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Daphne

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Daphne last won the day on August 1

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  1. I was at a friends house yesterday, she has a largish, productive kiwi, still very green leaves. I guess its all to do with location/access to ground water. Hers is next to a driveway - maybe this shades the roots? OH is in the UK and reports that everywhere is brown. I spoke to another friend yesterday (UK) and she said her garden is still green - possibly because she hasn't mown since May. I quite like the fact that everywhere is brown here, but because locals grow for shade there is also lot of evergreen in gardens - citrus, and things like loquat with huge leaves. The topfruit trees are suffering though. I have planted oleanders/agapanthus as they are drought tolerant and provide colour, plus we have camellia (evergreen) and olives along with the citrus and grapes, so its not too barren looking, although we also have large agave type things which are pretty desert like. I hope you don't suffer too badly where you are. It is grim. I still find it odd that the UK is getting on for being as badly hit as southern Europe as far as water is concerned.
  2. I remember a friend telling me about these, I'd forgotten. Given terracotta pots are cheap as chips here, I could give it a go, nothing to lose. Many old houses in need of tlc still have their original enormous clay pots for keeping wine, water and olive oil in, in the adega. Sometimes these are half buried in stone/earth to keep them extra cool. I have never quite understood how they work as you must have to ladle out the liquid contents, you can't move the jars. By the same token you often see 5l water containers outside very old terraced houses in villages/towns so they are warmed by the sun, enough for washing up/yourself. In the old days nobody had running water, and some still don't, you go to the communal 'fonte' to get cold water, and so to heat it you would have to light a fire. In some out of the way villages there is a still a communal laundry, a massive shallow water tank under cover with 'washboards' now made of concrete. As I've typed all this I realise everyone who uses them must wash laundry in cold water.
  3. I would imagine its not applying to homes (yet?) There must be some official guidance somewhere, and I would have thought that France would be the last place where the ordinary population would allow somebody in to check! 17 for heating seems extraordinarily low, for a home and 26 isn't that cool for A/C. Does it apply to hotels do you know? I must look it up in case it applies to care homes for my MIL; hopefully its unlikely that healthcare settings have to follow the same rules. Now I'm thinking about it, some workplaces (anywhere where heat is generated through machines or loads of computers for example) will be very unpleasant.
  4. The hosepipe ban in UK effects many of my friends/family and made me realise just how difficult it would be here if we had one. In the heat it is incredibly hard work to carry cans from the house to different parts of the garden. We have a big mist this morning which will clear later, its cool enough for a cardi and I am taking the opportunity to give the mature citrus and other fruit trees a deep water which they get about once a month to help the fruit grow. Even though its cool I'd be pretty exhausted by the time I'd done all of them, with a can. Pulled up all my pathetic toms, just got one bed left. I met someone yesterday who has a borehole and she said she was virtually self sufficient, even this summer. Grrr. On the plus side, I planted some ginger about 6 weeks ago and its shooting up to about 4 inches, in pots, in the shade. I also gave a friend some already gone over mint without roots which she has rooted in water, then planted it in shade, watered it, and it already looks green and healthy and rampant.
  5. I think we've all had unusual years - but yours is so much more successful than mine, MT! I am about to pull up one bed of toms, it hasn't done anything, possibly because I didn't put enough goodness back into the raised bed, its a shame as these were my big beefheart type. The cherry toms are also pathetic in volume compared to last year, but they taste good, almost like a roast tomato! I expect yours have succeeded because they mature earlier, perhaps before you got seriously hit by the sun. My 3rd bed of toms is being grown only for passata/sauce - a prolific variety but not too much flavour. Some of my branches are going brown, I can see that some of my watering is too vigorous. If I use a hose the feeder roots can get exposed - I obviously didn't plant them deep enough. All round, not the best year for tomatoes. I may have to rest them a year. I have some espelette peppers grown from seed, with fruit on (I think they are chilis really, rather than peppers, very small and quite spicy) and some herbs (parsley seems remarkably heat tolerant) and that's it on the success front, although I am trying to keep the strawbs alive through this heat, as they have a great taste. I can see little flowers where I water so I hope for a second crop. Plums = everyone had very small crops, apricots = early, then fell and birds/wasps got them, peaches - tasty but small crops. The olives are practically non existent, both at home and at the land, and the grapes are already turning so we should get some sort of crop, but I am guessing it will be small. In a way it has been easy to abandon crops because the conditions are so bad. I did water the mature plum trees before they cropped, and I am watering the apple on the basis it is bearing some fruit and its tasty so its worth it. My friends and I have an elementary grey water system - they unload washing up bowls etc into buckets to water in the evening, and I have a series of watering cans/5l water containers in all rooms with taps! I think rigging up something from the washing machine/shower is beyond us, although I do collect the water as it heats up. I am pinning my faith on green leafy veg in autumn/winter - your tip about cavalo nero is useful, I find Nero di T to be useless as well, though it may be my conditions. I can't grow sweetcorn (too hot, too much irrigation required), so if they don't succeed for you that may be part of the reason. You still have time for them to do their thing, they are normally ready in Sept, and squashes are deffo late. I saw my first black (cultivated) blackberry today!
  6. We all have adegas (wine making room) which are often under houses, and are always cool (stone). Ours has a beaten earth floor and is full of wood, so hardly comfortable, but our neighbour takes his siesta in his! I saw an aerial shot of a major river in Portugal taken one year ago and last week. The difference is shocking. It has prompted me to abandon watering everything except one tomato patch and a few perennials I planted earlier in the year which still need to establish. I can do the perennials using grey water from the house. We have not had a drought order all the time we've been here, but I won't be surprised if one starts soon. Have you got an emergency bag/s packed in case of fire? I strongly urge you to do this, better safe than sorry. Remember your important documents, a few clothes including long sleeves, water, food, valuables and any sentimental things like photos. I also pack loo roll, towels, something that smells nice (for a psychological lift), and vaseline/body lotions. I leave the bags together in one room and forget about them, but we both know where they are.
  7. I am wishing you a full and speedy recovery. Once you have your equilibrium back physically, the rest will be fine, you will feel up to dealing with it. You are doing everything you can in the house but its a real shame about the night time temps. I had one summer when I felt I couldn't cope at night, and I was agitating for A/C, but the screens have made the difference (although there is a lot of toing and froing to open/close things depending on prevailing breezes etc). We are on a ridge, and at 500m, so its probably cooler at night for us. Is A/C feasible, just in one room, so you always have somewhere to recuperate?
  8. Hi Beantree, I hope you are feeling better today. Although its easy for me to say, perhaps use the rest of this year to think about your chooks, how many you have and how they are housed. I know its super difficult in the temperatures we have, and I am certain you give them the best care possible, but when you are feeling calm, maybe think carefully about the balance between the cost/pleasure ratio. Your health is not something to take lightly. I can honestly say the only things I do outside regularly at the moment is to water the tomatoes and some young trees first thing and and last thing, once your core temperature has got out of kilter it is very hard to get it back again. As far as the house is concerned, I think we live in similar properties - an old stone building with thick walls. You may be luckier than me if you have proper French shutters. I expect you know all about keeping windows closed as soon as its warmer outside (so for me they are open between say 9pm and 9am latest). I have to say its been a game changer fixing cheap Lidl fly screens on most of the windows (make a frame and take them down at the end of the summer, so they last a few years) so they can all be open at night on the upper storey, meaning we get a decent nights sleep, plus for the very hot nights we use a floor fan. As far as curtains go, getting blackout linings or having interlined curtains is the only thing that helps, lightweight curtains are a waste of time for me. I also use black out material, cut to size, and stuck on small door windows (with tape, just temporary), and the down stairs windows that I don't want to leave open. Essentially we live in darkened rooms during extreme heat, and in fact its completely normal for houses here to have small windows, life is all about keeping the heat out, not letting light in! We don't cook indoors, just use the barbie, but really we try to eat cold food, or cook first thing and heat through in the microwave so you aren't pushing heat out.
  9. I sincerely hope you are OK Beantree. For everybody else, I am glad you have survived, hopefully unscathed. Its a real barrier, the UK breaking 40 degrees, I never thought I'd see that in my lifetime. I am equally as shocked by the news that somewhere in Normandy was 32.8 at 3am on Monday night.
  10. Daphne

