Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Mavis Stops Being Broody and A Black Arches Moth Arrives,Yipee!

Hot here still. 24 degrees, so a little cooler than last week, but not by much. And Still No Rain....

Well, Kate and Wills had a Baby Boy yesterday, which is loverly, and to celebrate M and I watched "Life of Pi" (actually, that's a complete lie- we watched it because we'd just downloaded it onto the IPAD and bought a cable-thingy to attach said IPAD to the TV- a first for us - and we needed to see whether our Daring Adventure Into The Realm of Modern Technology had worked, which it had). I loved the film and thought it was amazing, so simple yet profound. 
When I tried to read the book I couldn't get on with it. Just wondering if any of you have read/ seen it and what you thought? Anyway, on the strength of that and because Everyone seems to be caught up in Ridiculous Bordering On Hysterical Speculation about the baby's name, I put forward Pi as a candidate, which would doubtless flummox everyone.

on a different subject there's been odd magpie behaviour here over the last two days. It's one particular magpie and he's fascinated by the windows. He hops up onto the sill and taps on the glass and this afternoon I'm pretty sure the thud I heard was him smashing into the kitchen window. I'm looking at him now: he's sitting in a tree watching me so he is fine. Strange though.

Yesterday Ted caught a vole, who was a bit gorgeous and needed rescuing. No harm done thankfully, and this morning I found a cinnabar caterpillar on the lawn miles away from the Nursery Ragwort so I returned him to it. I also spent what felt like HOURS last night scooping up Various Moth People who had strayed out of the kitchen and escaped all round the house, returning them to the Great Outdoors once night had fallen. It has, therefore, been a Time of Rescues. I've just been up to check and there are now five caterpillars munching away happily up in the Wild Patch.

Mavis has decided she longer wishes to be broody- possibly because she's had the last laugh holding onto that rotten egg which I tried to cook with over the weekend and therefore no longer has anything to prove. She's off the nest and back out with the other girls. It looks strange seeing three hens in the garden as we've had two for such a long time (this surely must be a broody record) but hopefully it won't be long before she's laying again and then we'll have blue eggs back, which is always fun. I will never forget one of L's friends asking me whether the eggs were blue all the way through. I regretted not being able to say yes.

I had an amble round the garden this afternoon looking for caterpillars, but although there are butterflies and eggs and copious holes in the cabbages which strongly suggest the presence of squashy pillar-type people, I couldn't find any. Odd. Perhaps M has employed the Blackbird's Child to patrol his veggies and she's eaten them all?

Cabbage White

Cabbage White Eggs

 Oh Dear. Nibbled cabbages. M Will Not Be Pleased. But No Cabbage White Children

I did find this fascinating skeleton thingy on the under side of my sorrel (which has also been nibbled). Anyone hazard a guess as to whom it belongs?

 I found some strawberries which the Blackbird's Child has yet to discover (better eat them quick before she does)

And got this close-up of a hollyhock that I rather liked....

I also discovered this Single Borage Flower blooming in the veg patch...

It isn't far from the red onions, which are also doing well...

As are the Mange Tout, although they are nearing the reaches of their edibility...

I really must find out the name of this pretty pink flower which M calls a weed. It is everywhere in the garden and for the past couple of weeks has been doing it's best to persuade everyone that it's actually an integral part of the smaller of our two apple trees.

I'm sure you know by now I couldn't write a post without including some Moths (what will I do over winter? Although you might be glad of the respite). The box was out last night but (thankfully) brought in only around 150 moths so sorting them has been a more peaceful experience today, and didn't involve a mass exodus at 7am while M was trying to have breakfast in peace. 73 different species, only a handful of which were new ones. This didn't matter because within the box was a moth I have Wanted To See For Ages: a Black Arches. What do you think? Isn't he/ she striking?

Very pleased to finally see him in the flesh. His colouring has been perfected to allow him to blend against silver birch bark. Amazing. Here are a selection of the others...

