Monday, September 30, 2013

Back to Work!

Whenever I paused and leaned on the shovel handle, this was my view to the West.

   Well, after being out of commission for a while with a cold and a bad spell with my back... I FINALLY started trying to playing catch up. But digging probably wasn't the wisest thing to do!!! I tried taking it slowly, but that's just aggravating. hahaha  Did get a tiny patch started yesterday evening and lots of weeds pulled. That's always a very satisfying feeling!
   It was just so pleasant to be outside. Nice little breeze, humidity levels were decent... you can certainly tell its Fall in Florida. Buckshot the Broom cat and Mr. Maynard B. Mouth came out and supervised. Couldn't get a good photo of them though! Hester and Hermoine were delighted that I was turning over soil!!! I was just as tickled that they were grabbing every roach and grub in sight! Its so nice to have such a mutually advantageous relationship with the Ladies.    They seem to have FINALLY finished molting and I'm hoping they get back to the business of egg laying soon. I'm starting to get the urge to bake!! And fresh eggs make such a difference!

   Heres a cute shot of the ladies hard at work!!  I just love to watch chicken butts bouncing around the yard!! haha

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Monarchs and Milkweed.

   Got some milkweed started this Spring. Not really sure which variety.     Interplanted it with the Blue Porterweed. Get several different types of butterflies and bees visiting. And, of course, the Firebush is right beside them. VERY active spot! But my pride and joy are the Monarchs. They're supposed to migrate through in Autumn, but it seems I've had one or two all summer long.

   Perhaps they got lost and decided to hang out where they had food and water sources. Oh well, what I do know is how much I've enjoyed them. Decided I wanted to plant a larger area devoted mainly to them, so I started checking on the internet...... and found Monarch Watch. Some very good tips and I could even get my little spot certified as a Monarch Waystation. How cool is that?

   It seems every species could use a helping hand in this day and age. Humans have done so much harm to the environment. (And so many continue to do so!) Its imperative that every individual try to help in some way. I know I'm repeating myself.... but no matter how small the action taken ~ it does make a difference! And many small efforts combined will add up to something big!!!

   My tiny patch of flowers doesn't look like much, but this Monarch decided to lay some eggs there. So hey! Won't be long before the leaves are being devoured by caterpillars. Guess I'd better get out there and transplant some of the little  volunteer seedlings so they get more sun and can produce more food! hahaha

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Where Do Butterflies Sleep?

   Good morning! Its a lovely day. Still warm, but a gentle breeze is dancing through all the trees and bushes. And the sky is that late-Summer blue! Our seasonal changes are pretty subtle here in Florida. But beautiful all the same.
   So, did you ever wonder where butterflies go to sleep? I hadn't.... until late yesterday evening. I was out there trying to convince Maynard to come in, but he was having too much fun running around in the magnificent night air! Normally I would join in the fun ~ but I have a cold and my patience wasn't at its usual level. I just wanted to go to sleep!!! Maynard DID NOT! hahaha  We finally worked out our differences and as I was carrying his big behind in I brushed up against one of the fire bushes near the porch. Oh my! All of a sudden there were all these fluttery shapes dipping and swooping all around. Then they started finding spots to land. Just hanging there.... still as could be. I felt so bad! Here I'd gone and disturbed their sleep.  But, do butterflies sleep? I mean, they don't have eyelids. So how do they "sleep"?   I'd all ready  found out "where".
   Well, it seems that they don't actually sleep, they quiescent! They are cold blooded creatures, so they need warmth to be active. That's why you rarely see them at night or on really cloudy or cold days. They find a safe place... fold their wings and hang quietly. They quiescent. ( LOVE that word. Maybe I should teach it to my three year old grandson! "Can you imitate the butterflies and quiescent for a while?"  Yeah, like that would work! hahaha) 

   The fire bush seems to be a top choice for feeding and sleeping. Here are a couple of  photos I took this morning of a Tiger Swallowtail. These plants were still in the shade but it was definitely warm enough for butterflies to be up and about!