Superhero in French & What SDF stands for
Adieu Mas des Brun: Last dispatch from the vineyard & Ratatouille recipe!

Finally, Some News: We are now squatters...

These are now the good old days. Yesterday we drove 2 hours north, to the notary's office, to meet 9 people involved in our complicated, 4-hour transfer of property. Ça y est! We've sold our home and vineyard! We move on August 21st... (Photo by the previous previous owners of this stone mas, the Fraser and Moss family. Thank you, Maggie and Michael, for selling us your home in August of 2012 and for all you did to help us along the way. Thanks especially for your support in turning this page.).

un grigri

    : a signature, a scribbles signature

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence in French

Click here

Hier, nous sommes allés à Sarrians, pour faire plein de petits grigris chez le Notaire pour signer la vente de notre vignoble.
Yesterday we went to Sarrians, to do a lot of signatures at the notary's to approve the sale of our vineyard.


"Holy Sow! What Now?"

    by Kristin Espinasse

In two weeks we will wake up in La Ciotat, this whole tender histoire behind us. I won't go into the story of 5 thrilling, beautiful, and difficult years at our made from scratch vineyard, because I have a sanglier in the oven and boxes to pack!

While clearing the cellier, that pig was one of the surprises we encountered (they don't mention wild boars in ANY of those decluttering articles I've been reading). The giant gigot (one of many given to us over the years by a local chasseur) was discovered in the congélateur, followed by a shuddering "Holy Sow! What now?"

My conscience whispered, "To toss it is to let that pig die in vain!"

Common sense barked, "Just cook it!"

Just cook it? For 4 hours--during France's heatwave? Surely that was NOT the voice of reason speaking!

Along with all the other moving-houses chaos in my mind, I've been preoccupied about just how we'll eat that giant hairy cuisse. Until I remembered the new owners of this house are coming by tomorrow night. I guess we won't be offering them a humble slice of We-can't-cook-cuz-we're packing Pizza!

Mon Dieu. The new owners of this house.... That makes us squatters! Nothing but two sweaty squatters cooking a giant pig in somebody else's oven. A further irony is that neither Jean-Marc nor I want to eat that poor beast!

This episode caused us to re-think our need for a 6-drawer freezer and other follies of consumption and accumulation we are currently dealing with. May we learn from our mistakes. Can you, dear reader, relate?


le grigri = signature  (slang)  
le sanglier = wild boar
le cellier = pantry, larder, storeroom, cellar
le gigot = leg, thigh
le congélateur = freezer
le chasseur = hunter
la cuisse = leg and thigh
Cuisse sanglier wild boar thigh
One great joy of living here at the vineyard has been this kitchen window, where our golden retriever, Smokey, hangs out while I cook. More memories from our vineyard here.

TABLECLOTH, Provence-themed - see a selection.

LAGUIOLE  steak knives are for sale in many of the local French market stands. Order here.

FRENCH KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut. Order here.

Espadrilles -  seen them everywhere in the south of France and elsewhere! Click here.

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


La Tarte Tomate. Here's that Tomato Tart recipe you keep asking for this time of year! Click here

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


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Leaving the "familiar" is never easy. We feel safe there. Going forward is difficult but we all must do this in our lifetimes. Bon chance for your future! Christine

John H Abeles MD

A thigh is just a thigh... as times go by...




Selling up and moving top the league tables (proved by research) for inducing stress. Is it any wonder? But bon courage - which I know you all have. And much love and best wishes. I feel very relieved as it's been quite a tightrope we have walked, waiting and watching and praying for A Good Move for you. Way to go of course but fingers and toes tightly crossed.

Jane G.

I returned to US after 20 years living in Montreal. Yes, It will be an adjustment but you will be successful. You are bringing your culture, energy with you. I realized also that one needed "40 work quarters" to be eligible for social security on retirement. Forty quarters is 10 years of employment. You can achieve this goal. I believe you will have a bright future where ever you are. Seize the day and enjoy! Bon chance!

Cheryl Alters Jamison

Kristin & Jean-Marc,
Wishing you the very best in this new chapter of your life together. I am smiling, thinking of the sanglier we shared at your table, back when Bill was still here with us. I do know that as doors close, new ones open, full of different opportunities. I can't wait to see what you will do next. Lots of love from Santa Fe!

Judy Arrieta

Thanks so much for your blog posts. I enjoy them very much. Good luck with your move and your new life.


This home was made of love and dreams, may your next home be a beautiful place of more of the same! Blessings.


