Wild flower time

On a short trip into the hills just north of the village this morning I saw that, in spite of a cold north wind, spring is definitely in the air for the wild flowers. 

The asphodel flowers are just beginning to open:

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There are pink cistus and lavender flowers growing out of the rocks, it seems:

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and white cistus too (it’s not called rock rose for nothing):

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thyme growing between a rock and a hard place, at the side of the road:

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and common broom flowering next to Spanish broom which is about to flower:

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With the vines beginning to sprout fresh green leaves and the few deciduous trees in the valleys now in leaf, the countryside is beginning to change, to look more spring-like.

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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!

St Nectaire fermier

Bees and lizards – it must be summer

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A honey bee on the lavender flowers….

IMGP0744 and a lizard on the wall of the shed.  I don’t know why this one has a black mark on its back.

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The apple crop is looking good from this tree we planted as a small sucker about 6 years ago.

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This is one of the female flowers we were hoping for on the sweet corn plants.

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These scabious flowers grow as a weed in the garden, but they’re pretty.

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These Californian poppies aren’t weeds – we planted them, and I love their intense colour.

Work in the garden today: tying up tomato and cucumber plants, pinching out side shoots on some of the tomato plants, especially the Languedocian ones which just want to grow in all directions and have some quite large tomatoes on them now, taking out the mangetout pea plants and planting out some lettuce seedlings given to us by a friend.

>Fire, water and the earth / Le feu, l’eau et la terre

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Fire is part of the natural cycle of Mediterranean vegetation especially the garrigue, clearing the land of dead plants and making space for new growth. It is also very frightening and dangerous. On Monday we were on our way to Roquessels to buy wine and saw smoke on one of the hills near the road, just a couple of kilometres from Gabian. By the time we returned the fire had spread rapidly. We called the fire service as soon as we got home, but luckily they already knew about the fire. It took four hours for 80 fire fighters, 4 water-carrying planes and 2 small spotter planes to stop the fire, fortunately just before it reached the house in the photo below.

Le feu est une partie naturelle du cycle de la garrigue mediterranéenne. Mais c’est aussi dangereux et effrayant. Lundi nous avons vu de la fumée sur une colline près de la route de Gabian à Roquessels, à quelques kilometres du village . Sur notre retour le feu s’est étendu. 80 pompiers et 6 avions ont pris quatre heures pour l’éteindre. Heureusement le feu n’a pas atteint une maison dans la campagne.

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Fortunately this house was saved.
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The view from Gabian – a bit close for comfort.

The sea / La mer

DSC06680 The weather is hot but the sea hasn’t warmed up yet. It was only 16 degrees C at Le Grau d’Agde yesterday.

Le temps fait chaud mais la mer n’a pas chauffé encore. Elle n‘était que 16 degrees C au Grau d’Agde hier.

In the garden / Au jardin

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The tomatoes are growing well and one Yellow Pear is almost ripe. / Les tomates poussent bien et une Yellow Pear est presque mûre.

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Peppers and apricots – we ate the first apricot this evening, the rest will be ready in a day or so.

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A swallowtail butterfly on the lavender

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and a dragonfly near the stream. It was bright blue, but the sun was so strong the colour doesn’t show in the photo.

>Good or bad? / Bon ou mauvais?

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I found these beetles on our Borlotti bean pods. They didn’t seem to be eating the beans. Does anyone know whether they’re good or bad?

Est-ce que vous savez si ces scarabées sont bons ou mauvais?

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The bees are good, I know, and so is the lavender / les abeilles sont bonnes, je le sais, et aussie la lavande.

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And the oleander flower are lovely, smell wonderful but the whole plant is deadly poisonous / Et les fleurs du laurier rose sont jolies, il sent très bon, mais le plant entier est vénéneux.

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