Butterflies in the sun

Summer has finally arrived and the butterflies have noticed! This morning I saw a lot of Woodland Graylings –

Graling

 

and this Western Marbled White –

marbled

 

Both were enjoying these wild flowers commonly called scabious although Lo Jardinièr tells me they are really Knautia arvensis.

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>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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>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.

>Another beetle update / Mise à jour des scarabées encore

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The beetles were back this morning.  We put one in a jar and I took it to show our neighbour.  He immediately squashed it and confirmed what Gintoino said, that they attack cabbages.  So the others have now been squashed.  They were pretty but they had to go.

Notre voisin a confirmé ce que gintoino a dit – les scarabées attaquent les choux.  Il a écrasé le scarabée que je l’ai montré et nous avons écrasé les autres.  Ils étaient beaux, mais ils devaient mourit.

I’m pleased with our garlic this year, grown from bulbs I bought in the market last autumn and much better than last year’s.  It’s delicious chopped fresh on salads or the heads grilled whole on the barbecue.

L’ail est bon cette année. C’est delicieux cru est frais avec les salades ou les têtes grillées entières.

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Garlic fresh ……..
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grilled ……
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Wildlife in the garden / Faune au jardin

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a dragonfly /  une libellule
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and a marbled white butterfly / et un papillion marbré blanc.

But amid the sunshine and days spent enjoying meals in the garden, a reminder on the Guardian food blog today that there are ‘no gourmets in Gaza’ because the Israeli blockade is preventing basic food and fuel from getting to the population, including three quarters of a million children who are the most seriously affected.  According to Alex Renton’s post the UN says that

more than 10% of children are so malnourished their growth has been stunted. This proportion is growing rapidly. Anaemia due to lack of protein is another persistent problem – affecting 65% of children and 35% of pregnant women.

An inhuman collective punishment for an entire people.