    Meet Flo

    She is so gorgeous! She really reminds me of our little girl, they don't look remotely similar in colour/markings, but there is something about Flo's almond eyes, they are just like our Fig, although Fig would never be showing her tummy to the outside world, in case the outside world took advantage and she absolutely would never be lying next to anybody else, she hisses when any cat gets remotely close!
  11. First one is deffo a boy, and I think the others are as well. I cannot believe how big that BO is for 4 weeks and how much tail development there is! Which might indicate a cross as normally they are quite slow growing. However, he does look pretty orp like, except is that a bit of black speckling on the tail feathers - I can't quite see, if so, then he isn't 100% pure as we suspected. I have to say he is bringing back memories of a feisty buff cockeral I had! I will keep my fingers crossed for you, as you say it would be lovely to be able to keep one at least.
  12. Local weather station posted hottest ever temp yesterday: 42.2. Its hotter there than our house as we are higher. However, today is even hotter! Its not unbearable, we just don't do anything after about 11am. Have used a fan last 2 nights, and OH just switched one on downstairs, but best remedy is to watch Tour de France, which is in the Alps, and thank goodness you aren't one of the riders! The cats are spending all day flopped out. You'd think hens would be the same. Fingers crossed for all featheries.
  13. OMG - is that Cornwall?! I thought it was Greece, I've not seen water like that around the UK coast, it looks beautiful. I also think your fish picture is absolutely brilliant, are you tempted to have it on your wall, or send to the countryfile calendar or something? Also, assuming that's you, you look like my BF, in the words of Siouxsie Sioux a strawberry (blonde) girl! She is a Devonian, and the sea is her happy place too.
  14. With the blisteringly hot week many of us are in/facing, I just wanted to wish you all well with your birds.
  15. Lovely photo MT. You can tell we are starved of green! At least I am surrounded by evergreen trees, but at ground level it is all a shade of gold (or brown). Your landscape looks like a lush tropical paradise! And what an unusual rainbow, was Monday a lovely day?

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