You Never Know Who You’ll Meet around Here

I ran into some residents of the ranch I don’t normally see today, all of whom I thought were darned cute. It made for a great lunch break!

First, I headed over to feed the chickens this morning. When I opened the supposedly tightly locked storage container, I heard a rustling. I looked into the scratch, and four little black eyes calmly looked up at me.

This is primo chicken food! (note second nose at far right)

There were two tiny deermice enjoying the seeds. They are just about the cutest little vermin imaginable. I told them hello, then took them over to where I knew there were other mice and let them go. One trotted out and disappeared into the grass, but the other one took a little encouragement. It was a nice visit, but I need to make sure to shut the chicken food container completely from now on!

But, we just met! We don’t want to leave yet!

As I was waiting with Lee for the vet to come and give us our heartworm medicine and trim the dogs’ nails (no, that did NOT happen, and there will be sedation in the future), I wandered around looking for interesting plants and insects. More and more Indian paintbrush plants are blooming, and I just can’t get enough of how pretty they are.

Such an interesting plant.

But, mostly I chased this one butterfly. It was all white, at least from a distance. I’m sure I looked ridiculous trying to befriend it, but eventually I got it close enough to get a reasonable photo.

I’m quite fond of the sorrel blossoms

So, it was not all white. At first all I saw was the spot, but when I looked up the white family of butterflies, I saw that there was a border of black and white along the edges of the wings. Aha, it wasn’t a regular white butterfly, but was Anthocharis midea, the Falcate Orangetip, which apparently doesn’t always have an orange tip. No wonder I was confused. I now know they were discovered in 1809 and are mostly found in Texas and Oklahoma. What a cool visitor to meet!

Action shot.

The next encounter I had was with a whole family, or more accurately, 3 of the four lifecycle stages of one insect. First I found this cool looking fellow, scrounging around with a few of its buddies.

This grass is delicious, and so is the chicory.

I was pretty excited when it came up as a seven-spotted lady beetle (ladybug). Sure enough, that’s what the larval stage looks like. Pretty soon I found this happy specimen who’s an adult.

Slightly blurry lady beetle.

Then, a few feet away, I noticed this guy, who I’d never seen before. The bug was very easy to photograph.

Just resting. Nothing to see here.

When I looked that one up on iNaturalist, I got all kinds of beetles, but none of them looked right. Then I got to thinking that it sort of looked like that adult and larva ladybug. I googled the life stages of a ladybug, and there was my finding, a ladybug in its larval stage! That means that in 15 minutes I found every part of the lifecycle except eggs!

I also spotted the first pink evening primrose on our property this year. That’s good news!

I’m going to declare this lunch hour a successful social event, where I met some fascinating neighbors!