Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Kama Sutra For Insects and That's It Poppy! I Have Had Enough!!!!!!!

Firstly, thank you all SO MUCH for all your kind words about Cleo yesterday. As has been said before by many a blogger, the friends you make writing and reading blogs are special folk and it helped knowing everyone was wishing her well. She seems much more settled today, and even managed to make a bee-line for her morning fish and eat it without knocking into the bowl. A Good Sign and one which made me smile (unlike yesterday when the knocking into things was making me cry), so that's All Good Stuff.

However, I wish the same could be said for her smelly, scruffy, woofy little sister. 

Poppy disgraced herself for the umpteenth time on Tuesday by (you guessed it) rolling in fox poo AGAIN. She did it while I was distracted by a moth, who'd just whizzed past my nose and settled on a plant on the side of the woodland track where we were walking. I was preoccupied trying to get a picture of it and Pop's took full advantage of my moment of distraction to really rub herself into the poo good and proper.

We all know what FP smells like and how it lingers so I won't make you feel sick by describing it. Suffice to say that despite a vigorous shampoo with some smelly herbal stuff I bought for the purpose last week (this was a Cold Shower into the bargain, in the vain hope that she might start to associate the smell of fox poos with freezing jets of water. No Hope...), she still reeked afterwards.

Boy did it linger. I think it got stronger as the day wore on, so much so that we had to light a frankincense oil burner in the sitting room and move her bed to the other side of the room in order to eat supper without gagging.

By yesterday I had had enough, so I went to the shops and paid £3.99 for a bottle of this.....

£3.99?!!!!!! That's more than I spend on shampoo for me!

It had better bloody well work....

Here's the recipe for Fox Poo Removal, in case you ever need to try it for yourself....

1) Assemble the Required Equipment. At the very least you'll need a lead, a bottle of suitable shampoo and impermeable gloves (and if possible I suggest an industrial apron and a clothes peg too)......

2) Get one dry but foul-smelling terrier (I love the way she's sticking out her tongue: it's almost as if she knows what's about to happen and is letting me know what she thinks of it)....

3) Soak the offending article and scrub with the shampoo, trying to avoid it escaping and Running Amok around the patio before it's been rinsed off....

4) When you have re-captured it, Rinse and then Release, allowing maximum scraping and shaking time so that this occurs before it comes inside your house....

5) Ensure your other dog is safely indoors while this is happening, and can not therefore be used as an unwilling towel (like last time)....

But did it work?

Broadly, yes I think it has. There is a faint whiff still hanging around her but nothing like it was. 


To recover from the trauma of giving Pop's a bath, I took the camera to the top of the garden and went to investigate who was about the ponds. I wasn't disappointed; the Fish Pond was heaving with Large Red Damsels, one of whom even landed on my arm!.......

There was a fair bit of mating and egg laying business going on, which is fab news. In one of the pics you can see the nymph case at the base of the reed that one of these damsels may well have come out of....

Nymph case at very base of main stem in centre of pic...

The only thing that surprised me was that they had chosen the shallow fish pond rather than the deeper wildlife pond beside it. I thought the fish would eat the larvae, but they clearly laid eggs in the fish pond last year and made it, so I shall stop worrying. Nature knows best (hopefully).

Here's the evidence...

Damselfly nymph case


It was a day for taking snaps of insects inflagrante, however unintentional. I guess the warm sun gets them in the mood and there's no time like the present...

These three Dock Bugs were busy on the sorrel as well....

Other Interesting People who were out and about in the garden included....

Aquilega, self-sown

Teddy, sunbathing

Bog Bean, flowering for the first time

Eggs? Under nettle leaves

A sprouting onion

Poppy, looking (and very nearly smelling) angelic

Cardinal beetle Pyrochroa serraticornis

My lovely Robin, who nearly landed on me yesterday when I was re-filling the seeds on the bird table
There was lots going on in the front garden too, including this lovely shiny Green Sorrel Beetle (I'm a bit In Love with beetles this year....)

And my first Large White of the year, feeding on the lilac....

And this beetle who I think is Oedemera nobilis....

My Garden Species list is Coming Along Nicely, with well over three hundred different species listed on it now. I think if I was better at id'ing flies and beetles it would zoom up, so there's a challenge!

Wishing you all a peaceful evening,

CT :-)


  1. Gad your cat seems to be coping ok. I love the description 'Soak the offending article' for your smelly dog. Fabulous photos of the wildlife in your garden.