 This quirky little moth is called a Bird Cherry Ermine. He's only a few mm long so it's a Big Name for a Small Moth. If you've ever seen stretches of hedgerows wrapped in a silky-looking web-like material, this is the moth responsible. Isn't nature amazing?

An Inquistive Early Thorn

A great example of Moth Camouflage In Action. I struggled to see this Fan Foot against the flooring and almost trod on him :-o

A Minor Shoulder Knot.
I love the patterns on this little moth. It looks like very even stitching along the base of his wings, which is how you can tell that I wasn't responsible for it.
 Male Yellow Tail 
What Splendid Feathers. This moth is especially for Seagull Suzie because I know she likes the Fluffy and Furry Moths in particular.

The Graceful and Elegant Pebble Hooktip

One of my favourites, The Spectacle (for obvious reasons)

Riband Wave

Scalloped Hooktip 
(a new one for me)

 Poplar Hawk doing a Good Impression Of Being A Buffalo

 Another Poplar Hawk

Ruby Tiger. 
Glaring and a Bit Cross, I felt. Perhaps she didn't appreciate being put on a Waitrose Menu Card to have her photo taken....

Right, that's it for now. It's not a Moth Box Night tonight, which is a Good Thing because I am Knackered. A combination of all this heavy heat coupled with getting up at Stupid O'Clock to Bring Moths In over the last month or so. Fortunately, L is now on hols so we have no need to tumble out of bed at 6.30 (except, of course, that M is still at work so the dreaded alarm will continue to ping regardless of my sleepiness factor).

Have a peaceful night all,

CT x


  1. Oooooh....loving that Ruby Tiger Moth! What a beautiful colour. In the words of that irritating child from Despicable Me - 'It's soooooo fluffy, I could die!' Good grief!

    The unidentified pinky flower looks very much like the mallow plant, nay, enormous undergrowth, that took me three years to dig out of a border in order to make way for my beloved lavender. Could be, might be, apologies if I mislead.

    Yes, I tried reading Life of Pi too, mostly because it is now an A level text which I may be called upon to teach. Could get on with it no better than James Joyce's Ulysses or A La Recherché Du Temps Perdu, and my philosophy with such texts is 'If at first you don't succeed, try again, then give up. No sense being a damned fool about it.' Actually, don't give up - just lose interest.

    And I ALWAYS advise students to choose a more interesting book, like Enduring Love by Ian McKewan. But on your recommendation, I shall give the film a go!

    1. The Ruby moth is a particularly gorgeous colour and has only recently started visiting the garden, which I am happy about.

      I have now got off my backside and perused my wild flower books and discovered it is Great Willowherb (which is also rather marvellously known as Great Hairy Willowherb)

      I didn't realise you taught A Level. Bet that keeps the crinkles out of the old brain (not that your brain is old or crinkly). The ending is the thing to watch out for with Life of Pi....

  2. Love the Black Arches. You're very lucky with the vole; Snippet dispatches them in seconds if he gets hold of them!

    1. Yes, he's not quite got the whole killer instinct thing going yet- witness the terrible mauling of that poor snake :-( On the plus side he is brilliant with the moths- he lay there on his bed this morning with two or three buzzing around his ears and just gave me a patient look, love him.

  3. You are showing a secret world to me! I am amazed at your photos! Really professional! The sugar pea is great - it looks like an insect too. My favorite is the yellow strawberry - simply fantastic! Christa

    1. Hi Christa,

      Lovely to hear from you and I'm v glad you enjoyed all the photos. I've recently got to grips with the macro feature on the camera- it's been a revelation! :-)

  4. HI CT Firstly, I am nominating you for the Liebster Award and I will have the details on my post soon today. I hope you will participate.
    Well another fabulous post. Were do I start! Yes I have seen the fantastic film Life of Pi. Glad I didn't see it in 3D as I think the Tiger would have been a bit to scary that way and I had 2 of my grand children with me. I love the half ripe strawberry shot. 150 moths in 1 night Wow! So glad you found your Black Arches moth. He is very handsome. Most of the other moths are so aptly named and some so funny. I no nothing about moths but really enjoy seeing them on yours and others posts and I think I am even beginning to learn some of their names!!!! Margaret

    1. Hi Margaret and thank you for the nomination- very kind of you.

      I wouldn't have wanted to see the film in 3D either!

