Fairy Lace

Fairy lace abounds on this damp, misty, really sort of dreary morning.  Grandma Lena always told us that these were little fairy tables left behind from the wee folks party during the night.  From this morning’s evidence we can only guess that last night’s party was indeed wild and wonderful (because… after all… this is West Virginia and even fairy parties here are wild and wonderful).  The spiders also seemed to be in on the fun as this beautiful spider web was left hanging from the bumper of the truck.
Here’s hoping that the fairies will visit your neck of the woods… have a lovely weekend.

Flutter By

Heading to the barn this morning to vaccinate the lambs and do FAMACHA testing on all the lambs and their mamas.  It is stormy, windy and raining cats and dogs.  We could use a little sunshine and color inspiration to get us moving this morning so we thought we would share these pictures from earlier this week just in case you, also, can use a little pick-me-up.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Vas Solum vs. Popillia Japonica

The Weapon – Vas Solum
The Enemy – Popillia Japonica

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  The battle is on with our old garden enemy, the Japanese beetle.  One of my early memories of working on the farm, is helping our Grandmother pick Japanese beetles off of the grapevines.  We would carefully pick them off the leaves, then put them in the old can that she carried.  The can was about half full of kerosene.  My weapon of choice is the common glass bottle, which may or may not contain a little soapy water depending upon how much of a rush I am in.   It is best to attack early in the morning when the beetles seem to be groggy.  If you wait until the temperatures warm up this can become quite the challenge as they are more likely to quickly fly away.
As with most things on the farm, and in life in general, it is not a matter of having time but is really a matter of making time.  It is a time to slow down, observe, connect and reminisce – about Grandmother Lena, childhood, farm and family.  A quick word of warning… don’t daydream too much, as it becomes quite easy to mistake a bee for a beetle… a painful lesson learned. 

Monarchs and Milkweed

We always let a few milkweed plants continue to grow around the house so that we get the chance to watch these caterpillars. We find it fascinating to see how much they eat and how fast they grow. It won’t be long until this one finds a sturdy twig, begins pupation and forms its chrysalis.

After about two weeks, a Monarch butterfly will emerge, and we will enjoy two to eight weeks of its delicate beauty.

Among the websites containing information about Monarch butterflies, there is a great one here for kids that contains coloring pages, puzzles, etc.

Family – Mantidae

The past couple weeks we have been entertained by praying mantis in our dyer’s garden. Pictured above on one of the cosmos plants is the smaller of the two.

They are truly fascinating to watch and have proven to be very distracting.

According to the Insecta Inspecta they are the “only insect that turn from side to side in a full 180-degree angle”. They are very aware of everything around them and turn their head to follow your movement.

This mornng the smaller one is seeking shelter from the rain under one of large sunflower leaves, a very creative umbrella.

Now we better get ‘un-distracted’ and get to work. Joe is coming to shear the lambs today!