Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Cinnabar Caterpillars, The Blackbird's Child, and Something For Denise

I've had a Nice Peaceful Day today sorting through all sorts of dull but important admin-related tasks I've been putting off for ages. I made a list at the start of the day (I'm very keen on lists) and have ticked all my items off. Impressed? I am!

In between this Conscientious Display Of Mature Behaviour, I popped out into the garden with the camera to see what I could see, and discovered several Cinnabar Moth Children munching their way gleefully through our single resident ragwort plant which is growing in the "Wild Garden" (which is a rather grandiose title for what is essentially just a patch of grass we don't mow. Still, it has proved it's worth now hasn't it?). I had a look and there are several eggs still to hatch, which is exciting.





As part of my "things to do" list I remembered to sweep up all the dead moths which have been gathering dust on the floor after various moth-box outings in recent weeks (which just tells you how often I am to be found doing housework). I don't think the box has caused these deaths- we get such high quantities of moths in it that some are bound to be at the end of their alloted stretch. Indeed most of the little bodies lying on the floor were fairly well worn with faded wings which suggests natural endings rather than forced ones. 

I have yet to get rid of all the cobwebs liberally adorning the ceiling, windows and walls (which are death-traps for my moths), but one thing at a time, eh? I don't want to overdo it or my husband might collapse in shock at the unusual level of sparkliness in our house when he gets back from work. Given that he donated about a trillion squillion platelets only yesterday I don't want to do anything that might shock him while he is Low On Blood Related Goodies.

I gave the dead moths to the Blackbird's Children, who were suitably grateful...

 "What's that she's put down there?"

"Afternoon tea everyone!"

"Mmm!"

"Thanks. Those were nearly as good as the live ones you supplied us with yesterday."

Here's a pic of yesterday's (or was it the day befores?) tomato, now fully red and Ready For Eating. There are two, so M and I won't need to cut it in half. 


And here is a Chilli, which is not remotely ready for eating, but frankly it doesn't need to be. It's presence alone is enough to send M into spasms of ecstasy, as he has never before managed to grow one, despite Extremely Serious Efforts.  I didn't like to tell him it looked like a Pear with a hat on....


We've not quite reached Mid-Summer Panic At The Glut Of Green Things but I sense it's not Far Away judging by the Increasingly Anxious Pacing that M has been doing between greenhouse and veg patch over the past couple of days with a frown on his face. Glut Time happens every summer about now and generally we have the Same Conversation Every Year, which run thusly: M- "What are we going to do with all these vegetables!" Me: "Give them to the hens." M: "I don't grow veg for the chickens!" Me: "Well, you decide then." M, in tones of rising hysteria: "I don't know!" 

Every single visitor who ventures to the house at Glut Time (and even random strangers who have nothing whatsoever to do with us, just the misfortune to have been passing the gate while M is outside), inevitably has plastic bags stuffed full of lettuce, courgettes (turned by then into monstrous marrows), aubergines and peppers amid others thrust frenzidly at them. M is a Creature Possessed and Will Not Take No For An Answer, so you have been warned- don't come anywhere near Romsey in August unless you want to be weighed down with Lots Of Home Grown Vegetables!

I'll end with Something For Denise, who kindly wrote a post for me today containing a very amusing moth-related joke (you can read it here). I am returning the kindness, even though she called me a Weirdo and a Fanatic, because I am a Mature Person Who Rises Above Name Calling, with a cartoon (actually, it was on a card) I saw last week that I thought she, and those other chicken people among you, might  appreciate. The card is one of a range by a clever person called Trish Williams. My family and friends generally get treated to either one of hers or something from the Two Bad Mice compendium (they also do a marvellous hen-related card about the "hen-o-pause" and illustrated by an aging girl accidentally dropping an egg whilst lifting a leg to walk- makes me smile every time).


Enjoy your evening, whatever you are up to. We await thunder storms here, although not with baited breath because if we did we'd suffocate because I am not at all convinced that they'll turn up. We had some impressive sound effects and the odd luminaire to go with them here yesterday and a bit last night, but the rain that came frankly contained less moisture than you'd get if you put a sponge in the corner of a room and sat beside it all night.

Till next time,

CT :-)

14 comments:

  1. No rain here at all yet. I saw it over North Devon in the distance but I think Dartmoor is giving off a massive column of hot air that's pushing everything aside.

    Something that eats Ragwort! fantastic!

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    1. Weather forecasters getting over-excited I expect. We could do with some rain as well...

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  2. Yes, same here too, we are still waiting for the storms and instead we had blue skies, sunshine and 28 degrees! I think the chilli looks like a snake head. Love the blackbird chicks.

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    1. It's been hot here too, although a wee bit cooler than recently.

      It does look like a snakeshead! And a pear :-)

      M has asked me to point out that he has grown chillies before, it was only last year that he was unsuccessful (!).

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  3. Hi CT Yes I am a'list' also, I love to put a strike through the things I have completed. Very satisfying. Loved the idea of giving the Blackbird the dead moths. they looked like they enjoyed them. The tomatoes are coming on fine now and I am sure they taste wonderful. Margaret

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    1. Hi Margaret,

      If I don't write lists I remember nothing at all! There are three blackbird fledglings in the garden, this batch is this cheekiest yet, very confident and intelligent.

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  4. Thank you kindly, Missus, for the hen cartoon. Bought a much needed smile to my face as yesterday Pandora died, and it was all very distressing and sad.

    A true blog chum! :-)

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    1. Oh my dear. I am so so sorry. Thinking of you x

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  5. I've been hunting for caterpillars on nettles in our garden with no success so was pleased to see your Cinnabar :) I constantly make lists but rarely tick anything off so well done :)

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    1. That is the inherent danger with lists, and then they make you feel worse for not having ticked things off!

      The cinnabar was my second caterpillar of the year, after the cabbage white at the weekend. Hope you find some in your garden soon :-)

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  6. They are impressive caterpillars aren't they and seem to be everywhere at the moment on Ragwort (a plant which I have love-hate relationship with !). However I always find it strange that despite all the caterpillars, one seldom sees the actual moth itself (or at least I don't very often).

    We had some decent storms up here on Monday & Tuesday night with lots of lightning & booming thunder but didn't get much in the way of rain unfortunately.

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    1. We get lots of the moths here around the trap. The one I've yet to see is a Burnet.
      Still waiting on rain...I'm just off to top up the pond (again) :-)

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  7. I saw my first cinnabar caterpillars today after searching ragwort for the past couple of weeks! I've also found a few deceased micro moth type things on my windowsill... possibly drawn to the light of the moon (my lamp)when I have my window open! I would feed the moths to the blackbirds here but I think Bracken would get there first! He sends best wishes to Ted :)

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    1. There are moths around everywhere at the moment, perfect time of year and weather for them.

      Ted has (so far) been very good with the moths and hasn't tried to eat any (yet)!

      He says hi back to his blogging pal Bracken :-)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x