Tag Archives: butterflies

Dragonflies, butterflies and bees, Oh my!~

 

Last night I took Uriah for his walk a little later than usual. I was trying to avoid the mosquitoes by heading outside when it was nearly dark. That didn’t work. They were busy buzzing, and bugging me just as they did and hour earlier. 

Wednesday is garbage day. I have notes posted to remind me of the fact. I only had a couple of bags I debated dragging them down the driveway, but last week when I attempted that, Uriah though we were playing and grabbed one of the bags, breaking it, and spreading the trash all over the driveway…

This week, I tossed the two bags on the hood of the car and slowly pulled out of the garage.

 I rolled down the car widow as slowly passed that large Blue Spruce when I felt a pinch on the side of my face. My immediate thought was, “Mosquitoes!” I tried to brush it off out the window, except it wouldn’t move. The small inset struck itself to my skin. Without even thinking, I peeled it off with my nails. I was still slowly moving towards the road. (I have a four hundred foot driveway.)

I glanced at what I pulled off the side of my face and stared at it. It was upside down and wiggling its little legs furiously. It was cute in a way. Sort of! The shiny back body sparkled in the sunlight. I was not amused, when my eyes adjusted and I recognized it as a tick. Still irritated when I pulled back into the garage, I told my husband all about being ticked when I rolled down the car window. He couldn’t stop laughing,..at me!  He said, between laughter, that he never met anyone who attracted so many ticks the way I do. 

He called me a tick magnet! 

I would rather be a money magnet!  

*I have been out of it for the past couple of weeks. I realized I had written the above post on Thursday, July 1st and never posted it to my Blog.  Way too many things have been creeping up around here and I’m not including the mosquitoes, or the odd looking flying bugs. I even made a video that I never posted…  Ooops! Had to find it! Here it is! It is a little long- four minutes.  You are walking with me among the milkweeds near the front pond, and you won’t be bothered by the bugs.

The weather has been interesting. High heat and humidity and storms that attempt to blow the house down.

Today, July 10 is our eighth wedding anniversary.  I know I’m on the internet updating. Michael is still sleeping so it’s okay:-)

My husband’s health took a turn for the worse. I dragged him kicking and screaming to a new neurologist. He now has tests all this month. He can’t drive until we know what’s up. He is not happy about that..

I have had thyroid problems my entire life, I no longer have a thyroid and it still causes issues. Heavy Sigh! 

Just before my husband’s doctor’s appointment, I decided to try for examiner.com and they accepted me.  I will write articles on, Hampshire’s plant life.  If you stop over there I would appreciate any comments.  Or, just send me an email and tell me what I am missing.  Or, just read.  I need to work on the set up of the articles.

If anyone wants to try to write for the examiner and needs some advice on how to get noticed- ask me. I will be very happy to help.  

 If you give them my examiner ID number  56021  I get a referral fee.

I will keep posting here, this Blog is for me and all of you who like to take a walk without the bug bites:-)

I hope everyone is doing well.   Be happy and safe!

Peace with nature

Its mid-morning, pale baby blue sky, painted with wisps of white clouds, the air is no longer cold, just cool. On the path the grass is about three inches tall and it shimmered in the morning light. Drew drops were everywhere, glinting along the gnarled fence post, to slipping slowly off bare branches.

If I had to describe this morning with one word, it would be ‘peaceful.’

I watched a family of Blue Jays glide noiselessly through the trees to the North. When I was spotted, a single long whistle announced me as trouble. Very similar to the whistle I use to call for Uriah. I whistled back at the bird, smiled and moved on.

I snapped my fingers at Uriah, and we headed for the path. Uriah ran in circles and headed into up the incline to the south, the scent he caught was over powering to him. He had to find it! He didn’t… I could smell a faint a faint musky order it lingered over the damp ground. I knew the animal was no longer here. Finally, Uriah figured that out and came back to me; immediately he pushed off in the opposite direction when a new smell caught his attention.

 A Red-tailed Hawk screeched in the trees to the north. His call reverberated in the morning air. Blue Jays answered with their danger whistle and the Hawk screeched back at them.

Both are extremely beautiful birds. The bright blue of the  Jays and the intense pride of the hawk, for me, their voices carried the soul of the land.

That may sound corny. Yes! But standing here listening, takes me back to my grandmother’s house, and brought me peaceful feel to the day, to this moment.

Peace is more than a word, a thought, or a phrase. It is a way of living. In nature, animals come together to drink from the same pond without killing each other. Just for the sake of replenishing their thirst…?  Or, is it more than that?

Nature is calling out today! With the same whistles, growls, screeches and yelps as yesterday. A peaceful coexistence, caught in a split second where I can connect with the land.

Tomorrow may rage a storm so severe the trees could be ripped up from their roots. This moment of peace, this moment is all I have right now. I am enjoying it immensely.

I have been playing with acrostic poetry.

 Peace

Place yourself within nature

Embrace your creative arc

Actualize your personal Mecca

Confidence regained in solitude

Enliven a past friendship

 

 

 

Picture from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-tailed_hawk

Where do the insects go in the winter?

