Tuesday, 23 June 2015

June Bugs, and other Facile Observations

 This is a Luna Moth that I found clinging to the wall of the house on Friday afternoon. It was in deep shadow, causing the colour in this photo to be a bit exaggerated. We scooped it into a strawberry basket and stashed it on the screen porch until Saturday so that Miss G could see it in all its glory. She released it after admiring it a lot (the grandkid loves bugs of any sort) and it sort of shook itself and flapped off into a tree, muttering imprecations, I am sure. The adults live about a week, I read, meaning that we took a big bite out of its fun time.

This are European Skippers. They are smaller than the size of a quarter and so what you see here is a crop of a photo I took at the extreme of my telephoto, straight down. They are sitting on a clover head, surrounded by clover leaves. Note the eye patch on the top moth. What is interesting about these is that there are hundreds fluttering around our lawn the last few days and piling up in many hundreds on the dirt roads where there is a trace, I believe, of calcium for them. They eat and breed on grass and have only one hatch a year, but the eggs overwinter. We have never seen so many of them at once. Good thing we have lots of grass. They are landing on the YD's dog, who is spending a month with us, and it is funny to watch her try to fend them off. At least, funny to me.

We have too much grass. It has been warm and rainy, interspersed with beautiful sun, and the grass is growing so fast JG is mowing like a mad man and still not keeping up. This weather has also caused the flowers to come ahead fast and we already have orange lilies in bloom, along with the late iris and all sorts of wild flowers. My white lilac was loaded, early.

We also have the YD's cat and I sadly watched her tormenting a chipmunk the other day. Cats do this, and if the chipmunk had not dived for a hole beside the house, I think I would have had to go out, restrain the cat and kill the poor thing quickly. When I stayed with my grandparents as a small girl, there was a barn cat that brought her offspring to a spot below the summer kitchen porch (my grandmother always said she was leaving them for my grandmother to babysit) when they could walk. She would then go and trap a mouse or some other poor wee mite and let it loose, crippled, among the kittens. My grandparents said she did this to teach them to hunt and that we could not interfere as they had to learn to earn their living in the barn. But, soft city kid that I was, I hated the whole exercise. Even while I loved the kitties.I have two in this photo. And the dress is my Brownie uniform for summer camp.

The YD is off canoeing down the Nahanni with a group of fellow maniacs. She did the logistics for this trip and has been preparing for months. One of the trippers has a Spot and they are posting their location regularly. At present they seem to be moving down the river at horrific speed, covering big chunks of territory every few hours. I guess the water must be at a perfect level. It is reassuring to see the distance they are covering as it means they have not had to stop for any kind of mess-up. No one has had to swim, they have not dropped a boat, they are just rolling along. I love the modern equipment that allows me to look in on them like this. The daughter has done this trip twice before, once as an adjunct guide, so she does know what she is doing. (See mama reassuring herself. See mama pretending she is not worrying. Do not laugh at mama!)

JG turned out the boat yesterday and found it full of mouse droppings, nests made of chewed up charts, and other horrors. We do not know how the little monsters got in. Now if the cat wants to torment one of these wretched beasts, I may encourage her. JG certainly would.

Watching another series of thunderheads whisk in. We do not need more rain! Ah well, the flowers love it.


  1. We are in the midst of a severe thunderstorm right now...

    That luna moth is rather pretty, from a distance.

    I would not have done well as a child on a farm. Like Fern in Carlotte's Web, always ahrieking about saving this critter or that, no doubt!

  2. Forgive the typos. Blogger's being cranky and not allowing me to edit.

  3. I love reading your writing, Mary! Soon we need to meet, before summer gets too old...

  4. The orange daylilies are just about blooming here too. Speaking of orange or something like it, did you know that brownies now wear blue?

  5. Your photo in the Brownie uniform is charming. I hope you have a copy framed in your home somewhere. It's wonderful.

    Ohio is having constant rain. I wish we could send it all to California, or at least two thirds of it. It makes me soggy and cranky.

    Mice have been around as a result of the wet as well as the bad winter. Sigh. If they (and the chipmunks) weren't so destructive, they could be left alone. Maybe the cat can simply be a Resident Deterrent.

  6. Love your lunar moth. We do have skipper butterflies but ours are speckled.
    Loved your Brownie picture and the story of the kittens and the mouse is awful but I did learn that this is the way that the mother teaches them to catch things. isn't nature cruel?
    Maggie x