Washing-up entertainment was more washing-up interruptions this morning.
Breakfast dishes are not necessarily my “job” but Grant normally goes off to do his rounds, taking the walkers out for their constitutional.
Today the girls were in “chase mode”.
Lily suddenly shot round the corner, targeting a chipmunk and setting a squirrel to flight.
“Help! Help! Help!” it cried
It gives new meaning to the expression “Up the pole”.
“Save me, missus!”
Usually, the big squirrels aren’t able to climb the porch posts, which Little Red does with ease.
But with a little added incentive…!
(I didn’t see the dismount)
Tapping on the window, I called out “No Lily!”
“Wasn’t doing anything!”
Somehow I didn’t quite believe her…
So I watched and had to go and extricate her from under the lilac. She didn’t resist but went limp under my arm:
“We don’t chase our friends, Lily!”
No sooner did I resume washing up than Toby arrived…but he just wanted to be let in.
With the dishes put away, I went out to check the milkweed. Not a solitary caterpillar to be found.
Perhaps Friday is their day off.
Usually you can locate them by checking for poo:
Not today. Instead I discovered something else…
We had had been noticing a number of dead bees lately, never a good thing 🙁
And today I took a photograph thinking, until looked at the image, that it was pollen on their tiny feet.
But when I magnified it, a bit later, I pondered: “That’s weird. Didn’t know bees had paddles!”
So I typed in “bee feet” on Google: , half expecting:
Instead, I actually got an immediate answer…
“It’s long been known that when honey bees—as well as other insects—get trapped in the milkweed’s pollinia, or sticky mass of pollen, many perish when they are unable to free themselves.”
That’s a bummer:( Here we were thinking how great it was to have a plant that fed bees and it turns out milkweed is a way to get rid of them:(
So now, as well as checking for caterpillars and cocoons, I have to ensure that there are no bees stuck.
Not that I shall know how to release one.
This afternoon, I did find a bee struggling, so rushed indoors to find a q-tip, thinking I might pry the feet loose with the wet cotton pad.
Mercifully, when I returned, the bee had freed itself.
The missing caterpillars may well have gone off to make cocoons as the process only takes two weeks and we did not see them till they were already quite large.
Last year there was a cocoon in the Siberian tea, but I didn’t rummage around for fear of dislodging one.
What if I find a fly stuck on the milkweed?
(This is not a fly, by the way)
Methinks I would try to release any stuck creature.
“Well, that’s good to know!”