Tristesse: sadness in French. Goodbye Uncle Rusty


"Bird on a French Limb" (c) Kristin Espinasse. I hope the folks over at Cinema Verite don't mind my sharing this photo. I will make it up to them this year—just as soon as we are completely "un-snow-bound"... and I can get out to the local villages and photograph the French towns!

France & Monaco Rentals France and Monaco Rentals. Exclusive Vacation Rental Properties throughout France.

défavorisé (day-fahv-or-ee-zay) adjective

    : disadvantaged

Update: in case you missed it—I posted a cooking video yesterday... co-starring Smokey! See it in the story column, here or at Youtube. Some of you asked what kind of video camera I use: the ultraHD camcorder, "Flip" -- I love it!

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

Yesterday flew by and thank goodness for that—for we worked dehors, beside the snow, bundled behind gloves, coats and, for some, a woolen hat!

                         (bottles to be filled with Domaine Rouge-Bleu rosé...)

We were busy with another wine bottling, or mise-en-bouteilles and, what with friends here to help, we hardly felt the pain as the day whittled itself away.

                                                          Cathy and me.

Busy packing boxes with rosé wine for exportation, we might have finished in half the time... were it not for the electrical situation...


Our farm being the last on the electricity line... we had to make do with what was left of the village "juice". What with all the other freezing farmhouses ahead of ours, and snowbound families trying to keep warm inside, electric consumption was up... as extra heaters got turned on and coffee pot percolated for yet another soothing cup.


And so it was that machine power out there in the snow was stop and go—this, when it wasn't excruciatingly slow!

"Oh, a cup of coffee... wouldn't that be nice?" I entreated my husband who replied "no dice!"

       Jean-Marc--scheduling, programing, orchestrating this wine bottling

There was no question of firing up so much as a 900 watt coffee pot, not when we needed all available electricity for our bottling machines... where juices—both electric or grape—were a precious commodity... unlike cappuccino. Of this there'd be no debate!

Comments are the best part of French Word-A-Day. Thanks for leaving yours here.

Why not email today's story to a friend?


Ian helped us at the vineyard before heading home to Vienna.

French Vocabulary and Audio File :
Note: our Francophone kids are at school and my French husband is bottling wine again today... so you are stuck with my reading these French words of the day! Listen in Download Wav or Download MP3

Étant la dernière ferme sur la ligne d'éléctricité... on était bien défavorisé!
Being the last farm on the electricity line... we were truly disadvantaged!

défavorisé = disadvantaged
dehors =  outside
la mise-en-bouteille (f) = bottling

Thanks for visiting our sponsors!

Language & Life in the blissful Luberon Valley. French immersion, lavender tours, the Avignon Festival & more visit Language in Provence

Provence Dreamin? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Cote du Rhone.

Les portes tordues (The Twisted Doors): The Scariest Way in the World to Learn and Listen to French! Check it out (if you dare).


Learn French with Fluenz software Learn French with Fluenz French.

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (my dad and belle-mère love theirs!).
  Check out Kindle here. Kindle

Eiffel Tower cookie cutter handcrafted by artisans to last for generations Cookie cutter

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking.


A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Ah, how we take electricty for granted. I never thought of it in the process of winemaking! Keep up the good work and when will you get ut of this deep cold and snow? Is that normal for your area? I expect it in Ohio, but France?!

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

Oh, that lovely rose makes me think of summer evenings. I'll have to plan a drive up to Martinsville, NJ to pick up some Domaine Rouge-Bleu soon.

Patricia Anzalone

Loved Smokey's cooking show. I imagine that he is not helping in the wine making process because he is washing the dishes!
Patricia in cold northwestern Virginia, looking forward to possible 50 degrees later today! I smell spring.

Ophelia Paine

I too loved the cooking show, and Smokey is such a sweet companion! Kristin, I think I am abonnée to Cinéma Vérité but I have forgotten how to access it. When you have a moment (no hurry), please tell me whether I am or not and I will be happy to sign up if not.

Still cannot believe all the snow you have gotten.... Surely it's a record. And your photos are spectacular.

Diane Scott

Ah! Last but certainly not least! Your situation does remind me of that Campbell's chicken soup commercial where the bowl gets passed from hungry child to hungry child until the last little one at the table is left with what he thinks is nothing but the bare broth until, VOILA, a morsel of chicken is discovered to stoke the energy! Mmm, Mmm, GOOD!

