This is largely because they are flutters of Heaths and as we all know I am a Chalk Girl and get funny turns if I'm away from it for long :o) The Forest only being twenty mins away I figured I'd be safe for a short morning of Flutter Searching, so this morning Mike, his daughter and their lovely JR Dave (who wouldn't be parted from his stick until it was time to go home) kindly showed me where the SSBs can be found...
It wasn't ideal Flutter Weather, being cool, windy and slightly damp, but these Hardy Blues were flying (more or less) and we saw several males (their wives are brown while the boys sport blue coats with thick dark edges).
So that's another Species Tick for me and takes my 2015 total of Flutter Types seen to 35. Only one more to go to beat last year's total and I should manage that :o)
En route we saw a Stonechat singing in the gorse. Obviously, I meant the camera to focus on the vegetation instead. It was a Deliberate Arty Shot.... ;o)
I've had a rare afternoon at home today (much needed) and have spent most of it pottering about the garden with camera in hand watching the flutters and other insects enjoying the sun and the flowers.
There are a fair few Gatekeepers in the garden this year, I think because we've got long grass areas now and they are meadow butterflies who need grasses to breed successfully.
The Whites have arrived with A-Vengeance, presenting me with a Small Moral Dilemma. Their numbers aren't doing so well nationally, and today I've watched them laying eggs on M's Pride And Joy, his brassicas.....
I have also seen their Children climbing on the runner beans....
So, a Clash between Ecologist on one hand and Loving Wife on the other. Hmmm..
Incidentally, the pics above neatly illustrate how to tell Small Whites from Large Whites (no such thing as a Cabbage White, BTW, that's just a Group Name for all white flutters). The black wing marking extends more than half way down the wing in Large Whites, while it doesn't in Smalls (they are bigger too of course, but when you see them flying that isn't a reliable deciding factor).
Moving Swiftly On....
Other Interesting Things in the garden today included...
Birdsfoot Trefoil which is growing Like Topsy and starting to seed. It is so-called because the seed pods resemble a bird's foot
A Comma, who got stuck in the greenhouse and needed rescuing...
A Common Blue Damsel
Yesterday's raindrops on greenery..
Cosmea stamens, which always remind me of candles on a birthday cake :o)
A Crab Spider laying in wait on the buddleia..
My one-and-only and therefore Highly Treasured Knapweed, whom I have moved so he has a pot All To Himself :o)
Ripening Cherry Toms in the greenhouse...
And I'm Very Excited because I have found some Figwort growing in our bank. I love it because to me the flowers look like little mice sitting up watching you a la Beatrix Potter, but it is an important plant in herbal medicine terms having been used to treat Scrofula (which is the plant's Latin name), tuberculosis of the throat during the middle ages and probably long before that too. Culpeper (1653) called it throatwort because of this.
I was interested to read that it is an example of the Doctrine Of Signatures, which states that whatever part of the body a plant resembles it is able to treat. Hence, Figwort, which resembles swollen glands, is used to treat them.
And then there's Poppy.
I growled loudly, she leapt off the chair and shot outside, then had the temerity to turn round and sit calmly on the step with absolutely no trace of embarrassment whatsoever while she licked her lips in an mmm very tasty sort of way. She was completely unperturbed by the crazed shaking-fisted war dance I was doing inside the house.
Teddy was appalled and has spent the entire afternoon apologising for her, as he always does when she's done something he knows is wrong. It took him ages to flop out and enjoy the sun, after me repeatedly assuring him it wasn't his fault.
I calmed down by opening some packages that arrived today, containing FABRIC!
Wolf print for L after the lovely Jo told me where I could get some (thank you, honey)...
And I know it's July, but this Winter Print spoke to me so I got some of that too...
I have branched out into making tote bags, complete with padded handles (the pads came from off cuts from the quilt batting, nice bit of recycling I thought). This one took me several hours yesterday because I cut all the bits and bobs of fabric from scratch to make the patchwork. It's fully lined and you can't see the handle joins at all :o) Not bad for my first attempt at a proper tote, if I do say so myself. Next week I am going to learn how to make button hole and zipped bags, so doubtless I shall bore you all rigid with further Sewing Tutorials then.
I also made a killer chocolate brownie yesterday from one of Waitrose's Recipe Cards. It is Proper Yum, so I'll try and post the recipe for that too.
I'll leave you with a bee I rescued yesterday, who was in dire need of sugary sustenance (I know how he feels). L found him on the floor and noticed Poppy eyeing him so called me in. The little bee spent fifteen minutes feeding vigorously at the blob of honey I put out for him on the kitchen worktop, while next to him I made brownies wondering if I am the only woman in England for whom it is completely normal to do baking with wild animals as helpers, then he spent another five minutes methodically cleaning all the honey off his tongue and feet, waggled his wings experimentally and lifted up into the air. I steered him towards the open window and once he was outside he turned round and hovered for a bit. I told myself he was saying thank you before flying off into the garden. It lifted my heart and I was still smiling about it when M got home an hour later :o)
Hope all are well?
PS- I nearly forgot about Bop! I rang Jill a couple of days ago and although he's still on the small side and she's reckons it'll be another 4-6 weeks before he's ready to be released, he is coming on well and we're all set to bring him home to release him from here, when the time comes. I'm going to see him on Monday so will hope to get some photos to share with you all then. She's got him in a big shed away from people noise to try and prevent any over-attachment to the world of humans.
I should add, for anyone who's catching up and missed the Bop posts, he's a baby Tawny Owl we found injured on the road a few weeks back who is with a friend of mine who runs an animal rescue sanctuary.