I'm still watering my dry garden, although thankfully plants are not drying out quite so quickly now the weather has cooled, although certain veggies have no idea it's time to slow down; so long as they get sunshine they will just carry on growing!
|Courgettes still think it's mid summer and the Aubergines which took a while to get going |
have produced more fruit than I had expected! That's their pretty flowers top right.
Below are the two best of a bad bunch. I used my dslr and macro lens for this Buffalo Treehopper and managed to stuff up the focussing of every single shot. Grrrr! And it's the first time I've ever seen a Treehopper. This one is on a physalis stem and from what little I know about them, they are an introduced species from N. America and can be a pest on fruit trees. I've searched the physalis in vain since then but haven't found one again.
|Buffalo Treehopper (Stictocephala bisonia) on a Physalis stem.|
And then I came across my old friend, the Ornate Shield Bug on one of my purple curly kale plants. She'd been feeding on the leaves but that wasn't what I first noticed, it was the eggs she'd laid. I have to assume she's a she because she's the only one around. When the eggs hatch I am going to transfer the entire family to my nasturtiums because I really don't want my precious kale damaged!
|Ornate Shield Bug (Eurydema ornata) with damage to her ? corium ?. |
I'm not au fait with true bug anatomy!
In the collage below of the eggs, I did wonder about those two white ones, but the next day they'd toned down to a paler grey. However they haven't changed to black like the others so that's a mystery so far. I'm watching them every day to see what happens.
|Ornate Shield Bug (Eurydema ornata) and eggs on curly kale leaf.|
And..... I finally saw a not common round here Common Blue this year! A tatty old female flitting low over my lawn (yes that's my tatty old dried out lawn) and yes I did get shots of the underside of the wings to check the spots for ID purposes. None of the shots are much good for sharing, but I have much better photos from previous years so it doesn't matter.
|A tatty looking female Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) |
and Wall Browns (Lasiommata megera).
|Unknown solitary bees buzzing around and going in and out of holes on the sandy bank beside the pond.|
The next buggy is one of my favourite critters - I'm pretty sure it's a Chestnut Weevil although there are some similar ones which bore into other nuts, all from the Curculio genus. They use that amazing snout which is called a 'rostrum' to bore holes in the developing nut in order to lay their eggs inside. This is what the larvae eat until they leave the nut in the autumn and spend the rest of their time as larvae in the soil, emerging as adults in late summer to repeat the cycle all over again.
|Chestnut Weevil (Curculio elephas).|
|Chestnut Weevil (Curculio elephas). This one is a female, as she has a longer rostrum than the male.|
|Here's one of the larva of the Chestnut Weevil which I found perfectly formed but boiled to death!|
I avoid cooking any chestnuts with obvious holes, but there are many which are damaged
that you just don't know about until you peel them.
There have been a fair few dragonflies around this month, many of them in the last ten days or so, but apart from one Blue-tailed Damselfly the only other species I have seen is this Spreadwing.
|Western Willow Spreadwings (Chalcolestes viridis), not quite in the mating wheel |
but either thinking about it, or after the deed.
It was exciting to find two new species of dragonfly that either I hadn't seen before, or hadn't seen here. I had seen a female Ruddy Darter elsewhere this year but the male is a handsome beast.
|A male Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum).|
|A female Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) who let me get close to her, |
but still wouldn't come on my finger!
|I was really pleased to discover this Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica) dragonfly.|
This week we have finally had the cooler weather suitable for sowing grass seed, so we've worked on prepping half the mound left by the septic tank works. Half was enough work but that's mainly because that's all that a whole roll of chicken wire covers (and we are not coughing up for another roll as they are expensive). Some grass had already grown in this space so I went along chopping it back and removing weeds whilst my OH raked lightly and removed buckets worth of stones yet again. Then he sowed the seed, raked lightly again and we relaid the strips of chicken wire to keep the cats off (and hens!) and then I lightly trod it all down. And finally, watering with a light spray so as not to disturb the seed. Twice a day.
And then I let the chickens out because I knew it was safe from their scratching. However I had forgotten about the seed on the surface until I saw them pecking at it! I'll have to keep them in their run until the grass germinates now but hopefully that won't be long, and once we have a swathe of green we can move the chicken wire and work on the other half.
Oh, and the Law of Sod dictates that, even though we have not seen a mole or vole in this main area of lawn for many a year, of course one has discovered the mound....... just as we've sown seed! Aaaaarggggh!!!
|Marleen looking for yummy grass seed!|
And now I will catch up with everyone's blogs. I've been in reading mode on my Kindle recently and spent less time on my computer. It was nice for a change. :-)