More caterpillars, this time five swallowtails, at different stages, feasting on my parsley. I left them there, checking on them a couple times a day. They kept chomping and apparently thriving. I found one in the oregano, leaning into its silk sling just before entering the chrysalis stage, and then again just afterwards. Chances are it will stay in the chrysalis all winter. Right now it is well camouflaged -- even though I know exactly where it is, it still takes me a couple minutes of looking before I pick it out, so I am not surprised that I haven't found the other chrysalis. See if you can find this one in the last photo.
This spring we planted two morning glory starts, hoping for early blooms. Sure enough, the vines went twining up our trellis and soon we had two or three blooms. Then the local baby bunnies nipped each vine near the root. Sigh. But now, months later, they have sprung to life again. Or perhaps these are from seeds sown last year. In any case, each morning there are luminous blooms trumpeting a welcome to the day.
Then on a recent morning walk near the dam, we spotted a heron perched on a branch, watching the water. A different kind of morning glory! He was still there a half-hour later when we returned. While I was taking the second set of photos, a kingfisher flew in, perched on the other end of that cement wall, and peered down. He was too small to record well, but I enjoyed watching the two watchers.
A few days ago we had a gray, foggy morning -- but there was color if you took the time to look. And foggy water droplets revealed the invisible, like the spider web near my morning glories, or the one appearing to float in mid-air below the crabapple tree. (There is a video of this spiderweb at the end of the blog, but it is easy to miss -- look for the triangle/arrow to start it. You may need to come to the site itself to see it.)
We arrived in Edmonton to haze from forest fires in BC. The last couple days of our visit were spent in Canmore, near Banff and we wondered whether we'd even be able to see the mountains. The air quality varied, so that sometimes the mountains might have more appropriately been called the Smokies than the Rockies, but we did get to enjoy them.
Sunrise through smoke.
In mid-August, we traveled up to Alberta for a 90th birthday celebration for my father-in-law, Ike Glick. It was a weekend of family gatherings, with generations catching up with each other, game playing, storytelling and the sharing of good food, laughter and conversation.
It's late summer and the Queen Anne's Lace is decorating the country roads and the prairie plantings on campus, white lace-like doilies, made up of hundreds of white flowerets -- and a single rose - wine red floweret in the center. And occasionally, a variation -- I discovered one plant near the railway with pink stems and leaves, pink buds opening to a white bloom, then folding up into a reddish seed head.
After finding and leaving numerous black swallowtail caterpillars on my parsley and dill, a few weeks ago I brought four of them in on my porch, feeding them with dill until they went into chrysalis. Interesting to watch the similarities and differences with the monarchs. We had three females (blue spots) and one male (yellow spots) successfully emerge -- though the last one took off just an hour before a major downpour. I hope she found a refuge!
From tiny toads to giant bumblebees, caterpillars, bugs, butterflies, and gulls . . .
I learned about monarch life-cycles mostly from Mary Lehman Yoder, who every summer had a few caterpillars she tended on her back porch. One memorable Sunday, she brought a jar with a chrysalis to church and the butterfly emerged during the service.
For years I'd look for a caterpillar of my own and didn't find any. Somewhere along the way, I learned to recognize the signs -- a monarch on a blooming milkweed, the tiny ribbed cream-colored egg, the telltale holes in milkweed leaves, the teeny caterpillars in first or second instar (of 5 stages the caterpillar goes through, shedding its skin and getting bigger), the frass (poop) produced by the large 5th instar caterpillar.
A couple of years ago was the "summer of the monarchs," as we found, raised, and released a dozen monarchs. Last year I didn't see even one. This year I have been seeing butterflies or caterpillars every day -- they have been thriving on the milkweed in our backyard. We've tended 5 on our back porch but have been leaving the rest in place. Some day I hope to find a chrysalis in the wild.
I continue to learn from Mary. This post is in honor of Mary and her family, and the life cycle realities they are in the midst of these days.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"
Tesserae: small cube-shaped tiles of ceramic, glass or precious stone used to make a mosaic, or in this case, brief essays on some element of lectio divina with Luke 10:38-42.