Eileen deCamp

I know it is hard work but it also looks like so much fun, especially with friends around to help and chat with during the process! That would be another fun episode for your video series....wine process from grape to bottle.
Eileen from Charlottesville, VA where it is supposed to be 57 degrees today!

Annette Heath

Your pictures are so touching and beautiful that I imagine you with a camera around your neck at all times. I am overcome with the photo of that dear little bird on a branch in the snow. I so wish I knew what kind of bird he/she is...so tiny, so rotund. Thank you for capturing that most precious moment. I once saw an Eastern Bluebird on my deck in North Carolina; I dropped everything and I think I stopped breathing for a few moments. He stayed for only moments and I have never seen another. What a gift!! Amities, Annette

Barbara Hall

Kristin - It was so wonderful to hear your voice in today's audio download!!!

Candy in SW KS

Tu peux faire des rimes dans n'importe quelle langue! Chouette! Moi aussi, j'adore les mots et les vers. Merci, mon amie, qu'il me faut rencontrer dans la vie!
Un beau matin dans SW KS. (I am taking my Maman to my favorite Mexican restaurant today for lunch.) Je vous souhaite une bonne journee et bon weekend! Ciao!

Bill in St. Paul

Maybe Jean-Marc should invest in a generator. As he should know, any problem or project always presents the opportunity to buy another toy...er, tool.


Love your posts and learning so much about a place I've never seen but certainly dream about. I have ordered the Kindle and the Eiffel Tower cookie cutter - love the sponsors!

Jeanne Robinson

I too was surprised to read of your dearth of electrical power. Some enterprising Frenchman needs to look into harnessing all that mistral-power with a windmill (or would it be called a mistralmill?).

My computer crashed last month and I lost my link to Cinema Verite. Perhaps my subscription has since expired. Any suggestions?

It is cool and rainy here today in NW Oregon. This has not hampered our large bird population, and your opening photo reminds me of the little wrens and finches that visit our feeders. Also lots of chicadees, Stellars Jays, flickers, etc., but the huge surprise has been a group of three peacocks, residents of a neighbor's yard, that fly up on our deck to peck at sunflower seeds from the feeders.

Candy in SW KS

Michele, you will LOVE the Kindle! It's a wonderful invention - and it doesn't need electricity! :) And I definitely want the Eiffel Tower cookie cutter. How "adorable"!


I love the cooking video, loved your sous-chef, and hope you do more.I've tried both your direct link and You Tube, but I can only see part of the video--surely you didn't stop before actually putting the lentils on to cook, right? What's wrong?

Your photos are, comme d'habitude, perfectly beautiful.

Hope you get to go grocery shopping soon!

It's sunny and 58 degrees here in No. California today, but we're told that an enormous storm system is soon to arrive and to prepare for getting a whole season's rainfall in ten days.Widespread flooding and tons of snow in the Sierras will be accompanied by very strong winds. Yikes!

Jacqui McCargar

I wish I could be there to help with the bottling of that luscious Domaine Rouge-Bleu rosé even though I was a couple of weeks too late to help pick those grapes. It was so much fun tasting the ever changing rosé daily while we were there harvesting. Well, hope all goes well, Bonne mise-en-bouteilles!! I can't wait until the 2009 Mistral is ready to bottle, maybe I can get back for that! Nice day here in Santa Rosa, Ca...battening down the hatches for the coming super-storms due to start Sunday


Dear Kristin,

The French bird on the french branch is stunningly beautiful! Love the vineyard photo...looks like it is waiting for spring, and the bottle moving up the hill look pretty cute too.

I know it is all a lot of work but looks mighty good when one works in an office.

BTW, please go to:

You were tagged by MOI to do a little web assignment. I hope you do it.

It is mixed weather here but mostly nice. They say we are in between rains.



Reading Annette and Jeanne's comments regarding the bird photo, I have to add my own. Your little bird reminds me of the bluebirds that invaded my yard a few months back--dozens of what I guess are rotund little Western bluebirds everywhere. One even perched on the screen and peered at me through my office window! What a treat! I was told it was their migration time--must be true to see so many at once. Weatherwise, the golf courses here on the Colorado Front Range are gearing up for a big weekend. It's supposed to be sunny and close to 60 degrees, as it has been much of this past week. I hope you west coast contributors will have some pity and send snow this way. We're going skiing with a couple of dozen friends from all over the country late next week and conditions aren't the greatest. Sorry, Kristin, I guess I'm not very sympathetic vis a vis your recent snowbound situation!


