Monday, 3 November 2014

Profiteroles and Vestals

The Dinner Party went well (apart from the Crumps getting lost in a trailer park but we won't go into that).

I thought you might like to see the profiteroles I made (I'm showing off here because I put them on a proper cake stand for once, built them into a tower, stuffed cream inside them and then drizzled chocolate all over them and they did look Rather Appealing.....).




They didn't last long :o)

The topic of conversation found its way round to job satisfaction, and I promise I did try very hard not to get on my ecological soap box, but in my defence I find it incredibly exasperating when otherwise intelligent people fail to grasp the severity of the situation our wild things are facing and brush it aside with an arm waving dismissively in the air in a kind-of: 'Oh, we'll find a way through,' attitude.

Because we won't. We've buggered things up and we need to take responsibility for it, address it and do something about it before it's too late, which is more or less what I said on Saturday.


We've been looking at Ecosystem Services at college, and while it saddens me that nature has to be put in an economic bracket, I get that for many people that is the only way to make them understand its value, relevance and importance to us all and therefore ensure that they help sort the problems that we've created out. 
Drinking water is a good example. Currently an enormous problem in the UK, many of our water courses have been polluted to the extent that it is now not possible to get them clean enough to drink without major costs involved. And so, in the South at least, water is currently being shipped in in vast quantities from abroad in order to meet demand. That's an ecosystem service that we all rely on that has worked perfectly for thousands of years: it's only in the last fifty that we've managed to bugger it up to the extent that it's now not working at all.

Ecosystems also provide us with the soil that we grow our food in and the air that we breath, so these things are not remote: they are fundamental to all of us.

This is the kind of thing I try to explain and get exasperated when it's waved aside as if it doesn't matter. Doubtless there will be more about it in the British Wildlife Journal that I've just treated myself to. The first issue arrived over the weekend and I am looking forward to lighting the fire this evening, pouring a large glass of wine and settling down for a Good Read....

 

I am persevering with the moths as the weather turns, and this has proved worthwhile because I've had six new species in the last two outings alone, three of which are new for the garden. This morning I discovered a Vestal in the box, which is Very Exciting because I have long wanted to see one....


I know it may not look like much, but there is something about Vestal Moths that intrigues me. They are almost all immigrants from Southern Europe (it's too cold in the UK for them to breed), and that in itself always makes a moth special to me. This little one only measures 22mm yet it's flown across the sea to reach these shores, as its ancestors have been doing for centuries. This one is a lovely rich pink colour, but they also come in a more creamy variety where the blush pink stripe really stands out.

The other New Arrival was this lovely Mottled Umber, another moth I've never seen before. I knew what the Vestal was as soon as I laid eyes on it, but this one I had to look up....


It's from the Geometridae family which includes the Peppered Moths and the Thorns. It's one of those moths where the females are flightless, so the one above is a male. Their flight season is October to January, so it's a winter moth and its arrival here during the night is therefore bang-on. It's well distributed throughout the UK and is essentially a moth of woodlands. Lovely, don't you think?

Numbers are starting to fade; only 6 in the box this morning compared with 23 on Friday, but that's as you'd expect for the time of year. It's also peeing it down outside and while moths don't mind some rain, they don't like big fat blobs, so all 6 are currently tucked up inside the house snoring away where they'll remain till nightfall.


I'll leave you with some soggy pics of the garden taken this morning, and a couple of Miss Pops from last night in her favourite position under the sofa throw....






Have a peaceful day all,

CT :o)

22 comments:

  1. That's really disturbing about the water system, why is this not plastered everywhere and all over the front pages rather than who wins X factor/strictly?

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    1. Ah Julee, it would drive me mad if I let it. This obsession with all that glitters at the expense of what actually matters has already cost us dearer than most realise. I think the real problem is an economic one (as well as a vote winning one)- sorting out the mess we've created requires a fundamental shift in a lot of our well-worn practices, and people just aren't on board with that yet- or haven't been given the opportunity to understand it. Education, education, education :o)

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  2. We left the UK (south) fifteen years ago so i had no idea that the water is being shipped in from abroad. That's awful that it's come to that.
    Love your moth and doggie pics. :-)

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    1. Its a fairly recent occurrence and it is utterly shameful. It's essentially the heavy pollution load from agriculture, industry and domestic waste that's caused it. Thanks for the comment, Deb and for the follow too :o)

