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Friday, 24 July 2015

Out and about

We've had reason to go out a bit this week. It's not pleasant in the car so it had to be early in the morning, breaking into our gardening time. But we needed some shopping so thought we would take the cameras and call in at the river on the way. It was nice to hear te blackbirds, thrushes and orioles singing, but best of all there were plenty of kingfishers. It was good to see them as they had been a bit thin on the ground since the floods last year. There wasn't much else about, but thousands of beautiful demoiselles...and a madman in the water.
A pair of beautiful demoiselles

There were a few of these quite large butterflies around an old camp fire

Demoiselle acacia

Kingfisher. It was across the river in the shade so a bit dull

Some sort of dragonfly rear, a long way off and chance picture

He just can't help himself! Newly bald (shaved) Dave

The next day we went to another section of the river, nearer home. There was a stunning sunrise but unfortunately my camera couldn't pick up how red the sun was on auto. But it seems the weather is making critters hide, we saw hardly anything.

What was a surprise was the road. We seem to have gone 'posh'  in the village. The road has been resurfaced and kerb stones either replaced or re-set. It seems it is to accommodate heavy traffic expected when a new main road link is built, not to benefit the village. Also most of the side tracks off the main village roads have new stop signs and we have proper white lines...we always wondered who had right of way in the village centre!
Our new stop sign, they are everywhere!

Smart kerbstones

And a proper crossing, on a bend and out of sight of drivers till the last minute, normal here!

No pot holes and centre lines, very posh

Then there was the mad dash one evening to pick up oats from our friends we got the goats from. We had a good nosey round the nursery, lusting over the lovely clematis plants newly arrived, but being very good and only getting one as we are tight for space. And a couple of cannas, and a lovely sapling. Oh dear. We also came away with the loan of a pile of cheese moulds and a cheese press, Will be using some of the gallons of milk cluttering up the freezer. The drive home was a bit frantic, trying to beat the dark and night creatures getting our birds. But all was well, the goats were enjoying being out in the cooler evening. (however, next night someone who shall remain nameless orgot to shut the duck's door. So they were out before him this morning!)
Being in the nursery brought back those memories when we used to trawl the garden centres in the UK when we were bored

Hundreds of beautiful, healthy clematis. If we only had room....

We can fit in a couple of white cannas somewhere

Albizzia julibrissin

Our sapling
Cheese excuses now

Moulds of all shapes and sizes

Guinea fowl on the roof

And in the pen.

Mama Muscovy with her babies

Overloaded bee on the table, having trouble taking off

Back home we are getting on with processing what is in the garden. The runner beans have given up in the heat, the cucmbers are going to have to come out, they are too bitter to eat and I will sow some more if I remember. More chard has been picked, shared with the animals, wilted down and frozen. Red cabbage is braised with onions and apple and batch frozen. I had to take something out to get food in and so some blackcurrants, strawberries and gooseberries have been turned into cordial. The borlotti beans have been picked just in time, they were starting to pop. Just as I finished podding them Dave came in with two bags of white beans from a neighbour across he lane, and tells me he has offered to help pick Venka's beans on Saturday, a huge job involving the whole family, from which they will get several sacks of beans, all of which will need sorting for quality, a job we helped with last year, taking six hours for five of us, including breaks for lots of food.
Pointy red cabbage

Braised with apple, onion and brown sugar. If it tastes half as nice after being in the freezer I will be happy

Our borlotti beans and two bags of white beans from the neighbour

Onions from the bottom bed, mostly shallot size but with the odd medium, and a baby artichoke

Third chard pick this week, the goats and birds enjoy the less than perfect leaves

Potatoes keeping well in the ground..with the exception of the occasional chomped one

Yet another basket of goodies

The roses are all flowering again, but the blooms don't last in this heat

The dunny is looking great, the morning glory is called Heavenly Blue, perfectly matches the sky and loving the hot, dry weather

Some rather large courgettes for the animals, no idea how I miss them we only have three plants to check!

Cabbages are in and under protection from the sun

More blackcurrant cordial on the left, five large and two regular jars of gooseberry and strawberry cordial. Nice, but gooseberry and rhubarb will be sharper and more refreshing. (Next time)

We had some very sad news this week. We were sitting in the garden with some friends when the church bells rang twice. We discussed the fact that they had been quiet lately, the bells signify a death, a series of one ring for a child, two for a lady, three for a man. This goes on several times a day until the funeral. Later we found out the two bells were for the lovely lady who lived behind us, who had a fall a while back and had not been home since. A lovely, warm, generous lady who spoke in such a way that she was difficult to understand, (but that didn't matter, we managed and laughed) who was forever pressing biscuits, sweets, money and rakia for Dave keeping her verge strimmed. Passing us bags full of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and pumpkins, later on big slabs of frozen roasted peppers. Her husband had ad a fall last Christmas and is now very frail himself, unable to do his garden which has quickly turned from immaculate to jungle. So very sad, such a lovely couple.


  1. Loving all the river shots, the insects and birds. I don't recognise the butterfly. The sunset photos are lovely and I'd have been in the river to cool off too! Sad to hear about your neighbour and sad for her husband and the jungle of garden. :-(

    1. Oh No! I was rather relying on you for an ID on the butterfly. There are so many orange and black ones.

      Sadly it looks as if the old fella is being moved out, there have been people moving stuff about for a few days. There is no way he can cope alone and his kids (who are doing the moving) live three hours away. The jungle has gone to seed so now there are clouds of seeds flying everywhere. It must break his heart on top of everything else.

    2. Yeah but - you have lots of different butterflies there which we don't have here. I think this is a kind of fritillary and I have only seen one kind here so they are all a mystery to me! :-)

  2. Beautiful photographs. So sorry to hear about your poor neighbours.

    1. Thank you Lindsey. Unfortunately one of the things about rural villages here is that they are mostly populated by old folk, the young leave for towns and cities as soon as they can, so we are bound to lose a few of our friends eventually. I didn't think it would be her. Our village does have a younger population, but not many in our immediate area apart from some French and Russians