Thursday, July 15, 2010

Transformation - Claustrophobia?

Tuesday I took photos of caterpillars on my parsley. Wednesday morning I checked on them during my morning stroll through my garden. Mr. Upside Down Caterpillar was still upside down:

Wednesday late afternoon I went to check on his whereabouts and to my surprise, saw this!

Someone had a very busy day...

And a little background: When I mowed the front lawn Tuesday evening I nearly ran over this little guy! He was in line for my next swath of mowing when I spotted him. I scooped him up along with a fistful of grass and redeposited him onto the parsley. In retrospect he was probably crawling around, looking for a place to spin. Once set back where he started, one can only presume he was too exhausted to restart his journey and spun it right there! Sorry little guy! LOL And while I know a cocoon is natural, and that an amazing transformation is happening inside, I can. barely. stand. to look at the cocoon! Ohhh soooo .... enclosed. Breathe. I am not in the cocoon! I am out here, where the skies are wide and the air is free...

On a related topic, remember I was looking for a book that shows caterpillars and then the corresponding resulting butterfly? Yesterday I had the bright idea to call the local Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, where they have a butterfly house to ask if they had any recommendations. (Actually the size of a house -- this huge walk through 2 story dome -- very cool.) They said they have a book like that in their gift shop, and it's used and recommended by their Master Gardeners. After a few email volleys back and forth, it appears I may start volunteering out there. Can you imagine? Spending a day with Master Gardeners in a butterfly house? I am beside myself. I may also be turning into a little old lady. Guess I'd better get a hat and some knee highs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Neighbors Who Share

I've become acquainted with a couple who lives on my walking route. They lost a big tree to the snow this year and I absconded (with permission and with help) with some fire wood as a result. They have a great display of flowers in their front yard, and if you are nosey like me and peer over their side gate, you can see that their backyard is positively an oasis. Ray and Judy. They are the nicest people!

I was walking by a few weeks ago and Judy was out tending her flowers. I took the opportunity to ask her what some orange flowers were in her yard. (Orange flowers are hard to come by!) They look like wildflowers -- airy, random, and about 3-4 feet tall. Just beautiful! She didn't know the name, but she immediately produced a kleenex from her pocket and stooped over and picked up some seeds for me. Ray appeared from the sideyard and enthusiastically told me just to scatter them and keep them wet for a few days. I did, and the seeds sprouted immediately!

I told the story to a friend with whom I walk, and have already promised her seeds from my plants when they produce! (Nevermind that metal plant label in the photo; it's for another nearby plant...)

Hungry Caterpillars

I thought that the time for caterpillars this summer was passed and that we were full on butterflies now. I am wrong! I give you Exhibits A and B who are happily munching on my parsley plant:

The day before that I saw one on my fennel and one on the parsley, but I guess either there is a third one roaming around somewhere, or one of them determined that the munching was greener over with his buddy.

I've been searching for a book or poster that contains color photos of caterpillars, and the corresponding butterflies that they become, but alas -- does not seem to exist. So how does one know what become what?

Mojito, anyone?

Red remarked the other day that the mint and thyme in my driveway is filling in nicely. Naturally I felt compelled to share it with you...

Here's how it looked when it was new:

And here's what it looked like last evening, after a trim:

I have peppermint (the largest plants;) pennyroyal (the flat plants with little purple blossoms;) spearmint (with the variegated leaves;) thyme (whispy looking, about halfway down the drive) and in the very back where you can't really see, I have lemon balm. The lemon balm isn't really thriving... it may get replaced at some point. (No, Ms. Lemon Balm, I am not threatening you, it's just an observation!)

One little 4 year old neighbor girl and I take turns picking mint leaves for the other and eating them. She agrees, it tastes like toothpaste!

Whenever I pull into or back out of my driveway, the mint brushes the under carriage of my car and the most delicious mint aroma comes in through my air vents. It's my own personal aromatherapy sending me on my way or welcoming me home!