800px-IC_Pyrrharctia_isabella_caterpillarSun is shining! I put on my bright orange, stylish coat and went out for a walk,… and to get the mail.

    I was surprised that there were still a few crickets, and frogs chirping away in the trees and dried grass. I nearly stepped on a few stray grasshoppers. With the weather in the upper twenties last night, they should all have hibernated for the winter, or laid their eggs, larvae, nymphs or pupae.

     The bees and wasps have died off. Well, at least the males and the workers. The females crawl into someplace safe, at least they hope so, until spring.

     All my beautiful Monarchs have flown off to far away places to return again in spring.

     I have been trying to vacuum up and squish all the Japanese beetles and box elders that have been invading my house for the past month. I know that no matter how vigilant I am at removing them, some will have crawled in-between the siding, or find places under the tiles. Others have gotten inside the house hoping to hold out for spring.

     In the middle of winter when the sun beats down on the roof, I will find a fly or a beetle that has a death wish by drowning my morning coffee.

    Some caterpillars hibernate, like the woolly bear caterpillar.  That little bugger is not fun to pick up; I try to avoid it altogether. But, every year I make a mistake and touch it, either with my toes, or while grabbing a hand full of weeds. The sharp, stinging sensation is not a pleasant experience, and they seem to be everywhere in the late summer, early fall.

     I try not to disturbed any insects as they settle in for the winter; except for the ones in my house. The others, the ones in rotting logs and in the wooded area hidden under leaves, I leave them be. In spring I want to see them flying and diving around flowers. I want the bees to pollinate my flowers. I want to hear the summer songs of the crickets and cicadas and katydids.

    For now, as I clean up around the outside of the house. Putting away my rakes, and watering hoses. I hope that all of nature can survive the snows and freezing temperatures.

    That reminds me I need a pair of winter gloves.

Milkweeds, Snowballs and Wishes

400px-Milkweed-in-seed2

I have been trying to grow milkweeds on my property for the past fourteen years. I have some milkweeds with whitish flowers, and some with pink flowers.

When I first moved here, the Milkweeds were small and very few, they were about ten inches high and scrawny. A neighbor, in Chicago, had credited me with the first monarch butterflies he had seen in years. So I pulled out my squirreled away milkweed seeds, saved from my Chicago plants. They were tall ones, three to maybe five feet tall.

I wanted to bring that out here. This is the country; it should have been easy to grow wildflowers, right?  Well, not really. When the farmers spray the fields in the spring I lost the majority of the milkweeds. A few survived growing next to some trees or protected by tall grass. Each year they made the attempt to grow taller and stronger. Until finally had a patch in the front, near the drainage pond. Last year, that area flooded and the milkweeds sat in deep water for over a month and everything turned black and molded.

This year I had a small patch closer to the driveway. I watched it all summer. The plants grew between three and five feet tall. Even when they started to die down, the stalks stood straight and held onto the seed pods.

I was expecting to grab a couple of seed pods, like I do every year, and save them in the garage until spring. Two days ago, the seeds burst out of their pods, in a puff of pure white, sparkly, silky blur. The small flat brown seeds were connected like tiny parachutes waiting for the winds to catch them. For a moment, serenely, they held on to their pods, narcissistically I assumed they were waiting for me to notice them.

I did a double take when I walked out to get the mail.  Surrounded by a variety of browns and dried dark greens, and sitting on those splotchy dried stalks the  pods had burst into view. At first glance, I thought I was looking at snow perched on the end of a branch.   

I have to admit, second and third glances they still looked like snowballs.

 I waded through the dried grass to get a closer look. At that moment, a slight breeze made a wish and the seeds drifted around and above me, the seeds littered the grass, and wafting along on each breeze.

My first thought, “The Monarchs will love this.” Then I remembered that sometimes the farmers use Bt insecticides their crops, not very beneficial to Monarchs. 

We live in a world of chemicals, electromagnetic radiation; poison rain,… the list can be endless. All this makes me wonder how one person, not pouring chemicals into the land can help?  Help will come when we start to love the so called, weeds again and stop being afraid. Fear is a reaction to things we don’t understand.

I wonder if I make a wish with one of these seed pods, like a child when holding up dandelion that has gone to seed and wish for ,…What would you wish for?

 

 

This site has a description of what, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn pollen is;

“Colorado State University”

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/crops/00707.html

Here is some information from the, University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Pesticide Review;

http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/ipr/i4188_829.html

“Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a bacteria that occurs naturally in the soil. It produces an endotoxin crystal that attacks the gut membrane and creates pores, which cause leakage and swelling. The swelling continues until cells burst, which allows the gut contents to leak into the insect’s blood, disrupting the blood pH and resulting in paralysis and death within 24 to 72 hours. In Bt corn, the genes in the bacteria that code for the production of this endotoxin crystal are inserted through genetic engineering into the corn plant. The resulting corn plants produce the endotoxin crystal, causing the death of caterpillars that feed on them. This toxin is produced in many locations of the corn plant, including the pollen.”

Picture of Milkweed-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Milkweed-in-seed2.jpg