It's been such a fun couple of days outside. Look at what we've seen!
These sweet things are called Bird's Nest fungi. I've found them mostly growing in mulch. Besides just looking like a tiny fairy bird nest, it reproduces in the neatest way - when raindrops hit the "nests" the tiny "eggs" are launched into the air to germinate nearby. Isn't that great? In our area it comes in this color and also a beautiful bluish/grey.
The little guy and I found this tiny creature at the lake yesterday. I took a picture thinking it was just a type of beetle we weren't familiar with and we'd look it up when we got home. Turns out this little one is actually a baby ladybug that's not fully grown up yet. It's the pupa stage of the insect. Wow! Ironically, we own a book on this very subject but had forgotten all about it. Next time we'll talk about it for sure.
This wonder of nature is happening right on our front porch, in the planters. I noticed big black ants puttering around on the flowers stems and wondered what they were up to. If you look closely by the ant's feet you can see tiny green bugs - aphids! Each ant I saw was hovering around a small aphid cluster. When I was little my favorite book at one point was an antique guide to insect behavior and I still remember reading about the relationship between these two insects. The aphids actually produce a substance that the ants love to eat. The book had described the ants as tiny dairy farmers tending their herds - as does this article in Modern Farmer (the ants/aphids part is about halfway down the page). I was so excited to see this for the first time.
We've found some really tiny miracles of nature this week, and it's only Wednesday. It's been a lovely reminder to slow down and take a good look around at the world around us.