Rabbit recipe + How to say DEADLINE in French?
Droit au but: Smokey update

Come to our winetasting Apr. 20th + Smokey's lump

Jean-marc olive tree france vineyard
Jean-Marc, laboring his 1st year vines. He is pushing a motorized plow, or motoculteur avec charrue, the idea being the plow would do most of the work. But as I snapped this photo from the upper field, I heard a lot of French cussing as my husband struggled to direct his new and unwieldy assistant....

Please come to our home, this Monday, 3p.m. for the first dégustation of the season! 10 euro fee. We will try three wines and enjoy some snacks out on our balcony. We will also all lay hands on Smokey! So please come, and help cheer our littlest golden. Please send your confirmation message to me at [email protected]

Déguster (day-goos-tay)

    : to taste

: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following French words: 
Download Deguster or Wav file
Venez déguster mon vin rosé le vingt avril. A bientôt!
Come try my rosé wine this April 20th. See you soon!

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

Smokey could use your thoughts and prayers at this moment, as he is currently in surgery for the removal of a méchant lump (a "mean" lump, as the doctor noted, on examing the bleeding, golf-ball size mass which grew rapidly over the past week).

Our wonder dog came into this world after his mother disappeared for a day in the bustling streets of Marseilles. She returned with a big surprise. Les chiots. Puppies!



We kept Smokey, the only male in a litter of girls, but almost lost him at the age of 2 months -- when he was attacked by two big dogs

Smokey was stapled back together and has learned to live with his handicap (a tongue that hangs out perpetually, making it difficult for him to eat; his astuce, or trick is to chew on his wrists after his meal. Perhaps the chewing produces extra saliva which helps to digest all the croquettes that are stuck in his throat...

Then there was The Attack of the Provencale Vineyard Monster (probably a wild boar, or sanglier, defending her babies). The unlucky run-in left Smokey with giant holes in his already lopsided face. Once again, he was stitched back together.

My dog and I even had joint accidents as in last November, while out on a walk. When a guard dog in a fenced yard burst out of the bushes, Smokey went flying, dislocating my elbow when I could not leg go of the leash


So now one of us has a crooked arm and the other, a crooked face. And up until now, we have been thrilled to walk this crooked path together. Because isn't that the way life is: never straight ahead - always an unexpected bend in the road.

Braise and Smokey, golden retriever dogs
                Smokey and Mama Breizh

Le tout, the most important, is to help each other along as best we can. To be gentle to each other, to find the kind word. To love, forgive, and to sacrifice. Nothing else matters. Everything else makes it difficult to practice these virtues.

Why does it always take a crisis to remember the essential? And then why do we blame ourselves for the fate of our loved ones?

Mon Smokey! You have helped yourself to heal in so many ways. Please, oh, please, use all your wonder dog powers to heal today



Smokey. Photo taken three years ago. But he had that same uncertain look on his face this morning. Please keep our golden boy in your thoughts. Merci beaucoup!

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Carole Fitzgerald

Dearest Kristin and Smokey we are sending out our love to you and healing thoughts. Bonne chance much love to you both from Australia xxx

Ally Davis

Bon Courage a Smokey! Your sweet boy will be in my thoughts!


I love and read your blog everyday. It get to me often but today I am in tears. Sending prayers for you all. I know you will keep us posted. Best. Debra

Annettte Smedley

Dear Kristin, my thoughts are with you and Smokey. xx


This made me cry, Kristin! It is clear to see how much you love your brave Smokey. Sending hugs and prayers to you and Smokey.

Jackie Clark Mancuso

J'envoie mes pensées pour sa meilleure santé.

Jens from Copenhagen

Dear Smokey, Get well soon. Rohan will not be happy to hear this tonight.


Dear Kristin, I read about Smokey through my tears. Will keep him in my prayers.


Sending healing hugs from CT to Smokey and his masters!


Dearest sweet boy, get well soon. Thinking of you. Your words about helping each other along, love and forgiveness, have made me stop and think and want to be a better person. Thank you Kristin. You are in my thoughts and wishes and hope your lovely boy will pull though this. Xxx

Jackie Durham

My thoughts and prayers go out to you. I remember petting and talking to Smokey and got love back. May he be well!

