|I'm keeping busy..... the Mixed Fruit Chutney has damsons in it as well as tomatoes,|
and the Sweet Aubergine Preserve is a middle eastern recipe and amazingly delicious.
The rain that came over two weeks ago was just in time for the plums; however many of them split open or completely burst because they'd been dry and were then subjected to rather a lot of moisture all at once. Of course that's letting in rot so the greengages are spoiling at a rate of knots, but I managed to make my jam and it's the first time in three years I've had enough fruit for jam from the tree. The purple plums have also started rotting but there's only so much one can eat or preserve anyway, and just when you need some handy neighbours to take some off your hands, they all go away on holiday!
|Greengage, known as Reine Claude here in France, and an unknown purple dessert plum.|
|Autumn fruiting Raspberries 'Zeva' and thornless cultivated Blackberries (with a Dock Bug).|
|Everyone loves blackberries! Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus) nymph left and (I think) |
the Cricket is a male Speckled Bush Cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima).
We usually see juvenile Green Woodpeckers in summer pecking away at the ants' nests in the lawn, and since taking these photos recently I've been seeing and hearing them regularly. They are loud!
|A male juvenile Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis).|
|Male juvenile Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) again looking a bit fluffy.|
It was time for my OH to do some varnishing but when he went to unhook the bedroom shutters he found about a dozen bats roosting behind one of them. Some flew off but he had to close the shutter carefully to protect the rest of them, so no varnishing for that shutter that day! Now I missed what came next but I'm kind of glad that I did. As he was varnishing the window frames and the other shutter, a bat came back and started circling around. My OH retreated slightly and started to close the windows so that it could go back behind the shutter, when all of a sudden out of nowhere came a Sparrowhawk who caught and flew off with the poor bat! Oops.
I assume they are Pipistrelles which are common bats but they look bigger in the photo, but I think there were several of them all grouped together here. I couldn't do any better than a silhouette and was trying not to think of the drop as I leant out of the window!
|Bats roosting behind the bedroom shutter!|
Here are a few tatty creatures seen recently. Summer feels like it's really coming to an end with the cooler, more cloudy weather and there are far fewer butterflies than I'd expect at this time of year. Hopefully it will pick up in September.
|I'm not sure what the bee is, possibly a Bombus sylvarum.|
|Female Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus).|
I nearly didn't take a photo of this bug as I thought it was a Sloe/Hairy Shield Bug - luckily I checked because I'm wrong. I then spent half an hour IDing it only to find when I was keywording my photos that I've already seen and logged this species this year - it would have been quicker to do a search for shield bugs in my photo library! Judging by where I live in France, then using this guide I would hazard a guess at Carpocoris purpureipennis, but it's too difficult to say, so let's just say it's one of the Carpocoris species.
|Carpocoris sp., an interesting bug with little info about it on the internet.|
Obviously it likes running around on hairy arms. :-)
|Carpocoris sp. doing the 'biz', seen back in June.|
|There appears to be an exchange of fluid going on here - |
looking at my other photos that droplet disappeared, so I hope it went where intended! ;-)
The eight day weather forecast looks dismal for the next week, although I will appreciate whatever rain we may get today as the garden is already drying out.
I may go quiet for a while and that's because I have a new desktop arriving this week - and not just any old desktop. I'm jumping ship so it's bye-bye Microsoft, and hello to the world of Apple and iMacs, which could be interesting for a few