The weather has changed here this afternoon - it has been positively warm - and as a result, lots of flying people of the insect variety have been buzzing about making the garden sound like summer again.
I took the camera out to see who I could find and quickly realised it was a Day Of Shield Bugs. There were five in various locations, with three distinct varieties:
After chatting to the Shields I performed a Rescue Mission for a (Cardinal?) Beetle, who was Very Close To Death and half-drowned in the same water bucket that did for the caterpillar earlier in the week. I have now taken Seagull Suzie's very sensible advice and placed a bamboo cane in said water bucket which will hopefully prevent any Future Insect Casualties.
The Cardinal was Very Sweet, dried out on my finger then decided he liked it so much there he wasn't in a hurry to get off. I eventually persuaded him into the Delphiniums, where his red wings went rather nicely with the green leaves and petrol blue petals...
I had barely finished this rescue before I had to perform another, this time involving a Slender Groundhopper who confused himself with an amphibian and hopped right into the pond. Here he was wrestling with some sticky duckweed that had turned him upside down beneath the water. I watched for a second, uncertain whether this had been his idea or the duckweed's, and quickly deduced that the duckweed was in fact drying to drown him. This Wasn't Very Kind, so I scooped the Groundhopper up with my finger and gently eased the sticky weed off his legs. He rewarded me by boinging off onto the grass the second he was free. He must have realised this would Appear Ungrateful, because he then posed obligingly for a photo for about two seconds before pinging off elsewhere and disappearing pretty comprehensively.
After that I nearly trod on this froglet and only didn't because his ginormous leap saved him...
And then I found this HUGE caterpillar on the patio. Turns out he is a Buff Tip pillar (a type of moth we get here that looks like a snapped off silver birch twig), and he measured 55mm in length! The hairs are a warning that he is poisonous, so I handled him with Extreme Care, just in case it was people-poison as well as other-creature-poison..
After the pillar I found this bee inside a sunflower. Have you ever seen anyone so comprehensively covered in pollen? I am greatly surprised he wasn't sneezing...
After this bee I saw some More Sensible Bees feeding on the sedum. Every flower had a bee on it, which was Very Pleasing.
And then I found a Very Small Moth on the Michaelmas Daisies which are just starting to come out. In fact, there were lots of Very Small Moths, all identical and all Equally Mysterious. They are some form of micro, but they will have to wait for Christmas and the probable arrival of my Micro Moth Bible for an ID.
I wandered back to the Delphs to look for my beetle, but he was Nowhere To Be Seen, so I settled for a pic of the flowers instead. These were grown from seed (a little late this year) so I'm very pleased they have decided to flower.
Back in the Veg Patch and I spotted yet another Shield Bug sitting atop some sorrel...
And down on the drive a wild flower I Do Not Know The Name For, so if you can furnish please do. I've a feeling it is something Really Obvious that I should know but I've searched my brain and my books and t'internet to no avail :-(
I also found this Toadstool on the drive. It's That Time Of Year. I love fungi (to look at and photograph rather than eat- this aversion to ingestion stems from the time I ate a mushroom pizza when I was a teenager and spent the night hallucinating. I am assuming it was a magic mushroom that someone thought would be hysterically funny to chop onto a pizza and that the fairies weren't really there, but it has rather Put Me Off eating them). We get lots here (mushrooms, not fairies) with the damp conditions, so I shall get myself a decent fungi book and enjoy going exploring and looking for them as the Autumn comes in.
On a subject not related to mushrooms or fairies, earlier in the year my Robin (Blackberry) sadly died. I don't know the cause, perhaps old age, but we were very close and I have missed him all summer long. He used to sit on a particular branch on a particular tree at dusk and sing his little heart out. I went outside every evening to listen to him and not having him around this summer has felt like something important was missing. BUT, I am very pleased to be able to report that there is a New Robin in the garden, and he/she has decided to become my friend, to the extent that he/she is often not far away when I am in the garden, and even better has started sitting in the tree and singing.
I love Robins. A garden isn't a garden without a Robin in it. And talking of which, our house wouldn't be home without Teddy, Faithful Accompanier of all Garden Perambulations...
I'll leave you with a story M told me about Neil Armstrong, which you may or may not have already heard. There is some disagreement over whether or not it is real, but frankly who cares? It doesn't diminish from the enjoyment of the tale, which Made Me Smile, so I thought I'd share it with you all in honour of the approaching weekend.
Whilst walking on the moon Armstrong is supposed to have said "Good luck, Mr Gorsky!" after the "one small step" quote. When questioned what he'd meant by the remark afterwards he always declined to answer. Then one day he told journalists that as Mr Gorsky had died he therefore felt able to explain his words.
"When I was a kid I played baseball in my backyard. One day I hit the ball over the neighbour's fence. When I went round to get it I heard my neighbour (Mrs Gorsky) saying to her husband "Sex! Sex! You want sex? You can have sex the day the kid next door walks on the moon!"
Wishing you all a lovely weekend, and here is a sunflower to start it off on a Good Note.