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