The lovely sunny September days have not just been enjoyed by the beneficiaries and visitors who come to the farm each day, but also by the abundant flying creatures that call Caring For Life home. When we stroll around the the gardens with the beneficiaries on the Conservation project, the air is humming with the sound of buzzing insects such as honey bees, butterflies and hoverflies taking every opportunity to feed on the long flowering, nectar-rich planting.
Plants such as persicaria, monardas, echinacea and sedums were specifically chosen to provide more forage and larval foodplants for our beleaguered native pollinators and they have been successful in attracting many species. The large flat umbels of a single sedum specimen seems to pulsate with life as dozens of insects systematically move from tiny flower to tiny flower collecting nectar.
It is wonderful to be able to bring people who may be hurting, lonely or isolated within their home to such a beautiful and bountiful environment. For some it is their only experience of being close to nature.
Dragonflies are also enjoying these warm days and the beautiful bright orange-red form of the Common Darter can be seen acrobatically flying around the pond. If you are patient and hold out your hand they may even come and rest on your palm. You can take a closer look at this majestic insect whilst it uses your hand heat to warm up!
Beneficiaries on the conservation project are also really enjoying being involved in our expanded species monitoring work. In particular they love seeing what different species of butterfly or bumblebee they can spot and then checking they have identified it correctly in our new set of field guides.
Another exciting development on the project has been the use of a new moth trap. This has enabled us to start learning which of the 2,500 British moth species can be found on the farm. Attracted to light during the night, they are contained in the trap, examined and recorded the following morning before being released unharmed. Whilst we have only found common species so far we have been amazed at the beauty and intricacy of patterns of these otherwise unseen creatures.
We are very thankful to be surrounded by evidence of God’s amazing creation here at Crag House Farm and are privileged to be able to share it with many precious individuals who may never otherwise get to enjoy it.