whistlestop caboose

The view from the back.

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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Monday, June 19, 2006

Alpine medley

Ladybug, ladybug, don't go so fast!

I had no idea ladybugs were speedy little creatures until I tried to photograph one eating aphids. I tried and tried but the speed at which it was clambering around this fennel plant, devouring green aphids, was remarkable. I now believe firmly in the value of ladybugs, if I ever had doubts. I have learned that I should leave the yellow eggs they lay alone: they deposit them near good food sources - in other words, near aphids. I was very excited until I learned that ants like to eat ladybug larvae, and nearby, hiding under a rock, was an ant colony.
Other garden helpmates are Farmer Bernard's cows, 14 black Val d'Herens fighting cows. They fight when they are coming into heat at the start of Spring, to pick the strongest one, the cow that will lead them up the Alpine paths with a sure sense of the best route. Now that summer is here the cows peacefully munch down the meadow next to my potatoes and onions. In two days they will kick up their heels and run up the road to their higher summer pasture, where they stay until September.
If the cows keep their eyes down they will have help running up the mountain in a straight line.
And if Tara keeps running away with a giggle just as the photographer shoots, she will manage to stay out of photos! And poor Granny in England will have trouble seeing an entire face. This is Tara's new haircut, stage 1. Stages 2 and 3 are getting the front straight, then tidying the bottom. Stage 1 was chopping off a few inches, roughly. Patience then ran short.


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