Fortunately the title has nothing to do with smoking, although Gerard and I got almost smoked by the heat in the Vosges during our last week. It was on the last day that a big orange butterfly flew into the house to cool down a little bit.
A perfect opportunity for us to photograph this beauty with the funny French name.
After three weeks and two days it was time to say goodbye to the Vosges, the quietness, the good life of doing nothing except enjoying!
Cheers!!! (Wanda, me, Gerard and Frank)
On the 18th of June, by coincidence I found a caterpillar of the Marbled Fritillary and three days later the caterpillar (chenille) was transformed into a chrysalis.
Due to the extreme high temperatures all kind of butterfly species started flying. Last year I only saw one or two White Admirals at the same time....this year I saw a lot of them. Most of them were flying around in trees (also searching for females) but in the afternoon some of them came down to the brambles or ground to drink.
So next year I hope to find a chenille of the White Admiral as a lot of Honeysuckle is growing near my house too.
At the moment the temperatures are out of proportion in France. Two days ago the thermometer reached 39,8 degrees and it is still bloody hot! With these extreme high temperatures it's almost impossible to photograph butterflies; even early in the morning the temperatures are too high and without dew they fly away immediately.
Due to the heat a lot of butterfly species emerged last week and one after the other beauty flew by and I even noticed some 'new species' around my house.
Last year the Purple Emperor and Lesser Purple Emperor loved Wandas dog poop but this year they were not really interested in it. The big emperor was not cooperative but fortunately his little 'brother' was:
The day before I arrived there were heavy 'orages' in the Vosges and I was not really surprised that the internet/wifi was gone. Getting it fixed in France is an other issue!
Today, after 8 days and two visits of a mechanic it's working again. So fingers crossed that the next thunderstorms will miss 'my' village.
During my last visit in May the wild meadow near my house was empty.
Now it is crowded with Black-veined Whites, which loves the white daisies, and Heath Fritillaries. In a few days it will be summer again and I hope that all the beautiful species which I found last year will emerge soon.
A few days ago a kind of wall and door in industrial style got placed in the living room for more temperature comfort....I'm curious to feel the difference during my next stay in two weeks. As I could not find any resting butterflies in the wild meadow and near my house, I did some jobs in the garden (after some rainy days). First I had to remove a lot of weeds before I could plant the flowers I brought.
In two weeks I will remove the other part of the brambles. Again a friend, who lives in the southern part of Germany, will come over for some days. She will help me with this bramble fight.....I'm looking forward to her visit and the cold beer after the job is done!
Last week I was in the Vosges and enjoyed the warm & sunny weather and the large amount of butterflies. While I was eating my croissant on Friday morning, the first Camberwell Beauty passed my terrace followed by some Brimestones. Half an hour later I was unable to count the butterflies....three to four 'dancing' Large Tortoiseshells and Camberwell Beauties, dozens of Brimstones and a lot of Peacock Butterflies, Comma Butterflies, Red Admirals en Small Tortoiseshells.
On Friday I used my good old Canon. Friday evening I switched the custom settings on the Sony and on Saturday I used my new workhorse for butterflies.....and I'm impressed by the live view zoom and the sharpness!
This Large Tortoiseshell is a 20% crop of the original and still sharp!
During my last visit I had a tight schedule for all the jobs I had planned. Due to a bad headache on the first day I could not paint the first part of the ceiling so the second day I had to paint the complete ceiling. I started early and at the end of the day the ceiling was ready and my arm/shoulder 'frozen'....but I was happy and satisfied with the result.
Again I bought some special butterfly plants and planted them and some seedlings in the front garden. Next year I will remove the other part of the brambles and ferns for more butterfly flowers but in the meantime I 'm searching for a small gate to keep the wild boars out of my front garden.
Some while ago I noticed a chapel down in the forest when I was driving through the Vosges and I planned to visit this chapel during my next stay. Although the forecast announced cloudy weather for last week, I did not see any clouds at all. Together with a friend, who came over from Germany for two days, I visited this chapel in the afternoon and I was impressed by its quit location and beauty.
Before we closed the door, each of us lighted a candle for the beloved ones we lost and still miss.....
As I see a lot of butterfly photos still appearing on internet, I had good hope to find some in the Vosges last weekend. On Saturday morning I searched almost two hours in the wild meadow. I found a lot, but no butterflies.
After breakfast it was time for an outdoor job....cutting down the young beeches in the front garden to create more space for flowers.
I overestimated this job as it costs a lot of time to clean up everything.
In the early evening the job was fixed and I planted the flowers which I bought from a plant nursery. In a few weeks I will plant some more plants and butterfly bushes as the car was fully packed this trip. My weekend ended with the traditional visit to a vide de grenier, a good cup of coffee and a nice talking/meeting with one of the neighbours.
The weather was fantastic in the Vosges en so I started with a kind of bramble fight in the front garden and while I was busy, some butterflies visited the buddleja which I planted in april. When it became too hot outside I moved inside and started with the painting job. First I cleanded the last dark row and big rafter and the next day (when it was dry) I put on the pimer layer.
Early in the morning I visited the wild meadow near my house as I hoped to find a lot of Chalkhill Blues. Although at day a lot of butterflies were flying around, it was hard to find any butterfly in the meadow. Finally I found three fresh Common Blues....two males and one female.
On Saturday evening I tested a french restaurant nearby and on Sunday morning I bought lovely high-tea tableware on a 'vide de grenier' so this trip became the perfect mix of gardening, painting, butterflies and enjoying 'la douce France'.
Since August 2017 I'm the owner of Maison Bonheur, an old farmhouse in the Vosges. Because of its location in the forest/nature the possibilities for nature/peace/relaxing lovers are limitless.