I eat no meat so I understand. Fours hours! Wow!


I get it. I eat no beasts. Four hours. Wow!

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)


Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

Yes. I can relate. Our big, open deck has only a single olive tree in a pot on it. it would look beautiful cleverly furnished but every time i think of purchasing, i think of moving again. So, for four years now it has been bare. You sound like you are working your way towards a happy medium.

Marika Ujvari

You are in my prayers, dear Kristi and I wish you all the best!!!
Love - Marika

Alyssa Eppich

Phew! is all I can say. The end of your pilgrimage is near, Kristi, and I can't help but be happy for the Espinasse family! Fingers crossed for you here in Maine.

Anne Jewett

Bon Voyage!! Hope all goes well and please send pictures of your new home. All will be well.


Finally!! This has been a Hugh struggle for you and Jean-Marc but you can now begin the next chapter in your very adventurous life. I recently worked for a friend who has a senior moving business (no dearth of work here in Florida) and saw first hand what people hold onto yet don't need or use as time goes by. Consequently, i have winnowed down my possessions and question each new purchase. A good practice, I feel. Kristi, we who love you and your family wish for you a smooth transition to La Ciotat and many happy years in your new abode. Pictures, please!

Pam Horovitz

We planted our four acre vineyard five years ago, and it is finally looking great and yielding lovely Merlot grapes. I injured my hand severely last fall during harvest (got it stuck in our crusher destemmer), which forced us to consider whether or not we could keep going if one of us could not help with the work. It was one of the most difficult of discussions. We had put so much sweat into getting it this far. So I truly understand how difficult the decision to sell must have been, and how your move to Ciotat is a mixture of relief and pain. Thank you for sharing all this so bravely with us. Beaucoup de courage et bonne chance!
Pam and Jed


Bon voyage! Did you realize that you're moving the day of the total eclipse in the majority of the US? It's a good omen, huh?

Nyla Witmore

There is a saying..."You can live on less....when you have more to live for." Surely this describes your new adventures ahead without the baggage of freezers etc. Makes me want to rush to my utensil drawer to see what I DON'T need, but thought I did at one time.


Congratulations on the completing the sale! Mixed feelings notwithstanding, it must be such a relief to have that done. Very best wishes as you continue in the hard work of culling/packing. I hope that many wonderful memories will sustain you as you work, and go with you as you move into this new chapter of your life!

Frances Ryan

Pan, I do hope you are healing from your accident and finding the "new" you in life. We can certainly relate. One never knows what's around the corner. Kristen's blog certainly places life in a positive perspective despite it's ups and downs!

Gwyn Ganjeau

Kristin, I hope you and Jean-Marc are finding comfort and pride in the fact that you are leaving the mas a better and improved place. you left a beautiful and important mark. that land needed you and at the time you needed it as well. and now you need something else! you participate so actively in your own evolution -- many people try to ignore changing impulses, but they are important things to acknowledge. and i don't necessarily think that when those changes happen we should consider what came before a 'mistake'.... it served it's purpose at the time and was in some way important. there are times when a 6-drawer freezer is important! and now on to the 'less is more' phase. I so look forward to watching the developments. I have no doubt that you will use each opportunity in a thoughtful and creative way. salud!

Ellen A.

Pare down as much as you can. Put some memorabilia in storage if you don't have time to sort through it now, but don't keep any more clothing or possessions past the bare minimum. You and Jean-Marc will feel so happy, and young, and free again without the encumbrances. You have such a wonderful heart and aesthetic sense, Kristi, that you will make a beautiful home wherever you are. Take care of yourselves and get enough sleep during the move. Best of luck!


Sad to leave on the one hand, but what an immense relief to finally have it done!


May health and happiness follow you into your new home in a gem of a place..forever and a day:)

John Hawke

You're off on the next Big Adventure!

Julie Farrar

Bon courage! I know last year when we moved it was heartbreaking. Yes, our old house was falling apart and needed someone younger to live there and do the work. However, I had put so many hours into making our garden something that would stop people walking by. But I've turned the page and slowly this new place is feeling like home as each light fixture gets replaced or picture gets hung.

We moved quickly and didn't have much time to declutter, so even a year later I'm going through boxes. I like doing it slowly because I have rediscovered all sorts of treasures that had been hidden or that now have a better home in our new place. While my home will never be considered "minimalist," by the time I'm done everything you find in the house will definitely have a use or a meaning. I suggest you go to Pinterest to get ideas. For example, I found great ways to display all the kids' art I had saved for almost 20 years that means I'm ready to toss the overflow.

