With the temperatures now getting into the high 30's every day we and the two boyz have well and truly settled into our summer routine. This means getting up before five in order to be out of the house and on our first walk of the day while we can still enjoy the cool early morning air. At that time of the day there is no one else around apart from the last of the deer scampering back to the forest. If the boyz are lucky they may catch the scent of a porcupine or hare.
Post walk there's breakfast at six and from then through to eleven its just about possible to work outside with our actions closely monitored by the two sheepdogs from their position under the shade of the pine trees. Today we started on weeding and straightening out the lavender beds. It was only when we started that we noticed that the lavender lines were covered in hundreds upon hundreds of butterflies - Cabbage Whites and Red Admirals - which flew up and scattered everywhere as we approached. Faced with such simple, glorious beauty we decided to enjoy the view rather than disturb them. Why is it butterflies seem to have disappeared in the UK? perhaps our decision to revert here to organic cultivation is already having an effect on our local micro-systems?
Come eleven and then through to three in the afternoon we and the boyz are in the house with the shutters firmly shut. This way we can escape the tarmac melting conditions outside while following our Scottish doctors admonition to avoid the melanoma inducing noon sun. When we lived in Scotland the temperature would occasionally get to 20 or 21 degrees on a particularly good northern summer afternoon - here it's hotter than that by six thirty.The boyz have taken to the new schedule really well. As soon as lunch is over they curl up on the cold stone floors and take a two hour doze to recharge their batteries. It's been so hot today that we have been raiding the freezer and feeding them ice cubes every half an hour or whenever they've ventured outside - thankfully they seem to view ice cubes as a great treat.