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Monday, 13 August 2012

Lazy summer days

Five warm sunny days in a row and thankfully yesterday was more cloudy so felt cooler. This morning of course there's been a bit of drizzle but that's because our firewood is being delivered! But now the sun's out again and it's the last thing we need when we've got 4 cordes of wood arriving which need to be sorted and stacked.

However, apart from having a sad dustbowl of a garden again, it's been nice having a bit of summer. The problem with sudden heat is not having the time to get used to it, and more importantly, getting into the routine of how to deal with it.

My poor Buddleia - it's one of the first plants to droop.
Butterflies aren't interested in it either. Useless plant.

That means getting all outdoor chores, especially in the veg patch, done in the morning. Close the bedroom shutters at lunchtime to keep the heat out. Afternoons mean enforced laziness, either sit in the shade by the pond eating ice cream watching the wildlife or spend a bit of time indoors prepping food for the evening's BBQ. Or, spend time in full sun photographing all the butterflies that love the sun and warmth! Or try out the boy's new toy.....

Messing about on the water....

It was fun!

Now that the pond level has dropped a bit already there is more of interest to watch, as an adult moorhen is back and a juvenile appeared the other day which was being chased off by the adult. Also we've got a Grey Wagtail already visiting which likes the muddy and rocky edges and is fun to watch with its constant tail wagging (they are attractive mostly bright yellow birds, despite their name). I can see little birds coming down to drink under the overhang of the shrubs and butterflies have been flitting over the water and drinking on the wing, just like the swallows do, only in slow motion. Dragonflies are flying about all over the place now.

The pond level has already dropped about 6 inches - it was up to the edge of these plants.

We managed to capture a dragonfly which luckily decided to stop for a while up in a spruce tree!

So far unidentified. I've looked on many sites but can't find it!

My OH took the one above, but I managed to get this next one in flight! That was amusing; it kept flying round and round in one of our woodland clearings and I just kept on snapping on various different camera settings. Sometimes you get lucky!

A different dragonfly

Late afternoon/early evening unfortunately the hard work of watering the drooping garden starts in earnest. I've spent two entire evenings this last week hosepiping my flower beds and I haven't even got all the way around the garden yet. It's a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge; by the time I've done it all it's time to start all over again. Oh and then I have the lettuce to do in the veg patch which needs copious watering every single day to try to keep it from bolting. Then BBQ at about 9.30pm and finally collapse in a heap inside about 10pm, not forgetting to open the bedroom shutters and windows wide to let some cooler air in!

The ducks have the right idea and spend most of the day snoozing.
The grass is still quite lush here on the lake bank as the water is still fairly full
and this is not the really dry rocky side where the buddleia is.

Doesn't help either that our 500 litre waterbutt by the duck shed decided to suddenly crack open wasting all the contents! We hurriedly bought a replacement but now need a good amount of rain to refill it. 

As for butterflies, there have been tons of 'firsts' last week. One was a Painted Lady, which are migratory butterflies which come up from the south. Some years there are many of them and they even cross the English Channel, other years like last year there was only one solitary one. I hope I get to see more this year.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Possibly even more stunning with her (his?) wings closed!

Here's a little video I took of a Jersey Tiger Moth. There have been quite a few of them around in the last few weeks and I've been able to take plenty of photos of them. Several have taken to just sitting on my living room window panes, staring in, for hours on end too!!!

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Jersey Tiger Moth. I've since cleaned my windows!

Jersey Tiger Moth on my lavender:

video

Now I'd just like a nice 25mm of rain, but preferably overnight and then the warm weather can come back again..... but not until all the wood has been stacked!

12 comments:

  1. Gorgeous as ever Mandy, the pics I mean, but you too of course! I have never set eyes on most of these moths and butterflies, I really must look harder in future as I'm sure we must have some here in Wales!

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    1. Thanks Ladybug. The JT Moth is seen in the south of England but I'm not sure about Wales, and the Painted Lady crosses the channel some years en masse and I know it's been seen in southern England and in Ireland (from what I've heard from other people and what I've read online). Maybe one day? But I'm sure you have other butterflies. Like Cabbage Whites, lol. :-)

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  2. gorgeous images and oh no to your water butt!

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    1. Thanks Dee and yes it's a pain - has happened before in winter when the water has been frozen solid but suddenly in summer is very wierd! Never mind we drill holes in them and turn them into composters! The smaller butts (300 litres) are more effective than the large ones though.

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  3. Ahhhh cabbage whites, yes indeed, we have those aplenty :-(

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    1. They are pretty though, if you look at them close up. Just a total pest on brassicas :-(

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  4. I understand now that the belle-dame butterfly prefers to remain in the south-west part of France. Some water and a peaceful place !

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    1. Cergie - I am in Bretagne, not SW France! :-) Thank you for visiting!

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  5. Lovely dragonfly! and cute boat... I will be fishing on our pontoon boat in the northwoods next month...

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    1. Thanks Miss LB - hope you have lots of fun on your fishing trip! The fish here are not great eating as the only decent sized ones are carp and my husband likes to fish for them, from the bank, but puts them back if he (ever) catches one.

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  6. Morning MMM, gorgeous photos (as always) and glad to see you're getting a little bit of summer. Nice words about 'not being used to it' - we had unaccustomed sun over the weekend and you're right, it needs new habits, different clothes, remembering to draw the blinds and so on.

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    1. Hi Bilbo! Then it all turns around and this morning I went out in shorts and a T-shirt and the wind was blowing a howling gale and I came in freezing! Supposed to be about 33C by Saturday though which is far too hot....yuk! Thanks for visiting and the nice comments :-)

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