26 August 2006
Let’s play the Family Feud!
Well, the war has officially started, and no, I’m not the cause. Hell, I’m not even involved.

Marc’s uncle and his father are doing battle over the house across the street. Or rather, Marc’s uncle is being a schmuck—a big fat baby schmuck. They both belong to an association that makes Champagne, but they can’t quite call it Champagne given the legal aspects of the appellation contrôlée. This might change soon, and our guys are fairly well placed to earn the right to call their sparkling wine Champagne—the historical precedent exists (grapes from Gudmont were used by Champagne houses in Epernay and Reims in the late 19th and early 20th centuries), the wine they make follows the strict controls imposed on Champagne makers, and the quality of the wine they make is fairly high. All the proper papers have been filled in in triplicate and turned over to the proper committees and now they’re just waiting for a response. No one’s expecting news any time soon. This is France after all, the land where red tape is an art form.

In the meantime, Marc’s uncle wants to convert the garage/workshop/Champagne cellar/stable for the sheep in winter into something that looks more like a wine-maker’s workshop than it currently does. Their little group has met and decided this is a good idea, but no plans were made. Marc’s uncle, not the most patient of people, has taken it upon himself to start, NOW.

Yesterday he started his project by cleaning out the part of the garage where the sheep are usually kept. As the place used to be a stable for the cows back when Marc’s parents first got married, there’s a trench cut into the floor for just this purpose. You push everything into the trench and then out the hole in the wall in the back. This is just what he did. Easy, right?

Except that right under that hole in the wall is my in-laws’ compost heap. You chuck your stuff on the pile on the right, it gets composted. The resulting soil is piled up on the left. It’s in this pile my MIL starts her rose clippings and raises the flowers for her garden. It’s also this pile that sits right under the hole in the wall.

So Daniel chucked out all the stuff from the sheep pen, without separating the hay from the straw from the manure. All of it got pushed through the hole, and he then turned his attention to other things. Hey, that’s how he is.

So my FIL, ever the patient, non-confrontational person that he is, told him to go clean up the crap he tossed on to my MIL’s flowers. Apparently a heated discussion ensued, and my FIL forbade Daniel from touching anything in that part of the building.

Well, the building belongs to my FIL—he lets Daniel and the rest of the wine boys (he’s one too) use it to make and store the Champagne. Daniel, for his part, lets his brother and Marc use his hangar to keep the tractors in and the workshop attached to it.

So this morning, Daniel shows up at our house. Marc was gone, so I got to deal with him alone. Lovely. So, as he is forbidden from entering the building across the street—which is his interpretation of “don’t touch my sheep shit”, Marc’s dad is now forbidden from entering the hangar or the workshop. We’re supposed to keep the place locked up at all times so my FIL can’t get in. Whatever.

I have no idea where this is going, but it is actually funny to see Marc’s uncle cross the street when he walks in front of the house. He refuses to talk to Marc’s dad, or anyone else for that matter, unless he absolutely has to (I have the distinct honor of being considered a neutral party for the moment). He’s not causing us any problems with the farm for now, although I expect if things don’t get straightened out soon that may be a possibility.

Kids, eh?
posted by Doc at 16:36 | Permalink |


  • At 06:17, Blogger Catherine

    Family feuds... aka le caca. And, excuse me, but I'm still stuck on this bit of information: "they can’t quite call it Champagne given the legal aspects of the appellation contrôlée."

    And this: "grapes from Gudmont were used by Champagne houses in Epernay and Reims in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."

    It all sounds so... complicated!