Now when I breeze into Union Square Wines to pick up that delicious rose, I will have a whole new appreciation for it!! Thank you for putting in all that hard -and cold- work!
No snow here: It's finally warmed up in NYC...45 degrees today. I can walk around without every bit of skin covered up!


I thought that Jeanne's comment about a windmill sounded perfect especially since you have the Mistral. Even a generator would be good to have on hand, but you'd probably need a couple of them for all of the machines.

I didn't realize that you'd be doing la mise-en-bouteille at this time of the year - c'est dommage- especially with the bad weather.

Today in Connecticut is it warmer for a few days - 30F - 40F, but we still have snow on the ground. We also have one or two families of deer hanging around. They are beautiful until they eat my garden, then I have to chase them away. Today was also a bird day - pileated woodpecker about 12" long - a blue bird and a Downey woodpecker along with the usual Warblers, Wrens, Blue Jays, Tufted Titmouse and Morning Doves, just to name a few.

Diane Scott

Le petit oiseau looks like a tufted titmouse -- a most precious, energetic little guy in the garden! I miss Newforest! She (he?) would let us know exactly the little one's genus and species!

Sally in WA

You need to perfect the art of making coffee over an open flame! Just remember to put soap all over the outside of the coffee pot first as that will aid you when it comes time for washing up!

Marianne Rankin

Smokey has grown a lot! And is so well-mannered: he didn't try to grab the jambon in the video. Watching it made me hungry; I'll try the recipe.

I was surprised you were bottling the wine in the middle of winter. Doesn't that usually take place closer to the harvest time? Or does it sit and "age" for a while first? Maybe the ageing could be timed so you don't have to do the mise-en-bouteille in the snow?

In any case, with your or anyone's wines, the next time I drink any, I will stop to think of all the effort that went into the production of it. I'm sure most folks have no idea how involved it is. Merci!

John Carr

No wonder you have no juice, you have all these cute electronic gadgets (which I now want too!) plus a launderette in the box packing room.
The snow has all gone in the Limousin, France seems back to front this year.
Bon courage Kristin

Stacy Sinibaldi

I have a question about defavorise. Is the feeling of the word simply an "out of luck" sort of thing or can it be stronger? I am thinking of the situation in Haiti. Could this word apply to those people or is there another stronger word that would be more appropriate?

fran Martin

Here in the far North(wisconsin) we rejoice when the temperature goes above 20F! I just spent 5 days trying to unfreeze the "frostfree" water hydrant in my horsebarn. My brilliant friend figured out how(nontoxic antifreeze poured down it,a little at a time).
Bluebirds mysteriously appear on our snowy deck when the sun comes out.

Jean S.

Dear Kristin and Friends: Here in Lansing, MI, our snow is very old and disappearing; a heat wave of 40 degrees is expected. About "defavorise": the tragedy in Haiti certainly is worth our donations,prayer and attention. Does anyone in the FWAD group know some Creole? We have homeless and unemployed here in this capitol city as well;nothing like Haiti,but we do cook and share food with them. Your video was so very special, and Smokey, our movie star, so endearing, It would be good if we could share it, and your bird photo, with all those who are "defavorise". It would cheer them up, and give them hope.

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Dear Friends,

Just a little note for who may wonder why we are bottling so early and in the snow.
We are bottling the rosé since it is now ready and the earlier we bottle the better it will be for the first warm days. Also, it usually takes 6 weeks to have it in the US stores which put us around Spring time.

Now the date : Since I hire a bottling truck, I have to choose 3 months ahead the bottling date since I always pick a fruit day in the calendar, as I work biodynamically. It happened to be in the middle that snow period and we have hopefully made it.

Another subject that might interest you linked with snow is the impact of snow on the vines :
It is actually a real blessing since it makes them hibernate longer, kills the remaining fungus and gently drains the soils. More on this in my last post at http://a-la-recherche-du-vin.typepad.com/rouge_bleu/2010/01/white-gold.html




For the next electrical rationing, you need one of those old timey coffee pots that you can put over a fire.

Not one of those fancy Bialetti or other high falutin' designs, but something old and battered that a cowboy (thinking of Jack Palance's Curly from City Slickers) would put on the fire. I wonder what everyone over there would make of cowboy coffee? Wondering that myself, come to think of it!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)