Bon chance and bon courage!

Sue Lennox

Kristi and will love and embrace simplifying your lives. But---how we will miss your adventures at Mas des Brun!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

What a significant five years your home at Mas des Brun represents. You realized your dreams of a vineyard and garden and found that Mother Nature is indeed difficult to deal with. You have shared your home with your families and friends (and your readers, thank you!). Your children have ventured out into the world from this home. And Smokey and Braise enjoyed romping throughout. It must have been a beautiful place and life for Braise during her last days. For everything there is a time and season...

And the next season and the life and changes it will bring you. Bon courage!

Audrey Wilson

Love it John !!


Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc, I am reminded of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's, Gifts from the Sea, as you prepare for your move. Thank you for allowing me to follow your journeys and your feelings as you move from one place to another. What a sign to have this move take place on the day of a total eclipse! I so anticipate hearing about your new adventures in your home of new light.


Audrey Wilson

Oh how i relate ! Although our move was from the UK to here on the Conflent & to a partly( very !) restored agriculture barn. I look forward to your posts about your new home If later you’d like some Acanthus seeds I am being bombarded with them from my Acanthus !
Bonne appetite for the Sanglier ( I love it) & a good move on the 21st

Judy Feldman

I love Chris Allin's post. I wish you & Jean-Marc bonne chance with your upcoming move. I'm sure you will make your next home as enchanting as the mas, and. Not wait to read about it!


Lovely town you will be living in, Kristi. The first time I heard of La Ciotat was when I met une Ciotadenne in my train for Cassis. She offered to take my husband and me to see her ville, La Ciotat, le lendemain. Quelle aubaine! of course, we accepted her invitation.

Anne and Edward Bornet

Yes, this will be a new adventure. But life is so dull without adventure. Moving is always difficult. Have you shown us pictures of the new home in La Ciotat? If yes, what was the date of the post.

Eileen deCamp

Congrats Kristi and Jean Marc! Best wishes on this new chapter in your lives!

Judi in Lake Balboa

What a great saying!! I'm going to remember that as I attempt to 'simplify!'

Leslie in Oregon

Thank you for sharing your time at Mas des Brun with us. We will miss those stories (to be transformed into your next book someday?) but look forward to what you tell us about life in La Ciotat. How is Smokey doing these days (especially with the heat wave and the moving tumult)? What is he wearing in the photograph above? With every best wish for smooth move and smoother sailing thereafter, Leslie

Kristin Espinasse

Smokey is wearing a t-shirt to protect his stitches. He had another bad lump removed. 

Kristin Espinasse

Chris, What a lovely recapture of our time here! Thank you--and to everyone who commented here today--for your touching words. 💛💛💛


Vous devrez lire The Life changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. C'est vraiment Life changing😀

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Yes, Chris Allin commented for me too, Kristi -- good thing all of Us in your Band of Blog-fans are a cinch for you two to 'pack' and cart along to your new home. Nice too that we represent no clutter whatsoever (I hope) but rather a chorus of caring and encouraging friends who are so truly WITH you. Beautiful that this move, which began as a thorn in your comfy shoes, has become half of a fait-accompli as you cross a new threshold. Your next year will continue the liminal phase, I suspect, so may it all unfold to your liking day by day. No matter what, your grace in wrangling major changes will see you through. ~ With warm hugs from Canada!


Une autre page de tournée, une nouvelle vie va commencer!
Bonne chance

Kathy La Force

Bitter sweet!

Mary and Rod Neely

Can't wait to read the next chapter, Kristi! All the best to you Jean Marc and family


Home is truly where your heart is!! All the best to you both with the move ( and the cuisse!!!)

Bises, Joanne


Did I miss the grand reveal? Have we seen your new home yet?

Robert Hyman

Human nature finds comfort in the known and nervous anticipation of the unknown. But
life's journey is a magic exploration and the best is yet to come!!

