Friday, August 31, 2012

Question Marks and Commas ~ Pausing to Ponder

A Question Mark butterfly, Polygonia interrogations takes a brief break from fluttering
 on suspended leafy greens giving this Lepidoptera devotee pause to ponder
 . . . is it indeed a Question Mark or an Eastern Comma? 
Being a writer who has a difficult time with commas
 . . . and after studying images over at the Massachusetts Butterfly Club's fabulous website
 . . . I have decided to go with the Question Mark butterfly. 

There may be questions floating about as to why this author has not been posting regularly of late.
I am pausing more between publishing but hope to be back on a routine schedule soon.
A life cycle takes time . . . and I am still busy working on the Monarch Metamorphosis to share. 
Coming soon. 
Flower Hill Farm gardens and fields are aflutter with painted wings
 . . . Brushfoots, Fritillaries, Wood Nymphs, Milkweed butterflies and more. 
Migration is in the air along with the full blue moon. 

 Special best wishes to our hard working teachers heading back to school
 . . . with much gratitude for your service in helping to educate our youth
 . . . the future leaders of our world. 
May they show more promise than what we sadly see in most of our leaders today. 

While we are on the subject of questions 
. . . let's all remember to question authority and actively engage in the process of government
 . . . and I am not writing about just voting.
We are teetering on a precipice.  
Happy September All. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Bestiary ~ North American Porcupine

An insert between the butterflies. 
A prickly tale about a porcupine who liked to dine on my apple trees. 

To see more photos and read the tale . . .  please click on the red link below.
There is a new installment to my 'Bestiary' over at  Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Black Swallowtail Metamorphosis Misty August Garden

Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes 

I will be sharing more of the magical Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis . . .
 but first I want to go back to earlier this spring and share the striking 
Black Swallowtail Butterfly and its metamorphosis with you. 

 A male Black Swallowtail from last year . . . the first one I had the joy to raise.

I was delighted to eyed this female ovipositing this May. 
She may have overwinter here in her pupa. 

Once she flies away,
 I discover an egg attached to Bishop's weed growing along the path. 
Aegopodium podagraria is of the Apiaceae or carrot family. 
I wish for millions of Black Swallowtail butterflies, for perhaps they can help me 
manage the pernicious Bishop's weed.  

The dark head of the tiny caterpillar can be seen in this photograph. 
A new beginning about to emerge . . . 

Having its first meal. 

Second or third instar. 

The Black Swallowtail caterpillar chooses the underside of an orchid leaf to unveil her chrysalis.

A perfect female Black Swallowtail

Releasing a healthy female into the late May gardens . . . perhaps she will become acquainted 
with the lively male (below) already enjoying the garden milkweed. 

Male Black Swallowtail

There are many more Black Swallowtails flying about the gardens 
but I have not eyed another egg to bring inside. 
This was the first 'inside' complete metamorphosis for the 2012 season . . . 
a couple of months before I found my first Monarch egg in the garden path. 

I have shared more information on the Black Swallowtail Butterfly's life cycle
 in another post over at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. 

Now nearly half way into August . . . 
days go by bringing many scattered thunderstorms 
sometimes dropping heavy downpours . . . 
the gardens and trees so appreciate the rain.
Mornings are often misty, cool and soft.
Butterflies enjoy the sunny afternoons. 
I continue to see many Monarchs, Black Swallowtails 
and several other varieties of butterflies flitting about the native plants.
There is a small Monarch caterpillar community in my barn studio.
This morning I was working hard trying to capture a teeny caterpillar 
emerging from its egg, while a female Monarch was flying about just
outside the window laying eggs on milkweed plants. Other caterpillars were
molting, while one was about to spin its mat and node so that it can hang
and unveil its chrysalis. 
All this and more goes on within the small view of the garden above too . . . 
truly miraculous to observe natures never ending small wonders.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July's Ending Rainbow Rosy Light Magical Monarch Metamorphosis

So Long July. 
Thanks for the rain and rainbows at sunset . . . many hours of luminous light . . . Hemeracallis, hydrangea and hummingbirds aplenty . . . copious caterpillars becoming complete within their magical Monarch chrysalises . . . joyful viewings shared of their virgin flights into butterflies . . . first ever sighting of a Giant in the garden . . .  exceptional dusk encountering . . .  a family of flying squirrels soaring from house to Rock Maple trees . . . eighteen furry elusive mammals exiting the eaves one-by-one and two-by-two . . . using the furnace chimney as their runway . . . scurrying up then fast as a flash gliding over to the large tree . . . disappearing up into its full canopy . . . for our garden bats . . . fabulous human family news . . . high art experienced with a dear generous soul and heaps more.

Millions of dripping prisms painting spectrums arching across the sky . . . somewhere perhaps a pilot  flies through a complete circular rainbow.

July ends with Lilium 'Journey's End'

Daylight softly fading away makes for soft focus images.

Miraculous Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis . . . a sneak peek. More to emerge . . . 

Flower Hill Farm raised and released . . . 

I am certain to have raised over a thousand Monarch Butterflies during the last twenty five or more years but each time the metamorphosis astounds and amazes me. I especially feel joy at seeing them lifting off and taking their first flight. 
It is an honor and privilege to witness the miracle of this courageous creatures fleeting life.
It is also an honor to share it with you. 
Thank you.
Hello August.

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