20 July 2008

An afternoon walk in summertime

Yesterday afternoon it was my turn to walk Callie. It was a breezy summer afternoon, warmer than I expected. I put on a long-sleeved shirt over my tee-shirt but I was too hot almost immediately as we started down the hill on the north side of the house.

This butterfly seemed to wait for me to take its picture.

We walked along between vineyard plots, with the rows running away from us on either side of the so-called road. As we got down to the edge of the woods, I noticed the butterfly. It kept landing on the ground just a few feet ahead of me. I changed my camera to 7-megapixel mode and used the zoom lens to get a good picture. It waited patiently, ignoring the dog. Then it flew away.

Off the left of the road, a barking deer...

As we (the dog and I) entered the woods on a fairly steep tractor path headed downhill, I heard a strange barking on my left. It was a high-pitched cough, not really similar to a dog's bark, but a bark nonetheless. I know friends of mine will laugh when they read this: I think it was a roe deer — a chevreuil in French. They are said to bark, and I believe I heard one barking this time. It's not the first time.

Poppies, known as coquelicots [kuck-lee-coe] in French

Callie went running off into the woods, chasing whatever it was that had barked. I continued down the path, calling her. In a minute, she showed up, panting, with her tongue hanging way out of her mouth. As I said, it was hot. Then I saw the poppies, one of which is pictured above.

The grass "road"along the edge of fallow fields, leading down
to where new houses are being built

We emerged from the woods at the bottom of the hill and followed the grass "road" past some houses. One has a pool. The house is only a year or two old. There was a woman in bathing suit. She glanced at me and Callie and then quickly disappeared indoors. I noticed her car license indicated she was from the Paris area.

New houses near our hamlet

Since we arrived here in 2003, about a dozen new houses have been built within half a mile or so of ours. None is within sight of our place, but when people actually move in the local population will increase significantly. It will be interesting to see how different our neighborhood becomes.


  1. The pattern on the lower wingtips of the butterfly looks like two big cat eyes staring at you, doesn' it ... Enough to frighten off enemy bugs or birds! In Dutch this species is called 'Dagpauwoog' meaning:
    Dag = day (there is a 'night' time equivalent, with a different pattern).
    Pauw = peacock (similar pattern on the tail feathers of a peacock)
    Oog = eye
    Luckily it was kind enough to take it's time to 'pose' for you, so that you could share this lovely picture with us. Martine

  2. In French and English it is similar - Paon du jour in French, just Peacock in English. You can see them in almost any month and they will hibernate and pupate in sheds and little used rooms and cupboards. They are often very obliging about being photographed. Your photo is very nice and detailed. Very interesting about the deer - I think you are probably right, but not something I have personally experienced.

  3. Thanks, Martine and Susan, now I know what those papillons are called. I see them fairly often.

    I don't know who told me, or where I read, about barking roe deer (chevreuils), but I believe I do hear them from time to time.

  4. Excellent photos, Ken, as always and I'm so glad you're having nice warm weather.

    Do you think that these new homes are being purchased mainly by Parisians as vacation homes or is it too soon to tell?


  5. Deer here "woof," a warning sound to other deer to be cautious. It's not quite a bark. The fox's hoarse bark sounds similar, but sharper and not cautious--it sounds to me like the fox is announcing his presence, not giving a warning.

    Of course, animals with French accents will sound better!

  6. Louise, Wikipedia says: "The Roe Deer attains a maximum life span (in the wild) of ten years. When alarmed, it will bark a sound much like a dog and flash out its white rump patch." So that's what I'm hearing.

    BettyAnn, good question. I have been assuming that these houses will be permanent residences. But they might be vacation houses. I'll have to ask our mayor.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?