Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home!

By: Anne Corke

Jan 06 2015

Tags: , ,

Category: Gardening, Life stories, Photography, Rural Nature


Focal Length:60mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

Winter weather brings the outdoors in when you live in the country. My little trap line continues to catch mice (fourteen at last count) who have squeezed inside to escape from the cold. I don’t dislike mice, but I object to them getting into the pantry and chewing into my food stocks. And Jeremy strongly objects to them roaming about the model railroad layout. Good grief! They’ve even been pooping in the roundhouse! Is nothing sacred? But while I wage war on the mice, I am much more accepting of a more benign invasion of ladybugs, or ladybirds as they are known in England. I’m not sure whether they’re coming in from outside or hatching somewhere inside but in any case I don’t mind them keeping me company.

Ladybirds remind me of lazy summer afternoons in the garden. As a very young child, living on a farm, I often found swarms of ladybirds on old stumps. Even then, I was intrigued by these tiny spotted insects. My favourite book of children’s poetry includes this lovely poem about ladybirds which I’m sure I have read hundreds of times:

Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
the field mouse is gone to her nest
the daisies have shut up their sleepy red eyes
and the birds and the bees are at rest

Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
the glow worm is lighting her lamp
the dew’s falling fast, and your fine speckled wings
will flag with the close clinging damp

Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
the fairy bells tinkle afar
make haste or they’ll catch you and harness you fast
with a cobweb to Oberon’s star

Rather charming images, don’t you think? My ladybirds have taken up residence in the kitchen. Every day I find them here and there, strolling along the counter, crossing the floor, climbing up the window, perching atop the dish detergent. For some unknown reason, they like to hang out on the used teabags that I’m saving for my next cup. Unfortunately this morning’s brew spelled the end of one ladybird’s life. I didn’t notice her clinging to the teabag ’til I had poured the boiling water. I fished her out from the scalding vortex as quickly as I could but too late, she was gone, poor wee thing. I must be more careful in future for while it’s considered good luck to find a ladybird, it’s bad luck to kill one. I wonder how they are surviving here in the house. While I’m pretty certain they’re drinking tea, I have no idea what they’re eating. I don’t think there are any aphids about. Perhaps such tiny creatures can subsist on crumbs they find on the counter. I find the idea of two ladybirds sharing a cookie crumb and a few drops of cold tea quite fetching, don’t you? I just hope they’ll be comfortable ’til spring comes. They’re such pleasant companions.

Copyright 2015 Anne Corke

2 comments on “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home!”

  1. I have this sudden great urge to put on a pretty floral dress and twirl under the canopy of a huge maple tree! What a gift this was to read Anne, thank you!♡

  2. Mice? Not nice. I’m sure they serve a purpose, but not in my house. and I hope the good Lord forgives me for saying this about one of nature’s creatures.
    Great post. Thank you.

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