Saturday, September 24, 2016

Little Green Guys

I had a volunteer parsley plant appear in one of my pots this spring.  I kept forgetting to harvest to add to my meals and then I went out last week and saw this.

I counted twenty little green black zebra swallowtail caterpillars.  They were hugely busy.  

Then as the plant became more decimated some of the little green guys moved on elsewhere to find shelter for their cocoons, I guess, unless a bird or two picked them off.

They left behind lots of little green peas of poop, which probably are pretty good for that potting soil!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Needs a shave?

Under my husbands 4 foot baby chestnut tree that is a variety (hybrid) of the one America has lost due to disease there were two of these fellows enjoying lunch.  Because the tree is so small we did have to move them somewhere else into the woods.  Perhaps they wandered back as we did not check. 

There were two and they were each about 3 inches long.  I think it is the caterpillar of one of the moths.  

"Polyphemus Moth Larva Larvae reach nearly four inches in length and appear "pushed together" from the ends, making it accordion-shaped. Larvae are fat, pale green, and sparsely covered with hair which are not harmful if touched. They feed on many trees and shrubs including oak, hickory, elm, maple, birch, apple, boxelder, cherry, chestnut, willow, ash, grape, pine, and members of the rose family. The larval period is 48 to 50 days long. In late summer or early fall, the larva spins a rounded, tough, parchment-like cocoon in the tree or shrub in which it has been feeding. It overwinters in this cocoon, and emerges the following spring or summer as a very beautiful adult moth.

A common giant silk moth, the male has a wingspan of nearly five inches and the antennae are large and feathery. The wing color is light brown with gray dusting on the forewing edges and vertical pink lines near the body. Each hindwing has a larger yellow eyespot in a field of dark blue to black. Small yellow eyespots occur in the center of the forewing."

This is a photo I got from an Ohio website..

Wish I would see this some evening.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Price We Pay

While the hot days of summer seem to be making an exit and we can now look forward to some rain in the coming days, it does not arrive without a price.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

No Talking

I think this September sunset speaks for itself.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Morning Surprise

In the early spring when I was busy with other things than my garden I missed the invaders.  I noticed weeks later that my hardy hibiscus, or rose mallow as it is sometimes called, was missing almost all of its leaves.  Just tall stems remained peering above the peonies.  I realized that there would be no dinner-dish-plate blossoms ahead but I also did not want to lose the plant, and so I sprayed with an organic soap and that seemed to deter whatever very small bug was eating away at the juicy green leaves.  This morning I see I have been rewarded with blooms months later!

We have native rose mallow that grows along my shore with white blossoms and red centers and while I enjoy it just as much, it is nice to see such a bold and garish tropical smile at the beginning of fall in my garden.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Play Before Work

Saturday mornings before the day's heat has time to threaten my schedule, I hurry to the children's garden to harvest vegetables for the food pantry.  We are at the end of harvest with less and less to capture and I have a sweet 90-year-old woman who volunteers to harvest and water and weed with me these early mornings.  I rush to get there for a second reason, the heavy metal gate is too hard for her to push open and then she has to park her car on the road and walk around if I am late.  I get there just as the sun is up and the only sound is a solitary woodpecker up in the pine tree at the edge of the road and there is still dew on the grass.  The Canada geese are gleaning the last of the grass seeds or perhaps the cut grass from the previous day's mowing in the field that is at the side of the garden.  I always have my camera handy and spend time stalking them, before I start my garden work.

They are wary creatures and before I even have the garden gate open and the hose connected they are moving on and I must concentrate on chores.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Missing in Action

My flowers have been covered in both yellow swallowtail and black swallowtail butterflies this late summer.  They sometimes land on the same flower struggling for the upper wing.  I have seen one or two Zebra butterflies and one or two Sulphur butterflies as well...but not a single Monarch.  I planted butterfly weed just for them, but they are in very small numbers everywhere this year!