      So pleased you are enjoying the secret world of moths, some do have fantastic names, and all are fascinating :-)

  5. Hiya - I'm very glad you have upset previous trends by just beating me to the Black Arches. Fantastic moth, isn't it? Like the Puss & Leopard, relevant to the story of 'dazzle' camouflage in the 20th century. I think your weird beast is a young grasshopper and the pink flowers look mallowlike, but how should I know? Have you noticed with Ruby Tigers how reluctant they are to show their red knee breeches? I spent a good five minutes gently persuading one to do the business this morning.

    all warm wishes


    1. Ah, you are a gentleman Martin :-) (and no doubt will be back to beating me in the "first past the post stakes" tomorrow!).

      Grasshopper - yes, makes perfect sense because I found one in the same place only the other day. Thanks :-)

      The plant is a Great Willowherb but it does look mallow-like.

      And Ruby Tigers, well, this one certainly was grumpy. Everytime I nudged her gently she jumped in the opposite direction!

  6. Love the Black Arches moth - well done - I've never had one of those or the Ruby Tiger.

    Not read Life of Pi or seen the film - I think the book may be buried somewhere in one of the huge piles of books I have yet to read :)

    1. I'm so thrilled to have seen one. Really hope you get one soon they are amazing in the flesh.

      The film is worth seeing, although M would urge you to dig the book out and read it- he loved it :-)

  7. Lovely photos; the Black Arches moth is beautiful and the Early Thorn looks very sci-fi. I'm glad Mavis has abandoned her broodiness, I still have a broody hen here that is missing all the sun. And we cover up our veggies to stop the Cabbage Whites, so we have several fluttering angrily over the mesh here.

    1. She's been broody for WEEKS AND WEEKS, I've never known a hen like it. And now she looks anaemic as a result!

      I suspect we may get some netting for next year, we are inundated with cabbage whites :-)

  8. Hi CT if the sorrel is near the pond I'd say it might be a dragonfly or other nymph of some sort? Great photos-the macro setting is really working well, I love the hollyhock-amazing. Well what can I say about this moth collection....I was loving the Black Arches (admiring the furry legs) then moved on to the fabulous image of the Early Thorn....and then let out a shriek of delight when I saw the gorgeous Male Yellow Tail-thanks so much for showing him :) I just can't believe they are so varied and beautiful.

    1. It's not near the pond so I suspect a grasshopper, as Martin suggested, given that I found one nearby over the weekend. It does look very nymph like and thanks for the suggestion :-)

      SO pleased you are enjoying the moths. I thought you'd like old Mr Fluffy! x

  9. I tried to read Life of Pi years ago and got nowhere with it. However I saw the film which I thought was brilliant! I think it would have been vaguely frightening in 3D! I then decided I should read the book, which usually I don't like doing after seeing the film, but I found it much easier to read this time around!

    I love all your mothy friends! That Ruby tiger does look a little cross! You really do manage to capture their mood. Although probably according to science moths are unlikely to have feelings, but that doesn't mean we can't imagine what they would be feeling if we gave them human personalities :)

    That strawberry has lovely colourings.. is it a different type? Does it taste any different to normal ones?

    1. I thought Life of Pi was a brilliant film, beautifully shot, but struggled to engage with the book- usually find it's the other way round!

      I invest all living things with personalities, it's a trait left over from childhood- I think I'm too long in the tooth to change now!

      My husband thought I'd doctored the photo of the strawberry (I hadn't). I don't know why it's growing like that because it is a bog standard red one (or should be) but I did love the pic :-)


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