Monday, 24 June 2013

Things I saw in the woods today, part 31

Here is a horse fly biting me. The fly sends out a needle-like mandible that pierces the skin and hurts like hell. The fly can remain attached to one's person for quite a while as it sucks one's blood. The female does all the biting as the male can't and she also needs a blood meal in order to reproduce.  I took the photo despite the pain so you could see - for those of you in cities who are removed from the natural world. The woods are buzzing with these horrid creatures at the moment but I am told they are good pollinators so necessary.

Horse fly chomping on one's leg

This ear of grass seeds is quite beautiful in its symmetry.  Hay fever sufferers have really had a terrible time this year- the number of seeds must be in the billions in a single meadow. Wild grasses resemble wheat, rye and barley in the way their seeds are stored in ears that are all similar in shape and size. We do have a wild rye here in the UK from which cultivated rye is descended.

Ear of grass

Wild strawberries grow very low to the ground in the woods and are easily trampled upon. They are ripening slowly in our cold weather but nonetheless have a good flavour. I ate a few- sweet and very strong strawberry taste unlike the shop-bought variety. Wild strawberries make a lovely syllabub or ice cream. This is the first wild fruit to ripen and is usually a sign that summer has begun. Wimbledon starts at the same time where strawberries and cream are a traditional treat washed down with champagne (which doesn't grow in the woods).

Wild strawberry

And finally, on the way home from the woods I saw Bambi in someone's driveway. Lucky for me, the hound is very peace-and-love and doesn't attack wild animals. (Our hounds do not need to be on leads which I believe is not the case in the US. Hence the reason mine roams around unfettered.) Bambi sat perfectly still as the hound and I watched and didn't even flinch when I took the photo.


Photos copyright SvD.

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