Barbara Zarcone

Dear Kristin,

I'm so sorry to hear about Smokey, I pray his wonder dog ways will get him through this crisis. I await good news.
Smokey and your family are in my prayers and big hugs to you all


margot lansing

Smokey you are in my thoughts. We lost our beloved Golden Tally a year ago-a real member of the family. Thinking of all of you



Pets are so often the ones that ground us. All the best to Mr. Handsome, Smokey, and his beautiful family, "our" brave Wonder Dog, as we feel he is ours, too, having to come to know him through all his adventures and pics. Hope to hear great news soon!


Hi Kristin,
As soon as Smokey recovers, he should write his own book or blog. What an interesting life he leads! I send my best wishes, and hope to see a picture of the patient convalescing in the sun chez les Espinasse very soon.


Thinking of all of you and especially Smokey this morning in Ohio.
Prayers too.


more healing thoughts and prayers for Smokey the wonder dog. Hoping he's already on the road to recovery by the time you read this


Je pense a vous tous.


prayers and thoughts for Smokey and you all, lou


Best wishes, hopes... for a speedy and full recovery.


So very sorry..praying for all!


Smokey, you can pull through! You've done it many, many times before, and this is yet another challenge that you can overcome. We are thinking about you and your family and send our prayers your way. Stay strong and eat well; you will feel better soon!

Mary Ann Boysen

Prayers are with you, Smokey! All the way across the pond.

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Kristi, we're sending our most positive thoughts for Smokey and you -- I know how hard this must be. Please give us good news soon!


Lots of love and prayers for Smokey today and to all of you!

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

LOVE the photo "Whiskers"!

Melissa Ryan

Best wishes for Smokey and the whole Espinasse Family from Pittsburgh!


Wishing on stars for Smokey's full and fast recovery. Thinking of you and Smokey. Bonne chance.


dear sweet smokey

all my prayers are for you today
love you much


Micki W. Simms

Oh, Smokey,

You have all the prayers Chami 🐾 and I can put in our box to mail! 🎈
We find the stories you and your mom provide so endearing. Indeed, use all your puppy powers to come through this with good news on the other side.
We send love and strength to your family who waits for you and hopes for good news.

Micki ♡ and Chami 🐾

Catherine Lee

Love and prayers to Smoky.

Thank you for your wonderful posts, Kristin.
They make my day and make me feel as if I'm
part of your wonderful French family.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Bon courage.


Dog lovers have fears and lumps in their throats perpetually. My Sophie broke away from me this morning, in the dark, on our walk. The cause, a bunny she saw but I didn't. Ran right in front of a car. My heart was where yours Is now.
And mine is there for you.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
This is so profoundly touching that it has left me sobbing and speechless. Praying for sweet, soulful Smokey...


Bon courage a Smokey. I do hope all goes well. I recall reading your account of his terrible (first) trauma. And he rallied so well and has since enjoyed such a happy life chez vous. Here's to many more years! Bises a tous!

Marilyn K

Your post brought tears to my eyes. Dogs are all heart, and they give so much and ask for so little. Today I am giving my thoughts and prayers to Smokey, in hope that healing comes quickly to him.

Evelyn L

Sending lots of hopeful, positive thoughts and energy to Smoky and your family.

John Dale

Kristin and family -- I am so sorry about Smokey. We have had four beautiful Goldens (all now gone sadly) and we are thinking about Smokey and praying for you both. John

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Thoughts and prayers with Smokey and all of you, including his veterinary medical team. Bon courage Smokey!

Kristin, As always, what wonderful words. With just a few lines you captured the essence of the 'everythings' that get in the way of the most important thing. You touch our hearts.

May you all be healthy. May you all be happy. May you all be loved. May you all live in peace.


Smokey's adventures and gallant spirit always deliver a great deal of delight. Wishing your beautiful boy a strong recovery, and love and support to all of you.



Sending so much love to you and Smokey! Please keep us posted.

Bill in St. Paul

Healing thoughts are headed Smokey's way (channeled via Theo).

Bungalow Hostess

Sending thoughts of love and prayers for your dog Smoky. Wishing him a speedy recovery and hope he'll be back in action soon.
Love those pictures, especially the one with the hat!
Take care


Thinking of Smokey and sending healing energy ya'll's way.


Thoughts and prayers for Smokey today.
Waiting impatiently for news.
Dieu est bon ... Romans 8:28
Love and hugs, Kristin x x x

barbara lynch

Bon courage. So hard to see our doggies in pain. Hoping for a full recovery.

Robin Wyatt

Dear Kristin and Smokey,

May your wonderful journey continue, may the love you share bring you both to another page in you hearts, may your souls dance longer on this earth. Much love and prayers from North Carolina to you Smokey and your people who love you dearly!

