Thursday, 30 June 2011

Heres looking at you....

Caught this little beauty posing readily this morning.

I think it is a juvenile  female Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus) but am probably completely wrong.
It is clearly flightless....

But does make a good picture...

I tried in vain to ask it what is was trying to do on my teasel (Dipsacus Fullonem) but the reply sounded like a sewing machine... anyway it was certainly "Full on em"!!!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Sunflowers as far as the eye can see!

Our journey up to Chinon today was a picture awash with sunflowers as far as the eye could see..
The heat of the past few days has certainly not dimmed the vibrant colour of these flowers, so synonymous with the French countryside.

There were sunflowers in all stages of growth from the ones just coming into flower...

to the wide open faces of these gaudy beauties......

If ever you need a sight to lift the spirits, it's got to be a field full of sunflowers in glorious techni-colour!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Apricot Jam !!!!

For those of you who have been following our blog over the months you may remember the apricot 'tree' we rescued from Super U back in March?? (see Apricot Jam)..

To our amazement the 'twig' produced two perfect apricots and not only were they big enough to eat, they were absolutely delicious!

That said, the jam making will have to wait till next year, now!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Baling by moonlight

We were woken up in the early hours by weird sounds and strange lights illuminating the fields...

Aliens?? No!! .........well, not unless you count the farmers baling at one o'clock in the morning.. I suppose that is somewhat alien to us!

We assumed the intense heat of the last couple of days, with temperatures set to rise to the high 30s today, will mean it is safer to work outdoors during the night than risk the effects of the heat during the farmers 'normal' working hours.

(Only Elizabeth would get up to photograph them!!!)*

However, despite today's soaring temperatures....

work continued .....

*Mad dogs and Englishmen, eh??

Sunday, 26 June 2011

La Tour Saint-Gelin (14 kms from Braye)

Last evening we had another Saturday night out..... Glastonbury was nothing compared to this gig......

After parking in the field provided, we got through the tight security, No problem....
The band were awesome...
Entertainment for the children....
Food  and drink for all....
and in the end a bonfire....
It was, as usual in France, an excellent local community get together.... We did not stay for the bonfire as we appeared to be the only English there and given the subject matter...... we made a quiet exit... We were not the only ones to do so...
Another good FREE night out although the ears are still ringing a bit with the um-pa band....

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Butterfly Atlas Update

Yesterday we did the June STERF butterfly survey. Last month we saw very few butterflies, so we weren't sure what to expect this month.

However, we were in for a surprise! Not only were there plenty of butterflies to count and log, there were some of the most colourful we've ever seen, the most spectacular of these being the Silver-washed Fritillary.

Both it's colour and it's size made it stand out from the other butterflies. Here it is for comparison with a Meadow Brown.

Their favourite food is the bramble and there were plenty of those in the hedgerows yesterday. Having initially struggled to photograph it we later caught a shot of two together.

Sighting this butterfly was a first for us. We now look forward to completing the next leg of the survey in July!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Cleaning the Cardinal

At some point during the last week the statue of Cardinal Richelieu, outside the gates to the Parc at Richelieu, has had a good clean.... ready for the tourists taking his photograph??


Whatever method of cleaning was used it has made such an improvement and was well worth the effort!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Dahlias - a successful outcome

Back in early May I wrote about my battles with the earwigs!! which were eating my dahlias as fast as they put on new leaves. The traps failed so I had to resort to stronger measures in the form of an Insecticide Systemique. (Fertilgene Polysect Ultra SL) The garden centre assured me it would kill the earwigs and it did.

The dahlias themselves were bought as mixed??  I think they have certainly been a success. They are weeks ahead of the ones I used to grow in Lancashire and hopefully will continue to bloom for many more weeks.

I have recently planted two yellow ones that Auchan were giving away at 0.50€ for two tubers. Whether they will grow enough, I don't know, but they are growing.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Wildflowers of Braye

This posting is really an excuse for me to indulge in my favourite subject; wildflowers...

The other morning I took a walk along the lane to look how the wheat was coping with all this dry weather. I soon found myself sidetracked by the proliferation of wild-flowers in bloom along the edge of the field.

The following is a list, by no means exhaustive, of the flowers I saw, all within 150 metres of our house..

From the top, left to right on each row, the flowers are:
Lesser Centuary,  Bird's Foot Trefoil
Vipers Bugloss,  Toadflax,  Agrimony
White Campion, Goats Beard
Spreading Bellflower, Hedge Bedstraw, Wild Mignonette
Larkspur with poppies, Pignut (or Burnet Saxifrage - not sure), Larkspur
Sainfoin, Marbled White butterfly on Lucerne

A magnificent display of nature at it's best..



Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Harvest time.

Yesterday was the start of the local wheat harvest... It was the arrival of the Combine Harvester that caught my attention for yesterdays pole men blog.

What a fine piece of machinery. New Holland C980 Combine Harvester. It looked new but this model has been superseded by the CR9080 several years ago.

With a cutting width of 9.15 metres it made short work of the wheat fields in front and to the left of our house.

As I was grass cutting at the time it made me feel a little inferior!!

If you fancy one there are several available on the internet  Price tag  €120,000 for a 2006 model with 1300 hrs on the clock....