Monday, August 19, 2013

Mundane Monday

 On Friday J. tilled up two strips in the lower garden. 
He would have liked to go over it for a finer tilth, but the ground is still a bit damp.

I took his camera outside to record the process, then wandered around the windblown row of sunflowers, billowing cosmos and tilting zinnias.

Butterflies aren't troubled by weeds in the flower garden.
The day was overcast and butterflies drifted through the quiet air, hovering in groups, flitting on.

Many of the butterflies had a faded tattered appearance--rather in keeping with the melancholy skies and the battered flowers on which they perched.

Jim found this swallowtail clinging to the side of a tractor he is in the process of refurbishing.  He thought it looked like a new sort of 'decal.'

Late on Sunday afternoon I was sewing in the basement room which I claim as mine--the space for my books, fabric, and such.
The door into the back hall was open, as was the outer door that leads up the basement stairs to the back yard.
Jim had earlier been sweeping up leaves and debris that had blown into the steps.
It was, of course, the cats who alerted me to an intruder in the hallway.
Turning from sewing machine to cutting table I noted Edward and Nellie hovering over a dark object.
My neighbor Gracie was here, and M. and G. had just come in, our house being the turn-around point in their evening walk.
We all converged on the strange beetle which was trundling along the floor.
In spite of its size, the creature was not aggressive. 

G. quickly fetched a standard spool of thread to use as a size comparison for the beetle.

I also brought in one of my quilt rulers and gently prodded the beetle in line.
That was when I noticed that cat hairs were caught in its front set of legs and clinging to its face!
I didn't want to risk pulling any bits of feet from the beetle, but tried to whisk off some of the hair.
When we had all admired the creature, I lifted it on a sheet of paper, transferred it to a plastic tray and carried it outside where I tipped it into the thick tangled growth that has come up in the area where 
daffodils are planted.
A Google search seems to confirm that this is an Eastern Hercules beetle.
My grand daughter K. who knows about such things, says this is the female.
Reading on through the article here : 
I wonder if the beetle in pupae stage overwintered in a chunk of firewood which I keep stacked in the back hallway.She may also have been turned up in J.'s recent ditching to lay the new electrical cable. The last few feet of that process disturbed some fine roots which stretch from the box elder tree.
Where ever she came from, Lady Hercules was quite a diversion!

Morning was quiet and overcast when I pulled back the curtains at 6:15 today.
I wasn't feeling quite ready to pitch into the day but the cats were clamoring for their breakfast.
I dished out dollops of canned food, measured coffee and water into the coffee maker and stood leaning against the sink, gazing out at the scattering of leaves which have begun to fall from the box elder tree.
Daybreak is no longer noisy with bird song. 
The dew-soaked grass is cold against my sandaled feet if I step off the porch or carport. 
The sun eventually climbed out of the mist and banks of cloud.
I laundered sheets and towels, pegged them on the clothesline.
J. suggested we drive to Wal Mart to pick up broccoli and cabbage plants.
G. needed to go along and our combined errands stretched over several hours.
In late afternoon  J. and I set the plants into the newly turned earth of the lower garden.
He went out to pick grapes, bringing in two baskets full of the sweet smelling fruit.
{What am I to do with all those grapes?]
I made supper.
I watered plants on the porch.
I cleaned the hummingbird feeder and filled it with fresh sugar syrup.
I replied to the comments on my last blog post!
The day has spun out in small tasks, none of them very important or noteworthy.
I think we sometimes need these quiet times when the hours settle around us and few demands are made.
By tomorrow the pace will pick up again--those grapes mustn't go to waste!


  1. Oh, please don't let the grapes go to waste. I was so thrilled to find some Concords at the farm market yesterday.

    1. Lillian; I've spent the day [Tuesday] stemming and stewing grapes. I think they will become canned juice. I'm hoping our daughter wants to use the ones remaining on the vines.

  2. That swallowtail is stunning. I don't think I have ever seen one in real life.
    I love that the idea that your family travels into town for the day to do all the errands, before making the journey back to the homestead, just like the Pioneer ladies who dressed up and made quite an occasion of their shopping and town business.

    1. Kath; I can't say that we dress up for the 10 minute journey to town! A lot of errands are running to the Wal Mart at the junction about 4 miles away. The center of town is only a few miles farther. We do try to consolidate trips--and offer G. a ride as she doesn't have access to the family vehicle until mid-afternoon.
      Swallowtail butterflies are very common in the US--fancy not having them in UK!

  3. Your butterflies look so exotic, and you still have plenty of them. After LAST "summer" I am surprised that any survived long enough to breed. We have had just whites all summer, but finally some tortoiseshells, peacocks, red admirals and commas to join them, and a couple of Dark Green Fritillaries (VERY local here) to join them. They deserve capitals!

    That beetle is amazing! I am sure it was happier when back out of doors again.

    If I had those grapes, I dare say I would make wine!!! I am sure you are enjoying eating them instead : )

    We are off on our travels in the morning, down to the West Country, returning Friday evening. BFN.

    1. A Dark green Fritillary sounds especially beautiful. We have the gold-spangled kind.
      The grapes have nearly gotten the better of me today--and there are more coming on! I believe the former owner of the farm used the grapes for home-brewing. I wish I knew the varieties--they are sweeter than Concords.
      I hope the trip to the West country is a pleasant one--would this be Thomas Hardy country?