Cat(erpillar) Dancing and other shapes

This post is about interesting shapes in my garden.  The first is a caterpillar that came down on a thread in front of me.  (For any strange people who don’t like insects, skip down three images)

Dancing Caterpillar
Dancing Caterpillar

Here’s the same caterpillar with different lighting.

Dancing Caterpillar - dark
Dancing Caterpillar – dark

Not quite in the shape theme, but the last “bug” picture – here are some ants, which “farm” aphids to get the sugary sap which they excrete, by “milking” them, stroking them with their antennae much as we milk cows.  For those of you who know that aphids are a huge pest, sucking the plant sap to the point they die, it’s even worse, they don’t even suck, they just stick in their beaks and the plant pumps the juice straight into them.

Dairy Farm

Dairy Farm

But back to shapes.  Here is a thistle I grow each year from seed, from some plants I got from Herb Craig.

Gray Thistle Silhouette
Gray Thistle Silhouette

I just love the shapes and that blue-gray giant looks spooky at dusk.  To give you an idea of scale, here’s me, standing beside one:

Gray Thistle and Eric
Gray Thistle and Eric

Finally for today, here is a shot of the forest canopy to the south of the house, followed by a verbascum:

Maple Canopy
Maple Canopy
Verbascum
Verbascum

For the technically minded, these were all shot on a Canon T3i and Canon lenses.  The “bugs” with a 100mm macro lens (1:2.8), the canopy and the thistle with a 50mm (1:1.8) and the rest with a 75-300mm zoom (1:4-5.6).

In Memory of Joan Lawton 1926-2012

My mother died two weeks ago.  I just got back home from the UK on the weekend and I thought I’d like to say a few things in her memory, based on the eulogy I gave at the funeral and post some pictures of her garden which is her real memorial.  Here is Joan, in her garden, with my father, Frank.

Joan, in her Garden
Joan, in her Garden

The doctors said my mother died of heart failure.  While literally true, she was a great-hearted woman.

For the poets, to have heart is to have courage.

Joan showed that courage when, at the age of 70, Joan and Frank moved to Canada, leaving behind the country they loved and had lived in all their lives.  Although they eventually moved back, they tried the experiment and not many would do that at that age.

To have heart is to have strength.

When I was young, I was in the hospital a lot.  In spite of also having to look after my sister as well, my mother and father came to visit me every day, without fail, in the days long before we had a car and that long trip and the visiting time to great strength to keep up, often for weeks at a time.

To have heart is to have dedication and determination

Those of us who knew her, knew that expression when she tightened her lips – it meant no force on earth would change her mind and she was determined to do what she felt was needed to be done.
Most of all, to have heart is to love.
Joan loved her children.  She encouraged us both to be our best.  We both got post-secondary education, though she did not, as she supported us through our schooling.  When we were babies, she refused to leave us with babysitters so she could go out; occasionally she would leave us with grandparents but otherwise not at all.
Joan loved Frank. They were together 69 years, 65 of them married. They are the closest couple I have known and were an example to Janet and me. My wife Laurie and I met Janet’s husband Gordon on our first trip to England together so we’ve both been together for 30-odd years which I’m sure we learned from Joan and Frank. Here is about as far apart as they ever got:

Joan and Frank on a Tandem
Joan and Frank on a Tandem

Finally, Joan loved her garden

They started with tiny ones in the terraced houses they lived in when first married through my early years.  I remember building one in the back of in Bristol avenue.  They had an enormous one in Canada at Ballyduff and now they have a classic English small garden.  Janet and I both got love of gardening from her.  This is why she has no grave stone as that garden is her memorial. Here are a few pictures of it from last week:

Mum, I will miss you but you live on in your garden and in our hearts forever.