After a lot of smaller jobs which have been done the past two years, it was time to do a big one.....the kitchen. As it was beautiful sunny autumn weather in the Vosges I started with the shutters; they needed a new layer of stain.
After the shutters were ready we chopped some trees for more light and space for annother butterfly garden. And then......we started with the renovation of the kitchen:
After 8 days of hard work the kitchen is almost ready (the furniture will be changed soon and I like to have a new 'cuisiniere'.
Time flies when you are having fun so eight days in Vosges went by too fast! The first days it was very hot, too hot for working. Unfortunately there was not much butterfly activity around my house nor in the wild meadow. The last two days of my stay fortunately the situation changed a little bit and I found the first emerged Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Essex Skippers in the wild meadow.
Near my house there was no sign of Emperors, White Admirals, False Heath and Marbled Fritillaries. In five weeks I will return to the Vosges again so fingers crossed that I will see some of these species than!
After nine month of absence I was very happy to arrive in the Vosges again on the 15th of June. As it is very hot in the Vosges too, I expected a lot of butterflies. When I entered the wild meadow yesterday morning I assumed that something was wrong with my eyes.....the meadow was empty.....almost empty as after a while we found a few butterflies (three species). A big difference compared to last year. The grass is extremely high this year and the flowers are deeply hidden between the grass; for butterflies impossible to reach and to roost on. Only on lower and/or small open parts we found some butterflies. Fortunately one Heath Fritillary had choosen a white daisy for roosting.
On the 16th and 18th of August I found the 17th species in the wild meadow near my house...a Mazarine Blue. The first butterfly was a female and I hope that she laid a lot of eggs in the meadow. Because the temperatures were high I had some hope to find other roosting species in the meadow like Clouded Yellows and Fritillaries.....none of them I found. The meadow was pretty empty; during my stay I had to deal with 9 Small Heaths, 2 Mazarine Blues and 1 Common Blue. Around the house there was more butterfly activity as a lot of Silver-washed Fritillaries liked my butterfly bushes.
On the 15th of June France opened its borders and on the 17th I drove to the Vosges for a week. After almost five month of absence the front garden and path were transformed into a wilderness and again I had no internet/wifi. In the evening I visted the wild meadow near my house which was full of butterflies.
The next morning I returned to the meadow and the butterflies were coverd with dew and I found some nice sitting Meadow Browns and Ringlets. During the week the amount of butterflies declined in that meadow while around my house the amount was rising.
During my stay the weather was much better than predicted and every day it became warmer and warmer and more and more butterflies emerged. While I was sitting on the terrace I noticed some little fast flying butterflies....when I came closer I was very happy to noticed a new species around my house....the Ilex Hairstreak!
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!
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.