Today, I saw two Praying Mantids in the garden.

One on the Tithonia....

... and one on the Strawberries.
These look like two different species to me, or maybe a male and a female of the same species. I did some research and there are many different kinds, most of them non-native. But I couldn't determine which these were. I learned that they eat the bad bugs, yes, but they also eat the good bugs, like my honeybees! and butterflies. They do not discriminate, making them not-so-great for targeted biological pest control. However I still like to have them in the garden and since I have between 20-40 thousand honeybees, I suppose they can take one or two. Autumn is mating time for the mantids, so that must be why I'm seeing them now.

I also picked our first two figs, yum.

'Panache' fig
And I picked a bunch of Delicata squash. I guess they'll join the potatoes in our bedroom, the coolest room of the house. I can't do much about providing high humidity, though.

It won't be long before Butternut squash and sweet potatoes join the stash.

I forgot to show you a gift I was given last week at our Ceilidh. My friend Leslie ("Stitches," as she is known at camp) made my hen-pecked chicken an apron. Isn't it cute?

You snap it under the wings and it lays snug on the back, to prevent the other chickens from pecking the bird. Unfortunately, I've had no luck getting it on Tonks, despite several tries. The chickens (all except Molly) really don't like being handled and think I'm pretty scary. This bothers me a little because soon we are planning to make a sort of chicken tractor to place in the garden in different spots so the hens can have field trips and eat bugs etc. But how are we going to get them into the tractor? Hm. Thinking we'll have to build some sort of carrier, too, and bribe them with greens to get them inside. Oy. Oh well, that's a project for another weekend. Thank you Leslie! I'll keep trying to get the apron on.

Speaking of the Ceilidh, I keep forgetting to remark how fun it was. We had homemade pizza on the grill with a sauce from the garden and Tom's homemade cheese; our guests brought a lot of yummy side dishes, and Mom and Dad brought the crank ice-cream maker and everyone took a turn making our dessert. It was fun to be with neighbors and friends on a hot summer night.

And hot it will continue this week, with temperatures well over a hundred predicted for the next four days, sigh. It's hard to remember that 'winter is coming!' (Thanks, G.O.T.)