Love and healing prayers,


Sending positive thoughts to your beautiful dog Smokey,
Be strong - love and support to you all,

Hank Sweet

Keeping my fingers crossed for you Smokey.

Pat Anderson

Blessings to you and your dear Smokey.

Also a Golden lover.

Cassie Alexandrou

Dear Kristin,

As I write this, I'm sure the surgery is over, and I am hoping and praying that all went well for precious Smokey. He is obviously one resilient and tough pup, having survived those awful attacks. I know how much you love your sweet boy and that he and his mama are such an important part of your family and your life. My thoughts are with all of you. Please keep us posted. XO

Diane R Hess

Sending warm healing light that shines on Smokey and is renewed and better than ever. 😘😍😋

Heather in Arles

Sending so much Love to you all and Strength to dear Smokey who is loved so dearly by so many all over the world.

Johanna DeMay

Chère Kristi,

As always, your words touch our hearts. Our hopes and good wishes are with you and your furry child this morning. Much love from Albuquerque,

Johanna & Will

Ellen A. from BH

Dear Kristin,
This was so moving and beautifully written. Could almost see your tears. Thank you for resetting our goals for the day. Will send up a prayer to St. Jude that your dear Smokey will recover and bring many more years of joy and inspiration.

julie camp

Has any dog ever received this much heartfelt attention? Add Julie to this prayer vigil, with love.

Susan Dautel

So hard to read your post today. My French poodle Portia also has a fast-growing lump in her jaw. The vet says surgery will not buy her much time so I am just doing all I can to keep her comfortable and happy. Portia and I send healing thoughts to Smokey, and to the family who loves him.


Dear Sweet Smokey....I feel I know you. Much love and healing thoughts. You'll be in my thoughts today.

janine cortell

Dear Kristin:
You and Smokey are survivors and I am praying that he will survive this latest bend in the road.He is so lucky to have such a wonderful family to see him through this ordeal.
Please keep us posted as we continue to wait for news about Smokey's condition.

Doris C

Praying for Smokey this morning!


Poor Smokey, and poor you!
I'm sure he has a real fighting spirit from all I've read about him. I'm sending positive thoughts and good wishes for a speedy recovery.

Robert Wildau

I always chuckle at how half my Facebook messages feature dogs. I never have had a dog but have somehow come to love yours. I hope he comes through OK.
I thought I was destined always to have a crooked elbow after a fall from a bike three years ago, but my kine at Tour d'Aygosi almost completely straightened it out. It's a long way for you, but I can give you his info. Cheers, Robe-aire


Prayers for you and beloved Smokey coming your way. Xo

Dianna Johnson

My thoughts, prayers, and healing "light" are coming your way. The body has great "Super Healing" powers as Smokey has shown us. My affirmations of super healing go out to you today. ("Super Healing" by Elaine R. Ferguson is a great read.) xxxooo Dianna


Smokey is in my prayers...what a sweet dog. Hope all goes well with the surgery!

We were just in Aix-en-Provence a couple of weeks ago...I looked to see if you had mentioned a wine tasting, but you hadn't...bad timing on our part :-( We even took a day trip to Marseille by train, so maybe a little closer to Bandol. This was our first time in Provence.




Beautiful words, wish I could be there to lay hands on your dear Smokey! But still praying for his complete and total healing. God loves the animals too!


Gypsy Perry

My kindest thoughts and prayers for Smokey and for you, Kristen. How deeply we love our dogs, how they grace our lives in every way.
Gypsy Perry, Texas


We have a houseful of Maine Coon cats, and they all send their love to you and Smokey.

Maxine Bless

Bon courage, Smokey! Sending healing thoughts and wishing you strength!

Julie Farrar

Such a beautiful retelling of Smokey-dokey's remarkable story. And the pictures are all fabulous and do such a great job of capturing his personality. I do hope you've blown up a copy of "Whiskers" and hung it on your wall.


Chère Kristin,
I'll think of you and Smokey in my prayers for his speedy recovery. I hope that the lump turns out not to be as serious as expected. He's survived other mishaps in his life so I'm cheering for him now. Bonne chance! - Lorena

Jane Hoppe

Praying for Smokey and you. This post made me cry. So true.

Linda Bertorello

Our prayers are with you and Smokey today. We just lost our 10 month old Malinois puppy a week ago hopefully you won't have to suffer the pain we are still suffering from our loss. x Linda


A prayer for your angel.

Tish Tyler

Praying for Smokey and your family that all will be good after the surgery. He's a very special boy.

