Thursday, 16 July 2015

Silver Studded Blues, Bop Update & Garden Flutters

I went to the Forest after walking the hounds this morning and met my friend Mike who had sent me some butterfly photos earlier in the week. Among them was a Blue Flutter and looking more closely at it I realised it was a Silver Studded Blue, a species I've never seen before.

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.....

Green-veined White

Large White

Small White
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.

Who is wearing that expression because she has been the Naughtiest today I think she's ever been. I left half a plate of chicken and rice (my lunch) on the table while I went to the loo and left the chair sticking out. When I returned a minute later she was standing On The Chair with her paws On The Table EATING MY LUNCH!!!!!!

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?

CT :o)

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.


  1. Naughty Poppy. The Mad Wee Dog has been known to pinch my lunch off the table as well. And also showing no remorse.

    1. Terrible Behaviour! How naughty are they? :o)

  2. Oh dear, the temptation was obviously too much. Lovely to see the bee rescue. And I was just thinking the same thing about the white butterflies earlier today. If they were really rare we'd be so thrilled to see them. Even if they were on a cabbage we were thinking we might want to eat one day. CJ xx

    1. It overcame all her training.... The trouble is, I look at her and start laughing because she throws the funniest expressions. Completely Hopeless for telling her off :o(

      Scarcity value comes in to all walks of life, doesn't it? It's not impossible that the Whites will be rare one day. Will have to see whether we can set a brassica aside for them :o)

  3. Oh how I MISS the Blues. They are my favourite butterflies and I see so few of them in our part of Wales as we're not on Limestone here - horrid clay and shale instead. Wonderful photos - thank you for sharing.

    I, ahem, have so much Figwort here, I, ahem, pull it up. Perhaps I should send you some roots instead?! I'll see if I have any left (it's very overgrown in my paddock plot) and if it looks like seeding, I will at least save you some seeds. . .

    Oh dear about Poppy - the temptation was obviously too great.

    Love the tote bag too.

    1. The Blues are a more Southern species group on the whole. I would miss them too.

      Isn't it funny how scarcity really affects the way you feel about something? CJ mentioned it in her comment too. This is the first figwort plant I've found here :o)

      And as for Poppy.... I think she's entering the terrible twos!

  4. Interesting what you say about bird's foot trefoil - I noticed on my walk yesterday how very tall it is growing in the grass on our lane. Must be a good year for it.

    1. It's doing well here too- the best year yet :o)

  5. Naughty Poppy. I don't suppose you fancied eating her lunch. Wouldn't it be lovely if everyone all over the world always took proper bags with them when they went shopping for anything and everything so we could properly ban the plastic bag. Up on the South Downs last week we saw lots of Marbled Whites feeding on knapweed, it's a very good year for both I think. They were so busy feeding that I even managed a photo or two.

    1. Her lunch was biscuits. Dry and yuk! I agree about bags- we try very hard not to use plastic ones. And now there is no excuse with all the homemade cotton ones I'm churning out :o) Marbled Whites have a thing for lilac and purple flowers- if you watch them for a while you'll notice it.

  6. Glad you got to see another butterfly, have been looking soooo hard this week to find something different, but to no avail. Hope the whites move this way soon.My wild flower seeds are coming through but I think I have been dooped as they are all looking a bit like grass!!
    Loving all your sewing, I can't sit still long enough or concentrate to sew at the moment, I'll save it for a rainy day.
    Glad to hear Bop is doing well, what about the bees in the roof?
    Amanda xx

    1. Hope you get to see some new flutters soon but now you've got your moth box you'll have them to keep you entertained all year round- winter and autumn bring a whole new set of species, some really beautiful and colourful xx

  7. Oh-oh Poppy! I bet your lunch smelt so good she just couldn't resist. Your sewing projects are really nice, looking forward to seeing your next tutorials. Great news about Bop also! Hope you are all very well. xx

    1. She was sooo naughty :o( And this morning she's escaped out of the garden....AGAIN. Can't find the hole anywhere. She takes herself off to see the workmen next door! Big gruff chaps they are but they always return her with a grin and a wave :o) xx

  8. I wonder how long it will be before my puppy tries to steal my lunch!
    I rescue bees too - I hate it if I miss one and it dies overnight in the conservatory. x

    1. Ted has never done anything like that so there is hope! x

  9. oh Poppy! that's all i have to say on that subject.

    the bee story is the best -- i'm quite certain he was hovering to say thank you for the snack and respite...bees are Very Polite like that.

    i can't stop marveling over the incredible detail of colour and pattern on flutter wings...isn't it just a miracle of a thing?

    glad to hear Bop is doing's going to be very exciting for you to be a part of his release!!! *squeee*

    you're going to wear me down with your tutorials....and those fabulous bags. :)


    1. She did squirm a bit when her dad came home from work!

      I think bees are very polite too- not like wasps and hornets who think they are In Charge Of Everything :o(

      Flutter wings are extraordinary- the scales have been used to inform science in developing new technologies. Good Old Nature, eh?

      I can't wait to see Bop on Monday. I bet he's grown.

      My Secret Plan is to wear you down so you stop glancing at your sewing machine and start making things with it :o) xx

  10. Oh naughty Poppy, Rocky hound pinched Rob's popadom the other day as it was hanging over the plate! Glad you got your fabric, I've had to do another little Christmas order as they have some lovely designs this year. Fabulous news about Bop, now I've never fed a bee in the kitchen but we have several times in the greenhouse or if we've had to fish one out of a water tub. Now, if your husband netted his brassicas you wouldn't have to face such a moral dilemma or if you planted lots of nasturtiums that could help as apparently they prefer the taste more x

    1. I;m glad it's not just Pop! I bet Rob was furious :o)

      I am starting to get excited about the prospect of craft projects for Crimble. So much lovely stuff out there. My sewing teacher puts on Christmas classes to learn how to make stockings and table cloths and runners etc. Can't wait!

      Hope all goes well today- don't cry! xx

  11. We have the silver studded blues around here. (Heathlands). They are so pretty flitting in and out as you walk the dogs in the heather.
    Oh dear your Poppy did make me laugh. :). My Jake did a similar thing with my sons Birthday cake :D. (Butter icing!).
    Lovely fabrics, especially that winter one.
    Take care x

    1. They are much smaller than I'd realised, but so pretty. I loved watching them nectaring on the heather flowers.

      Butter icing! Very naughty indeed! It must be hard-wired into JRs :o) xx

  12. Naughty poppy but then if you will laugh at him, why would he change! Love the Beee story and the butterflies are all gorgeous. Have a lovely weekend.

    1. That's true- she knows when she's being naughty, but just isn't all that phased by it :o)

  13. So much I could say, but quick version - all wonderful, poor T, naughty P, great sewing, hope you have a great weekend. xx

    1. Thanks my dear :o) I know you've a lot on your plate right now so please don't worry xx


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