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'.
In two days I will be in the Vosges again and I guess the butterfly season will be over for this year; maybe some old Silver-washed Fritillaries and white species will be left. For me the perfect opportunity to restart my painting job(s) and to make plans if/to remove a part of the wall plaster/isolation in my living room.
In april the contractor replaced two old rotten rafters (see my blog from 18th February), one for a steel beam....at least that was his offer. Instead steel he used a big wooden rafter. Due to the big temperature differences in the house (at arrival during the winter and after one day heating) I'm glad to have wood but until now I'm hesitating if and how I will paint this big (eye catcher). Any suggestions are welcome.
The beige stove in the corner has been replaced during my last visit by a 'dutch' one with more power and will be tested as soon as the temperatures will fall.
One month ago I collected a part of them in the Vosges (see my blog Butterfly Walhalla part II), raised them in the Netherlands and released a big part of them last weekend in the Vosges on the place they were born.
Collected as caterpillar, returned as chrysalises to the Vosges and released as fresh born butterflies: 16 Camberwell Beautys.
Next to the Emperors an other big surprise was the discovery of the False Heath Fritillary which I found a few metres in front of my house near the path. It was the first time ever that I photographed this species.
An other butterfly species which I have not seen for a long time was this High Brown Fritillary which I also found in front of my house. For both species I will arrange some (extra) larval foodplants in my garden as I like to have them as a caterpillar.
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.