Alyssa Ross Eppich

My prayers, too, for your beautiful Smokey dog, Kristin. I do hope he-and you-are weathering the storm well.


Dear Kristin,
I have been reading your blog for a long time but just had to leave a response today to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your Smokey. We lost our Golden of 16 years last November and we miss her every day. Seeing pictures of your Goldens makes me smile. Take care and please keep us posted on Smokey's recovery!

Erika Hard

Me and my 7 mo old black lab, Piper, are sending love and prayers to you and Smokey! He will do great and recover quickly! This is nothing compared to what that little guy has already been through. 🐾.
Thank you for this wonderful blog and please let us know ASAP how he is!

Tami, Austin, TX

Oh, your darling Smokey! Praying for his healing and for your peace. He is blessed to have your comfort and love, and I'm sure you feel the same from him. Hugs to you.

Marilyn McLean

Dear Smokey and family, Be well, be healed, be here... for a long time yet. Best Wishes for a speedy recovery from this "bump" i the road of life. Much love to you and Breizh, and your human family.

Avril Rustage-Johnston

Dear Kristin, Bon courage to you and sweet Smokey, with whose antics and adventures you have entertained us for so long.
If his genes are from the Espinasse family (I know, I know, but let's pretend for our hearts' sakes) he will pull through with a smile. Meanwhile you are both in my thoughts.


Dear Kristin,

Please know that you and Smokey are in my thoughts and prayers. The space that these four-legged angels occupy in our lives as well as our hearts is so large and so very deep. Smokey is a trooper and will see this through so that you and he can share many more wonderful days ahead !
Be well . . .

Geneviève Radel

chère Kristin, j'espère de tout coeur que Smokey va bien vite guérir, définitivement, et je lui envoie plein d'ondes positives ! Gros bisous à vous et caresses à Smokey
Geneviève, les Santolines à Piolenc

Mary Richardson

Good luck and God bless your faithful companion Smokey, he has been through such a lot. Xxx

Ginny Bear

I have especially enjoyed your stories when they have included Smoky. I didn't realize his tongue had made it hard to eat. I hope he makes it past this bump in the road, and whatever the outcome, he is surrounded by love.

Denise Givens

We are praying for Smokey. Bon Courage!


Much love and many prayers for Smokey and you today--get well Smokey.😢

Joy Bryden

Dear Smokey has the love and prayers of all of us and surely he will come through this with our support. Sending you a big hug dear Kristin!

Patricia Cowan

Sending love and prayers to you and Smokey from me and border collie fan, Holly!

Sandra R Lewis

Kirstin, Your photos over the years have left no doubt of the depth and breadth of your love for Smokey. Smokey roaming the fields, helping in the garden, or checking out the frig! Today all our positive thoughts to you and Smokey!

Megan Davies

Ditto to all the kind and supportive words above for Smokey and all who love him and hold him dear! Please let us know how he is as soon as possible. Sending positive healing wishes, Megan, the Kiwi in the Loir et Cher.

William F. Swiggart

Best wishes and and warm regards for a successful degustation the 20th, which happens to be a holiday in Massachusetts (a/k/a Boston Marathon Day). And to Smokey, get well soon.


I am thinking of Smokey today and wishing him a speedy and complete recovery from the surgery!!


My dog, Shadow, and I are thinking of Smokey today and hoping the best for him. We are sure he will survive as he has before.


Praying that God will touch and heal Smokey and that we will soon hear the good report from you!

David Navarre

Our prayers are with you, Smokey!

Melissa worries constantly about out little Henri. He was in for a dental cleaning yesterday and she was all in knots about it. He'll be back in for some extractions in a few weeks, so the worry will continue.

Hoping the doctor works magic on Smokey just as they work their magic on our little cavalier.


Love your beautiful words and beautiful spirit. All my best wishes to your very special Smokey.


Sending loving hugs to Smokey and to you!!!

Sylvia Middleton

Dearest Smoky, Our thoughts and prayers are with you. I know how worried your human mama must be. Someday she must write a book about all of your adventures. Hopefully this will be just another chapter with many more to come. A big golden kiss from your Canadian friend Colby! Get well!!!

Jeannie Leighton

I remember when Smokey was born! I feel like he's part of me and I'm praying for you both that this newest challenge will be met with bravery.

Charles Orr

I'm hoping for a good report soon on Smokey--he's had a rough time but has received a lot of love to help him through it. Wish we could join you for the degustation, but maybe sometime in the future.

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