How to say "leash" in French: laisse


A kind of borie (there is a well inside) exists peacefully in the field above us, here in our new domain--where olive trees grow. Beyond, Jean-Marc will plant grapes, appellation Bandol. He'll tell you about that later. Today, read a letter from the new owners of Domaine Rouge-Bleu! The story column follows.

la fourmi (for-me)

    : ant

More fourmi terms, expressions, and whatnots (add your own in the comments box):

l'Homme-Fourmi = Ant Man, a superhero
faire un travail de fourmis = to do a job meticulously well
la Cigale et la fourmis = The Cicada and the Ant (read the famous fable in French and in English) 
avoir des fourmis dans les jambes
 = to be restless (antsy), wanting to move on; also, to have a prickling sensation in the legs or, dans les bras (in the arms)

Reverse dictionary:
to have ants in one's pants = ne pas tenir en place 

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence, from Wikipedia: Download MP3 or Wav file 

La fourmi d'Argentine(Linepithema humile),originaire d'Amérique du Sud, forme une supercolonie qui va des côtes italiennes aux côtes espagnoles en passant par la France. The Argentinian ant, originating from South America, makes up a supercolony that goes from the Italian coast to the Spanish coast, passing through France.

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

Aimless—now there might have been a good word of the day... but for the ants! And, anyway, instead of focusing on my current weakness (floundering), I'd do better to turn my eyes toward another's strength: that of the Argentinian fourmi.

La fourmi d'Argentine, with which we share our new environment, is anything but aimless. Watch them trail up my nightstand, about to circle the rim of my tea cup (is it the miel they're after?); see them scale the sack of croquettes de chien—to Smokey and Braise's dismay! Notice the tickling sensation as they march over your eyelids, at naptime. Gently reach up and brush them away. They're harmless enough (they don't bite).

Observe how they advance, nose-to-tail, neatly along the outdoor clothesline. I tried plucking them off one by one—tiny things!—only to give in by throwing the sheets, the shirts, the jeans and the socks right over them.  (Sounds mean but I knew they'd bounce back.) Returning several hours later to collect the dried laundry, I see the invaders have lost no time re-establishing their queue along the tops of the flung sheets. I have to brush them off as I fold the laundry, there on a table beneath a wise old olivier. (Do olive trees snicker? or is that just the rustling of branches?) Invariably, a dozen or so ants hold on, no matter how wildly I shake the linens, and are so carried into the house to be transferred into our sock drawers and our armoires. For a time the ant-agonists will be dispersed and in the dark. This much we have in common.

This time last year I had no idea our little colony would be moving. The harvest ended, autumn, too, and at the start of the new year my husband admitted he wanted, needed rather, to move on. I was very unhappy, at the time, about this decision. But it happened fast as that, fast as my swooping up those ant-laden sheets and carrying them into the house with the dried socks, the jeans and things. 

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There in the tiroirs and the armoires, squashed between the newly-dried linens, the ants are disoriented—but quickly working themselves back into formation. Jean-Marc is too. He's got a new permit to grow vines, this time appellation Bandol, and he's quickly re-establishing his personal and professional contacts after leaving the area 17 years ago, when our son was not yet 6 months old.

I should be so industrious. Instead I avoid my computer station and wonder, instead, What I will do today? In which direction do I set out? 

If I were to opt, this morning, to march along the clothesline... and you, dear reader, were to opt to throw a sheet over me, I might just lie peacefully beneath it--grateful for the empêchement, or obstacle. (I could teach this trick to the ants!)

Not to sound sad or even regretful--oh no! I am enjoying this new environment very much--how quickly it now feels like home! And I am relieved by this current break from the thrice-weekly newsletter, which, apart from the storm it takes to create it, takes up a lot of time to maintain.

This break is giving me more time with my family--especially my daughter, who is having a harder time than anticipated integrating into a new school. As for Max, the one who was supposed to be depressed by the move, he is doing fine. He's signed up for boxing in Bandol and he is eyeing the girls at school! 

Tomorrow my Mom arrives, clad in Frida. That ought to shake things up. See you next week with the scoop. Meantime, here's another view of that cape--at the end of this post.



 To leave a comment, please click here. Thanks for your positive letters and comments. We will try to answer many of your questions in the upcoming posts!


  Bar toutous

The day of the double-signing we gathered, afterward, at the new house. Almost everyone involved in the transactions was present: our buyers, Caroline and Thomas, our sellers, Maggie and Michael, our notaire, the Safer representatives, and our realtor. It was a unique moment!

We are so grateful to Maggie and Michael Moss, and to Maggie's brother, Ian, for allowing us to buy their home--after collecting memories there for nearly half a century.

Jean-Marc opened one of those big bottles of champagne...

Another view of that borie that we saw in the opening photo. Our home is just below, to the right. We might plant fruit trees in this spot. What to you think? They might mingle with the fig trees there.

One of the fun gifts that Maggie and Mike and Ian left was a well organized store room. I delight in returning everything to its place, each time I use something new. More photos to come.

The balcony off our bedroom looks over the oliveraie. The Mediterranean forest is alive, this morning, with hunters. I think I'll be driving Jackie to school, instead of taking the little path beside the forest. Yesterday, the sound of gunfire began when we were half-way to school, and I had to sing all the way home "je passe... je passe, la-la-la... JE PASSE!" I'm passing by, I'm passing by--la-la-la--I'M PASSING BY!

Jackie, swinging from the fig tree outside our home, is doing much better. The kids at her school are so warm and welcoming. And she loves her class, feels so fortunate! It's just that she really really misses her friends. The tears just won't stop flowing. "You are such a good friend!" I tell her. It cheers her and she is looking forward to showing her longtime friends around. Always look forward, sweet girl!

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An Update on Domaine Rouge-Bleu, which we sold last month to a wonderful Franco-Australian couple. Meet Caroline and Thomas, below, and be sure to subscribe to their Domaine Rouge-Bleu Facebook page  (click here) to keep up with their first year on the vineyard--may many more follow! 

Bonjour a tous! Hello all!

Merci to Kristi for posting this little message allowing us to say a warm hello and assure you all that Domaine Rouge Bleu shall continue with the same spirit that it was given by Jean-Marc and Kristi, Max and Jackie, Braise and Smokey, and by you all, whether you have been to visit, tasted a bottle, helped with les vendanges or followed the experiences here on French Word-A-Day.

We shall continue to host tastings underneath the mulberry tree, starting with Saturday 22nd September at 4.30pm (this will be in the middle of the harvest, so you can see the winery in action). Also, watch out for a re-vamped website (coming soon). Meanwhile, feel free to contact us via email for any more information:

Caroline@rouge-bleu.com, or Thomas@rouge-bleu.com

Finally, bonne chance to la famille Espinasse for their exciting new life by the sea, and thank you for entrusting us with this wonderful place. We will miss you in Sainte Cecile!

Caroline & Thomas

Don't miss Caroline and Thomas's Domaine Rouge-Bleu Facebook page -- with photos and updates about their exciting vineyard adventure.


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