“IS it a slug?” “Is it a toy?” “Is it a hand puppet?” or “Is it Superworm?”, a favourite story of four-year-old granddaughter Sophie.

No the picture that my friend Shirley was showing us on her phone was of a caterpillar. An elephant hawk moth she had been told. And in the next picture the caterpillar was rearing its head and extending it by several centimetres to make it appear even more unreal.

In fact if its image had not been juxtaposed next to a set of keys, it would have looked just like one of the fantasy creatures that used to appear in the old Hannah Barbara films featuring Jason and the Argonauts battling mythical creatures to reach the Golden Fleece.

Enough rambling. The caterpillar had been munching away on a fuchsia on my friend’s patio. But in the next few days it had transformed into a chrysalis and buried itself into a pile of dead leaves. Now it is being left undisturbed with a metaphorical “Do not disturb until Spring” sign over its winter bed.

Just one more sign that Summer is on its way out and the time for seasonal changes in behaviour and the cycle of life. Tupping time for the sheep may still be a month or two off, but the need to ensure that the right breeding stock is available for the ewes means planning ahead so that any new tups are settled in and ready to go when the time is right.

Looking for a new tup saw John and his friend Dave with his two sons, setting off for a dedicated Texel sale. They set off in the early hours of the morning to beat the traffic and get a good place in the sales ring. They needed to. John said the mart was packed. Tiers of seats around the ring all full. Selling starting in the morning and continuing all day.

Over 400 Texel tup lambs for sale. And all at record prices. The tups they planned to pay hundreds for, were selling for thousands. Top prices reaching 130 guineas. You have to hope that those tups do not possess the same desire to expire that most sheep have.

At home John has been busy making pheasant pens for the next seasonal landmark. The start of the shooting season. It is a little late to bring birds onto the shoot, but as the plans are not to start guest days until later on the year, the birds should be well established by then.

He has repaired and renewed a large release pen in some woodland and the pheasants will be arriving next week. The ducks we bought last week are very settled on their pond. No escapees. No absconders. All might change though once the steel shot starts whistling round their heads. I should be thinking about Plan B if I were a duck and find a nice safe nature reserve sharpish.