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  3. Hey CT,
    I didn't know that about the import of water. Scandalous really. I get cross when people wave their dismissive hand about wildlife. I would imagine with your deeper knowledge and understanding you get apoplectic. I used to get dismissed for being a counsellor. It was seen by many as a load of old middle class crap. I found it hard to bit my tongue. Firstly, how rude to dismiss something that you do for a living and are passionate about. Secondly don't knock it until you've tried (or learnt about) it. Thirdly it's usually the people who either need it (the counselling) or eductaing (the state of our ecostystems) that ridicule it the most. Not very well put, but I think you get the drift.
    Beautiful moths. There is always something new and brilliant to discover.
    Have a lovely week,
    Leanne xx

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    1. It is appalling that we now have to buy water from abroad. What a mess.
      I am trying to breath through my irritation when people fail to take the plight of wildlife seriously and stay calm and try to educate them. I remain convinced that most people have good intentions and want to help, they just need to be shown the most practical way to do it.
      Know exactly what you mean about having your work dissed- happens all the time with healing. I just smile inwardly and then ask them politely how long they've had the problem with their shoulder or the stomach problems, that usually wipes the smirk off their faces :o) xx

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  4. I really look forward to your posts. I'm a huge fan of nature and wildlife and feel very strongly about it like you. Most people don't really think about anything important do they? It's all bloomin celebrity and noise from what i see. Rant over.

    Jean
    x

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    1. Thank you Jean. It is immensely warming and encouraging to hear from folks who share that outlook and support all our wild things. I'm more and more convinced that education is the key to turning this situation around. Couldn't agree more re celebrity obsession. I don't understand it at all. If you have fame then at least put it to good use and support something real that matters x

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  5. Well, if it is any consolation, I am learning a lot from reading your blog. I identified a moth! A blood vein that was in the quiz on autumnwatch. Not much I know, but a year ago I had no idea that there were so many moths, let alone what they might be, so you are doing well at educating me! xx

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    1. Hooray! That's excellent- well done :o) I am proud of you. Thanks so much for the encouraging comment, Amy xx

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  6. Well I didn't know about the shipping in of water. This is scandalous. I am glad your dinner party went off well and I am sure your guests may well think more now about wildlife and the trouble it is facing after hearing what you had to say. Loved the Moths shots

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    1. I hope they do, Margaret. I don't want to brow-beat people but as you say, much of the detail about what's going on in the environment isn't publicly known and I feel it's very important to pass this kind of information on.

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  7. Love the moths - how I would like trap a Vestal :) I haven't had my trap out for a while too much overnight rain :(

    I won't start about ecosystem services otherwise this comment will turn into a rant!! But you will enjoy British Wildlife Magazine - it really is brilliant :)

    The profiteroles look scrumptious - I really like making choux pastry (I find it easier than most other types!)

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    1. I don't know what it is about the Vestals but I have long wanted to see one too. Hope they find their way up to you.
      I also find prof roles fairly simple to make (and eat!). :o)

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  8. Love your dog.....looks so cute peeping from his hideout.

    Moths are very underrated in my humble opinion.....some of them are very beautiful. I was fortunate enough to have a pair of elephant hawk moths in the hanging baskets this year :)

    We have a well in our garden and the water is clean and pure.
    The water that comes through our taps goes through two filters to take out the muck that is in our water these days.......

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    1. Hi Cheryl and thank you for the comment. I'll pop over to your blog later.
      Ele hawks are stunning things. I still remember the amazement when I saw my first- I had no idea moths in this country could be so spectacular and exotic looking.
      Your well sounds lovely...wish we had one here :o)

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  9. Great post: superb profiteroles (I am hugely impressed), ecology (couldn't agree with you more), moths, and to top it all the wonderful Poppy (looking a bit Flossy-like in that last pic)! What a combination! - L xx

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    1. Thanks Lily :o) I love the way Pop gets herself under the covers and snuggles down like that (makes up in some small way for the poo she did on the carpet last night!). Love to Flossy xx

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  10. Two lovely moths, the Mottled Umber is beautiful. Water is wasted, wasted, wasted, as people flush the loo with clean water when we should be using rainfall. Enough new houses are built that should have rainwater harvesting...that makes my blood boil, as it rains enough in the UK.

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    1. The mottled umber is a lovely moth- I really like the markings. I agree about flushing. We minimise flushing here to the bare necessities. Also agree about rainwater collection. We have a few rain butts around the garden and it always amazes me how quickly they fill.

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  11. Exciting that you are still seeing new moth species! And those profiteroles look very yummy indeed. :-)

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    1. I'm sending you some virtual Prof roles right now... xx

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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