A swallowtail and some passing cyclists

The big attraction in our village this morning was the expected passage of the 7th stage of this year’s Tour de France but while we were waiting in the sun on the hottest day of the year so far, I noticed this Swallowtail butterfly on the buddleia flowers at the side of the road.

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And the Tour? Oh, yes, that passed through much more quickly than a butterfly, although the build-up was exciting.

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There’s a larger version of this image, with a haiku I wrote to accompany it, on my photo blog: Moments de lutz

Swallowtail butterfly

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At this time every year there’s always a day when I take a ridiculous number of photos of one of these beautiful butterflies on our lavender flowers. Today was that day.  Sorry, the lamb chops etc. seem to have found their way onto the butterfly slideshow.

Thanks to Chica Andaluza for pointing me in the direction of A Dash of Domestic’s post and thanks to her for her post on how to make a slideshow.

And then lunch ….

Lamb chops on the barbecue

Earlier in the year we bought half a lamb from the Domaine des Pascales where we buy our rosé and white wine.  One of the family lives on a sheep farm in the Aveyron and brings the lambs from their small flock to sell.  These were some of the chops from that purchase.  They were delicious with yogurt mixed with chopped garlic and mint, lemon, and barbecued aubergine and small green peppers straight from the garden.  And a glass of red wine, of course.

Lamb, aubergine and green peppers

And to follow, some farmhouse St Nectaire cheese, also from the Aveyron and also bought from Domaine des Pascales, bought from one of the places where they sell their wine – a good trade!

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>First aubergine and a new watering system / La première aubergine et un nouveau système d’arrosage

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In spite of the locusts and the Colorado beetles, our aubergine plants are doing well, with a lot of small aubergines growing.  Today we ate the first one, grilled on the barbecue and garnished with thyme, oregano, olive oil and chopped garlic – it tasted wonderful.

Malgré les criquets et les scarabées, nos plants d’aubergine poussent bien avec beaucoup de petites aubergines.  Aujourd’hui nous en avons mangé la première de la saison, garnie de thym, oreganum, huile d’olive et ail haché – elle était delicieuse!

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1st aubergine and 74th courgette!

Another new watering system / un autre nouveau système d’arrosage

Throughout the summer we’re constantly thinking about better ways to water the garden.  The terracotta pot system which Kate from Hills and Plains seedsavers devised has worked really well for beans and garlic and we’ll use it for other crops – leaf vegetables like chard next, probably.

Pendant l’été nous pensons toujours des façons d’arroser le jardin.  Le système de pots en terrecuite conçu par Kate de Hills and Plains seedsavers a marché bien pour les haricots et l’ail et nous l’utiliserons pour des autres légumes – les blettes peut-être.

Now we are trying a new system for watering the tomato and pepper plants.  We bought two plastic dustbins which can be filled with water from the stream whenever it is running.  Lo Jardinièr has fixed siphon tubes from the bins which lead via taps to slow drip hoses in the rows of tomatoes and peppers.  The taps can be turned on in the evening and left so that the water in the bins slowly drips into the soil between the plants.

Maintenant nous essayons un nouveau système pour l’arrosage des tomates et des poivrons.  On a acheté deux poubelles en plastique qui on peut remplir de l’eau du ruisseau.  Lo Jardinièr a mis un tuyau pour siphonner l’eau en passant par un robinet et puis par un tuyau goutte à goutte à la terre entre les rangs.

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The leek flower is covered with insects.
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The sunflowers are blooming.
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And here is a cicada in the apricot tree.

And we’ve had so many Swallowtail butterflies in the garden this year that I couldn’t resist a few more photos of them:

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>Borage and butterflies / La bourrache et les papillons

>Borage has one of the prettiest flowers of all the herbs: purple stars which line the roadsides and the vineyards here in spring. The flowers can be put in salads and in drinks, the leaves can be cooked in soups and sauces. Today we picked leaves and flowers and I made borage and cheese parcels – the recipe is on the Mediterranean cuisine blog.

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La bourrache a des belles fleurs: des étoiles pourpres au bord de la route et des vignobles en printemps. On peut mettre les fleurs dans les salades et dans les boissons et les feuilles dans les soupes et les sauces. Aujourd’hui nous avons ramassé des feuilles et des fleurs et j’ai fait des pastelles à la bourrache et au fromage. La recette est sur le blog Mediterranean cuisine.

Borage is a good plant to have in the garden as it attracts bees and is said to improve the flavour of tomatoes grown nearby. Traditionally it has medicinal uses, including the relief of stress. But for me it adds colour to salads and flavour to dishes like these parcels. The older leaves have prickly hairs on them and so they need to be cooked. The young leaves are delicious in salads, with a taste like cucumber.

Two swallowtail butterflies were chasing each other around the garden and refused to stay still and pose for the camera. The best I could do was this action shot of one of them:

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Deux machaons se pourchassaient autour du jardin et ils ont refusé de s’arreter pour le photo. J’ai dû prendre cette photo d’action.

and a butterfly coincidence …

I had just posted my swallowtail photo when I looked at the Jardim com gatos blog and found I had been given this award – thanks gintoino!

I don’t usually participate in these blog awards and games, but I can’t resist this one! I read so many interesting blogs, but I’d like to forward it to the following blogs, the first two are about gardening in Mediterranean climates, like gintoino does in Portugal and like I do in the Languedoc, the third has beautiful photos and makes me laugh, the fourth is a good mix of campaigning and gardening …
http://fromseedtotable.blogspot.com/
http://www.citygarden.eu/
http://inelegantgardener.blogspot.com/
http://homesteadinginacondo.blogspot.com/

The tulips were easier to photograph / les tulipes étaient plus faciles à photographier:

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>Rocket soup and a swallowtail

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All through the winter we have some kind of warming soup for lunch almost every day, but this one seems more springlike. Most soups are easy to make, but this one is especially quick and easy. I cut, wash and roughly chop a panful of rocket (it shrinks a lot when its cooked). You can use the quite thick stems that grow when the rocket is bolting and going to flower, as ours is at the moment, as well as the leaves. Add a chopped sweet onion, a little water and some salt. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Liquidise, reheat and mix in a couple of tablespoons of crème fraiche. Once youve added the crème fraiche its best not to let it boil again as it may curdle. It has a beautiful dark green colour and a good flavour. Serve with a swirl of extra crème fraiche.

Swallowtail butterfly

Yet another sign of spring yesterday when this butterfly was attracted to a bright patch of aubretia on our wall. Whenever we approached it flew off, but it always came back to the purple flowers until Lo Jardinièr managed to get this photo of it.