In complete contrast to yesterday we have bright sunshine here this morning and the world is glistening. I've just been watching a tiny wee spider flying through the air on the end of his gossamer-thin, fine strand of web. He looked like a miniature, eight-legged, rotund Tarzan as he swung serenely between two trees, carried along by the faint stirrings in the air.
The air inside the house felt stale, so I threw open all the windows. Are you a windows open or windows closed type of person? We are windows open people. At night, in the heart of winter, through tearing storms. Can't bear to have windows closed and not be breathing cool, fresh, clean air.
It is getting cold here at night. I am pondering replacing the summer quilt with the winter blanket I knitted last year. M scorns extra blankets on the bed, but then he never feels the cold, whereas I have been known to sleep in a hat. The heating was on last night for the first time and we had a fire.
The moths that are out now are hardy souls, capable of surviving rain and wind and frost and cold. I feel my admiration for them surge every autumn when the butterflies tuck up and they just Carry On Regardless.
We had a Frosted Orange arrive here last night. I am always pleased to see them. They are beautiful, no? And if ever there was a good reason not to cut down plants you may conceive as weeds in your garden these moths are it. They need thistles, burdocks, foxgloves, ragwort, mullein and figworts in order to survive. The moth overwinters as an egg on the food plant and the caterpillar feeds inside the stalks where it also pupates. All good reasons not to cut these plants back if you have them in your garden. Maybe leave a small area where you're happy for them to grow? You'll find Frosted Orange moths all over the UK and they are out from now until October.
There was also a Plume moth in the greenhouse. I think probably a Common Plume. These are out from Sept-May and feed on bindweed. Another plant often considered a weed :o)
There were a couple more Sallows in the box, fresh as daisies. These moths lay their eggs on Sallow and Poplars and the larvae feed inside the catkins in Spring. Later they feed on docks. They are widespread across the UK and are flying from now until October.
The Small Whites I collected as caterpillars are still emerging as adult flutters from the pupae. This is not what I expected them to do. I thought they would go through the winter and emerge next year. Perhaps they know something we don't and the weather will have a final fling of warmth? They have all been emerging in the late afternoon which is the opposite of what I expected them to do. It must be a survival strategy- perhaps they figure sitting tight through the night gives them a better chance in the morning of making it to a flower and taking in nectar, but that means they have the entire night after emerging without feeding and in cold temperatures too. Curious. They are still alive in the morning so it is working.
With the nights drawing in, my thoughts are turning towards knitting, which is a Winter Occupation for me. I have a nice thick warm scarf to continue making (doesn't take long with such fat needles)...
And a heathery-shades blanket made of different squares for the sofa...
There are also books to be read. These are not pick up and read cover to cover in one go type books for me- I tend to dip in and out of them...
Perhaps I shall take a few with me when we venture on to a Narrow Boat in a few week's time. The entire clan is going to celebrate my ma-in-law's 80th. There will be sixteen of us split between two Narrow Boats. The children have already begun putting forward their case for commandeering an entire Narrow Boat to themselves. What's not to worry about with that, eh?
There is an eighty year gap between the oldest and the youngest of us, although admittedly it can be a little hard to tell sometimes which is which. My FIL was busy pogo-ing with his grandchildren on his 80th- we had a laugh thinking about how he would explain any injury sustained from falling off the pogo stick in A&E.
I've never been Narrow-Boating but have always thought it looked like a peaceful way to travel along water. I suspect I have vaguely Viking roots so perhaps I shall feel at home? I shall take knitting and books and the camera and binoculars and if I get fidgety at the lack of activity I shall jump onto the tow path and run up and down for a while :o)
I'll leave you with a couple of shots of the Black-Eyed Susans which are flowering profusely and wish you all a peaceful day,