Wishing you the best
Bon chance


Our dear Kristi and Jean Marc,
First of all,rejoicing at this wonderful news (and!answered prayers!)
There is no doubt that you will embrace this next chapter in your lives as you have each previous one-- and every day-- with faith,courage and laughter.
Chris Allin's beautiful words speak the hearts of us all.
We all are wishing you bon chance filled with hugs and love!
Must also applaud you not letting that gigot die in vain--for cooking and eating the enormous pig even though neither one of you is particularly enthused at the thought.Bravo to you both!Neither Rod nor I much care for game,but we would've done the same.
So happy Smokey is doing well after his lump removal.
What a sweetheart.
Once again we are reminded that dog is God spelled backwards.
May He bless you always!
Natalia XO

I love that you re-posted pictures your memories! I remember those posts because your mom reminded me so much of my mom, so bright and colorful and full of life"s energy. I would forward the posts to my daughters and they "got it" instantly. I also wanted to tell you that I got a great surprise the other day. My daughter and her boyfriend were planning to come out to the desert from LA for a weekend visit. A few weeks before their trip, I asked if they could check out your Mas des Brun rose at the one wine shop where it is sold in LA. I sort of forgot about it and didn't want to ask repeatedly...Low and behold they surprised me with a bottle!! I can only say I have never enjoyed a bottle of wine so much! My future son-in-law spoke with the proprietor and learned all about Jean-Marc and the wine and I shared the history of your blog and pictures with them. We loved and savored the wine. Isn't it true that the wine takes on the character of the wine maker? I feel grateful for the experience that I got to taste a little of your life!


Bon courage, Kristi and Jean-Marc! I hope your move will progress smoothly. Here's to a beautiful new chapter in your lives!

Patricia Sands

Thanks for all the wonderful memories you have left with us from Mas des Brun. What an adventure! And now another begins, with all of us eagerly following along. Et donc, en avant!

Karen Learned

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

I love reading your blog, and want to send you words of encouragement for your move. Several years ago, we moved from our home of 25 years, the house where we raised our children. While we felt some nostalgia at leaving the house where we had spent so much of our family life, we soon learned that the people are what make a house a home. As so many others have mentioned, you are so talented that wherever you live it will reflect your lovely personality, and that of your family. As for being selective in what to take with you, we were pretty ruthless in getting rid of things before we moved. It was a wonderful feeling, not to be encumbered by so many things. We really felt a sense of freedom at having reduced the number of our possessions. Very best of luck in your new home.
Amicalement, Karen


And with change comes growth! I know I know...sometimes we get tired of growing ...until later when we see the gift. I wish U both a smooth transition! Love Nyla's comment!


Another huge step has been taken!! Here's to the next one. May that step find you ensconced in your new life in La Ciotat!! I can't believe amid all the activity and the huge job of moving that you are baking a boar and having company!! You are tireless. I'm very impressed!!! Enjoy your last days at Mas des Bruns and be ready to receive 'a whole new exciting life'!!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you! I have just read your comment aloud to Jean-Marc, and we are delighted by the story. 

Kristin Espinasse

Not yet. I will post pictures when we get there. 💛

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL, USA

Best wishes on your newest endeavor! The biggest decisions are behind you, yes?


We have 31 years here of accumulation!
I feel your pain. Mais bonne chance dan voter novelle maison


I am currently in the process of sorting, discarding, and packing up what I want to keep from my 'life' while simultaneously caring for my 8 month old grandson full time. My home just went on the market and is expected to sell quickly (hopefully) with a quick closing. I feel your pain in every joint, muscle, and bruise created. Sleep deprivation aside, it is freeing to pare down what you no longer need. Best of luck in your move!

Jan Hersh

Congratulations on finalizing your plan. What an adventure you have now...n'est ce pas?


Félicitations et bonne chance ! You and Jean-Marc are an inspiration to everyone who is facing a significant change in their lives. Wishing you all the best as you move on to the next exciting phase!


Good luck to a less stressful life. A chance to enjoy yourselves even more. Mary-Audrey Mellor


Good luck to a less stressful life. A chance to enjoy yourselves even more. Mary-Audrey Mellor


Good luck to a less stressful life. A chance to enjoy yourselves even more. Mary-Audrey Mellor


Good luck to a less stressful life. A chance to enjoy yourselves even more. Mary-Audrey Mellor

Lynn McBride

Felicitations! Onward and upward!

Bruce Taylor

I'm just getting caught up on reading your blogs and would like to comment on the significance of August 21, your moving date, here in the Pacific Northwest. That's the day when the lights went out for over two minutes due to the total eclipse of the sun!

I can see you both turning out the lights at Mas de Brun and being in the dark for a few moments before moving on to your new life in La Ciotat. It is a beautiful village and I know it will be what the doctor ordered in maintaining your health and happiness.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Bruce, for the symbolism you shared. It painted a warm picture in my mind. We are settled,  now, and enjoying this new departure. 

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