Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How I Spent An Hour

Last week I noticed some eggs under the hose hanger in the backyard and thought I should take some pictures of them before they hatched, because I could tell they were ladybug eggs. Usually I am joined at the hip with my camera, but for some reason I kept forgetting it (I got sidetracked by some new artichoke plants and having to dig a bigger bed for them, then I had to go find some hay to mulch them, and so on). Then yesterday, while starting to unwind the hose, I noticed that the little yellow egg cluster had turned white - clear even. They'd hatched!

I felt mildly irritated that I'd missed a perfect David Attenborough-style moment. There is something so irresistible about acting like a total idiot while pretending to be David Attenborough - he always speaks sotto voce and always acts as though he is conducting a serious biology lecture whilst en plein air, so to speak. I have one very funny video I made ages ago, pretending to be David Attenborough and creeping up on Dominic, who was standing by himself in a meadow when he was three. He'd retreated there in a terrible sulk for some reason, and to give myself some amusement about what a sulky creature I'd given birth to I was pretending I was stalking a rare creature known as The Elusive Momo, a grouchy animal who only came out in the late afternoon and had a keen sense of smell, all sorts of rubbishy nonsense, but the funniest thing of all was that somehow Dominic knew I was doing this, even though I was clear across the field at the time - even though he had his hands over his eyes the whole time. I zig zagged around the trees, pretending I was getting extremely rare and valuable footage, whispering into the camera and trying to stay behind him so he wouldn't see me. He remained still as a statue the entire time, and right when I came up behind him he moved his hands, opened his eyes, and laughed into the camera as if we'd rehearsed it. No one who's seen it believes me when I say that I didn't coach him first.

Hmm. Lost my train of thought. Oh yes, David Attenborough and ladybug eggs. A natural combination.

So they'd hatched. I'd missed my moment. I stared at the eggs, then peered at the hose hanger, wondering where they'd gone, when suddenly some teeny tiny little black specks crawled past my eyes. Lots of teeny tiny little black specks. And they were all crawling all over the hose I was about to unwind. I froze, horrified in case I'd inadvertently squished any, then did the only sensible thing I could think to do: I carefully took each one and transferred it to the adjacent lilac bush, all the while wishing I had my David Attenborough camera. Alas, all I was able to get was a hastily snapped shot of them scrambling around on the leaves, no doubt wondering why that winding green carpet had suddenly stopped smelling of plastic.

3 comments:

Vivian said...

My kids would want to start a ladybug farm. They love bugs. Once the kids found a huge praying mantis in our neighbor's yard--we have some great pictures of it. But I've never seen baby ladybugs. Sigh.

Casey said...

That's such a sweet ladybug-rescue tale. And they'll repay you by eating your garden pests, yay!

The Dominic story is hilarious. In my experience kids love it when their parents do goofy stuff like that.

sheila said...

We once had a house that overwintered ladybugs. On warm winter days they would come out of the wood and fly around the windows. The first time I saw them I, really and truly, thought it was some kind of miracle. I'd never seen anything like it. Now I feel like we're of the Tribe of Ladybug.

And you know, the ladybug larvae are just as personable as the ladybugs. They are twitchy and lively and just as interesting (probably because they look so weird).