It has been a summer of challenges, well, mostly one challenge – getting my elbow to move. I had a second surgery two weeks ago and I’m making incremental progress. An interesting side effect is that I am living local. I am not commuting to work, unless you count walking down the hall to my office is a commute. I am fortunate that most of my needs can be met within a 5 mile radius. Driving with one arm is a bit of a challenge so I try to limit my freeway driving since doing something dangerous is even more dangerous at high speed. This whole thing has slowed me down quite a bit. I am someone who enjoys a project and a challenge. Grabbing some power tools and putting something together is my idea of fun. But this physical limitation has resulted in a messier house, fewer projects, and more time to read and think.
I start every day with a cup of coffee and an exploration of my backyard. I have an average sized backyard but the diversity is amazing. I have always enjoyed watching butterflies but this summer I have been fortunate to observe lots of larval and butterfly activity. My vegetable garden attracted horn worm caterpillars. (These turn into a moth, not a butterfly.) I went out one day to discover this one covered in these little white things.
All around the yard volunteer sunflower plants sprang up in the spring and are now all in bloom. They have attracted some butterfly larvae that I believe to be some sort of checkerspot. They all feed together in a mass and completely skeletalize the leaves.
But here’s a happy story. When I put in my square foot gardens I planted some dill and parsley. I’m not wild about cooking with either but I remembered that the last time I grew parsley I wound up with swallowtail caterpillars. Growing these plants was all it took to attract them and I’ve been rewarded with several generations so far. Here are a couple of larvae chomping on dill and parsley:
There are lots of other butterflies in the yard but I haven’t been able to photograph all of them. Here’s a bordered patch butterfly.
I’ve learned a lot about butterflies this summer. It has only whetted my appetite for more information. I want to research and add more butterfly-attracting plants to my yard. If I can get some help with the labor I want to create another bed in the front yard filled only with plants for butterflies.