The girls have been laying well recently (although Mave stopped laying her blue eggs while we were on holiday, which I found rather endearing. It's her nerves you see. She'll doubtless settle down now I am home again and start laying again before long) so I decided to make individual custard and plum cinnamon tartlets (homemade custard too and a completely experimental made-up recipe, I hope you are impressed). They went down a storm, which was a relief.
The harvest, both mechanical on a grand scale and hedgerow on a smaller and more artisan scale, is well and truly underway now. While out blackberrying this afternoon near the deliciously-named Owl Cottage (which incidentally has a marvellous damson tree that overhangs the path, although they are not quite ready to start falling just yet) we came across this ABSOLUTELY ENORMOUS combine working in the fields. The dust it was kicking up was phenomenal.
It was slightly incongruous when compared against our old ice cream tubs and pair of hands methodology, but we enjoyed it and came home with a goodly crop (1.9kg), even if it was a bit hot for Ted and L got bored...
There was an elusive Speckled Wood who kept landing in the hedgerow then flitting off as soon as I got the camera focused. Eventually I managed to get him feeding on a blackberry...
Here are a selection.
Splendid feathers on the Black Arches
Common White Wave
(a new species for me and a very beautiful moth I think)
(Beautifully named, a very delicate-looking moth. This one is perfect so must be fairly newly emerged)
(new for me)
(one of my favourites- I absolutely love the delicate blush of pink in the spots)
Peach Blossom with wings open
(again, a perfect specimen so probably newly-emerged)
A quick Hornet Warning at this stage - for anyone who isn't a fan (Denise and Lou in particular) LOOK AWAY NOW! These SIX were dead in the bottom of the trap, I think they have been comprehensively mothed, judging by the amount of moth dust covering them...
As a sort-of connected aside, poor F has just trodden on a wasp who was Very Cross Indeed to be trodden on and promptly got his revenge by sticking his sting into F's nude foot. I've never heard F swear before, or seen him jump quite so high and fast, but it turns out he does know how to do both quite well. Anyway, I had to check because I can never remember, so for those of you who also need reminding, wasp stings are alkaline, so you neutralise them with acid in the form of vinegar or lemon juice. Bees (who are usually far too nice to sting anyone anyway) have acid stings so require bicarb of soda to ease the stung area.
L is convinced that the hornets above were bumped off by the Moth Bureau of Investigation (M.B.I) and has suggested we report F's wasp to them so they can take care of it for him.
Also in the trap was this rather charming Forest Shield Bug who was very friendly and spent ages walking over my hand...
And this adorable Nut Weevil. I am particularly fond of Nut Weevils. I love their expressions. Little cutey-pie.
We have had two births today, both successful, although typically I missed the actual moment of emergence from the pupa and only realised when a brand new shiny butterfly flew in front of my nose and landed on the window and I wondered where it had come from. A search of the box revealed two papery and decidedly empty pupas. I'll post the pictures tomorrow, along with the 50 or so Large White pupas which are still sitting quietly waiting for their moment in the caterpillar box.
Poor M has no brassicas left whatsoever, so I think he is being a Particularly Nice Husband to ooh and ahh over the newly hatched flutterby people when I call him over to admire them, rather than gnash his teeth and shake his fists and issue dire warnings of impending butterfly doom, which I rather think he is within his rights to do, given how much he loves growing veg. I am trying to help by removing as many caterpillars as I can from what is left of the cabbage. This is quite a time consuming job, especially as the small and green veined varieties are demons at camouflage and look a great deal like stalks....
Wishing you all a good evening,