>Lunch in the garden while the tomatoes ripen ….

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It was too hot to do much apart from water and eat lunch in the garden today – up to 35 degrees C.

DSC04774 Cucumber, Longues des Landes peppers, arbequina olives and Catalan fuet DSC04777
Grilled courgettes and aubergine
DSC04824 Goats’ cheese from Mas Rolland with thyme and olive oil

Some of our Languedocienne tomatoes are showing signs of ripening.

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A swallowtail butterfly

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DSC04793 DSC04795 It was hard to photograph as it flitted from one lavender flower to another.

 

A conversation about a locust

DSC04828 Chaiselongue: There’s a locust – I’m going to photograph it and then I want you to kill it.
Click, click.
Lo Jardinièr: It’s only a small one….
Chaiselongue: And how do you think they get bigger?
Lo Jardinièr: By eating our aubergine plants.
Chaiselongue: Exactly.
Crunch.
I’m so glad he can kill them, as I don’t like doing it – they’re very crunchy!

>Garlic harvest

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DSC04273 Most of our garlic crop for this year (the bulbs we haven’t eaten fresh). We’ve made a drying rack out of two fruit crates and put it under the shelter so that the garlic doesn’t get too much sun….. or rain! When it’s dry I’ll plait it into tresses for keeping, but not for long as we’ll get through this amount quite quickly. Passing through Lautrec, the centre for l’ail rose, this long-keeping, pink-skinned variety of garlic, in south-western France, we once saw barns full of garlic bulbs drying like this on racks .

Tomatoes, a cucumber and a locust

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The locust was enjoying our habas leaves – I don’t mind so much if it eats those as they are nearly over and I picked most of the last beans from them today, but I didn’t want it eating the aubergine plants (which they love), so this one was crushed between two rocks by Lo Jardinièr. There will be others, so we’ll have to watch for them all summer.

>Moving on (towards autumn) / On avance (vers l’automne)

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Maybe it’s because our last visitors of the summer have left, or because the nights are cooler and the days not too hot to think about working in the garden, with temperatures down from 37 to 32 degrees, but we’ve started to prepare for autumn.

Peut-être c’est parce que nos derniers visiteurs de l’été sont partis, ou parce que les nuits deviennent moins chaud et on peut penser de travailler un peu dans le jardin – les températures baissent de 37 à 32 dégrees – que nous avons commencé de préparer pour l’automne.

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It was time to cut down the sunflowers and save the seeds to use in cooking and for next year’s plants. / C’était le moment pour couper les tournesols pour garder les semences pour cuisiner et pour les plants de l’année prochaine.

Lo Jardinièr began to prepare the ground where they were for sowing Cavalo Nero Kale and lettuces. / Lo Jardinièr a commencé de préparer la terre pour semer le chou frisé Cavalo Nero et les laitues.

Vendange (grape harvest)

The vendange began here a couple of weeks ago. The white grapes are picked first, at night to keep them cool. So every night at this time of year there is the constant sound of tractors going out to the vineyards in the early hours of the morning. Now the red grapes are starting to be ready for picking.

La vendange a commencé ici il y a deux semaines. Les raisins blancs d’abord, dans la nuit pour les garder frais. Maintenant les raisins rouges sont prêts.

Our grapes are ripe too. They’re bigger and sweeter than last year, but still quite small because the vine is young. / Nos raisins sont mûrs aussi. Ils sont plus gros et plus doux que l’année dernière, mais ils sont toujours assez petits parce que la vigne et jeune.

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It’s good to pick the grapes growing above your table and eat them straight from the vine.

C’est bon ramasser les raisins qui poussent au-dessus de la table et les manger tout de suite.



Peppers / les poivrons

We haven’t had many red peppers this year – as soon as they begin to ripen the snails eat them. We’ve had some good green peppers though and yesterday we grilled a perfect red one on the barbecue and ate it with goats’ cheese. Today we added two green peppers to a chicken paella.

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Aubergines – good news and bad news / Les aubergines – des mauvaises nouvelles et la bonne nouvelle

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New flowers / nouvelles fleurs
DSC08453 new aubergines / nouvelles aubergines DSC08461 and a locust eating the leaves – until we killed it / et un criquet qui mange les feuilles.

And a lizard / et un lézard

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>The longest day of the year / La journée la plus longue de l’an

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Just as we did on the shortest day of 2008, we had lunch in the garden. This time the shadows were a bit shorter but the coffee was as good. / Comme la journée la plus courte de 2008 on a mangé au jardin. Cette fois les ombres étaient plus courtes mais le café est toujours bon.

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21.12.08

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Paella

One of our Spanish friends in the village says that paella should be cooked out of doors on a wood fire. So that’s what we did today. / Une de nos amies espagnoles au village dit que la paella doit être cuire dehors au feu de bois. Donc, c’est ça que nous avons fait aujourd’hui.

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Paella with mussels and chorizo / Paella aux moules et au chorizo.

Locusts / acacia-criquets

There are some things I find in the garden that I don’t photograph for this blog. Yesterday when I saw a locust on one of our aubergine plants I didn’t rush for the camera. I called Lo Jardinièr to come and squash it. Last year one of these huge insects at most of the leaves of an aubergine plant in one afternoon. I don’t know how we can deter them. One suggestion on the Internet was a mixture of chilli and paraffin, so I ground a couple of red chillis and mixed them with alcool à bruler (a spirit you certainly wouldn’t want to drink). I then painted this mix onto some of the leaves.

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I hope it works. I’m worried that it may damage the leaves.

** UPDATE: this burnt the leaves, so I won’t do it again. The best way to get rid of pests – locusts, beetles – is to squash them individually, we’ve found.

J’ai mis un mélange de piment rouge et alcool à bruler sur les feuilles d’aubergine dissueader les acacia-criquets de les manger.




And a butterfly / Et un papillon

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Lo Jardinièr found this Red Admiral butterfly which stopped just long enough for him to take this photo.

Courgettes and cucumbers / Les courgettes et les concombres

It’s a nice problem to have – what can we do with all our courgettes? Yesterday we picked 1.7 kg. I’ve stuffed some with meat and some with olives and onions, I’ve stewed them with some of last year’s preserved tomatoes and we’ve had fried courgettes, courgette fritters and stuffed courgette flowers. Luckily, we really love courgettes! And the cucumbers seem to grow as you look at them.

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Garlic grown from bulbs I bought in the market last autumn and planted around a terracotta pot watering system. / L’ail cultivé du ce que j’ai acheté sur le marché en automne.
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And a sunflower in the sun / Et un tournesol au soleil.