  2. Sympathies with the Fox Poo ritual! I`ll have to try that shampoo. It`s the most awful stench if the stinky dog gets into the house first......

    Beautiful damsels and other insects. I noticed the Return of the Mint Beetle this morning. Just one, so I hope he/she`s the first of many.

    1. It is THE MOST disgusting and lingering smell isn't it?

      I've been keeping an eye out for mint beetles- lovely to hear yours has returned.

  3. Great moth photos yesterday and pond photos today and glad that Cleo came home with you - but I know just how you must have felt. As for Fox Poo Poppy!!! Little horror - but at least the appropriate shampoo seems to have helped. You will have to have a little poo-proof coat for her for the moments when you are distracted - and she notices!

    1. A Poo-proof coat is a great idea! :-)

  4. Ah bless Poppy :) actually I heard that tomato ketchup works brilliantly on fox poo. Lovely photos again, just can't wait till I get a garden so I can install a pond.... after a man shed of course.... then again perhaps a wildlife pond tucked away on the allotment....mmmmm

    1. My husband would agree 100% about the man shed.... Apparently, even a dustbin lid of water can make a difference to the kind of wildlife that visits your space- worth a try I should think?

  5. I will skip over Poppy's antics! No doubt least said soonest mended! Your photos of the karma sutra antics are amazing though, truly stunning. Are you sure that you are not some famous wildlife photographer and you are just keeping it from us! xx

    1. Now, that would be a good ruse wouldn't it? To secretly be famous and pretending to be someone else :-) No, I'm afraid it is just little old me, but I am very glad you liked the pics x

  6. A cheaper alternative for fox poo is tomato Ketchup! My Labrador used to roll in the stuff regularly...euch. Liberally rub ketchup into the messy spots (wearing rubber gloves of course) and leave to soak in for about 10 minutes, then shampoo off. It really works BUT watch out and keep your doors firmly shut whilst the ketchup is neutralising the pong unless you want red ketchup all over the house. I used the method for years and kept a bottle in a plastic bag in the fridge labelled DOG specifically for the dog and to stop the family using it on their chips...there was another bottle in there for them!

    1. I will try Ketchup Ellen, thanks for the tip, as I'm quite sure this is not the last time she will do it!

  7. Glad to hear the new shampoo had a neutralising effect :)

    I love the damselfly and beetle photos. No damselflies in the garden yet but I did see some today when I was out walking. I have almost given up on fly id :( Beetles I am prepared to persevere with :)

    Thought of you last night - have finally started knitting my blanket!!!! and began reading the next Merrily Watkins book in the series - I couldn't put it down!!

    1. I've just ordered a rather ancient beetle field guide- it was the only one I could find that didn't have a horrendous price tag :-( Also, an excellent little book called 'common micro-moths of berkshire' which details many of those we get here. Great photos for ids. Got it from Pemberley books, if you don't already know of them it's worth a look- they have stacks of interesting nat hist type publications.

      Good luck with the blanket - I look forward to seeing pics :-) We sleep with the one I made on the bed, it's soooo cosy :-)

      I'm on 'The Prayer Of The Night Shepherd' at the mo and loving it. Also unable to put it down so am having to ration myself until the exam is done!

      Water vole course today was excellent- lots of signs of wvs but no voles themselves. I now know what to look for so will be out scouring the rivers! Will do a post about it over the weekend :-)

  8. Hi ! Love your photos of the Damsel flys and Bugs, found the same "eggs" (fungus) as you by the pond.Itis Puccinia a rust fungus, there is more than one type.
    Have a good weekend, I have well over 300 photos to go through and I.D ! Happy days
    Amanda x

  9. Excellent! Thanks for the ID, it had been irking me not knowing what it was :-)

    I've got to go through my pics this weekend too- I expect we might be asking each other for help afterwards :-) Enjoy the beautiful weather x

  10. I think the shampoo is worth every penny if it reduces that terrible smell. Just imagine if everyone in the country put in a small pond, how good it would be for wildlife-they don't need much to get them going.

    1. Very true re the shampoo and also re the pond- I have been helping out at college's open day today and found myself giving exactly that advice whenever people asked what they could do to help encourage and support wildlife (that and leave a long patch of grass somewhere). Just imagine the difference two simple things like that would make.... :-)

  11. Teddy looks quite content to have dodged Poppy's poo bath !

    1. I think he was relieved- he asked to go in long before I thought to suggest it. I think he remembered what happened last time :-)


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