Want to see some butterflies? Try looking down. Strange advice, I know. We’re trained to look up for those big, beautiful insects like swallowtails and monarchs. But, in fact, most butterflies are a lot smaller than that. In my yard, swallowtails are rare visitors and I’ve never yet seen a monarch butterfly.
But, by looking down, I have seen the more humble of the clan. Little hairstreaks and skippers are common in our area, and they’re just as cool. As I build my landscape with milkweeds and other butterfly-friendly native plants, I’m watching to see who else I can get to visit me.
The wildflower-seeding project I started last spring continues off and on. I harvest seed from wildflowers like coreopsis and blue flax, and then scatter them on my daily bike rides. As before, I use native wildflowers, not aliens that might become invasive. I keep my seeds out of people’s yards. Only areas like road banks and traffic islands are on my radar — especially if they’re already overgrown with weeds.
These seem like tiny patches of land, but our native bees are also tiny and don’t need all that much room. My goal is to improve bee habitat and beautify desolate areas at the same time.
Here comes the hot weather again! It would sure be nice if my cucumbers and blackberries kept yielding for me. I’m giving everything in my yard a good drink ahead of hundred-degree days in the forecast.
At last, I’ve had female flowers on my winter squash. I hand-pollinated a pumpkin and am watching for the chance to do the same on my butternut and acorn squashes.
In the kitchen, I canned two batches of cherry/blackberry jam, and I’ve frozen some wax beans and kale. I nearly have enough tomatoes to freeze some of them, too.
Heat did the trick, and I finally got sprouts on my inside starts of Mexican Hats and Milkweed. That means my plan to buff up butterfly habitat can eventually go forward.
Someone on my block has gotten chickens. A rooster has been crowing since about the start of July. Oddly enough, the crowing doesn’t bother me as much as I would have expected.
Until next time, keep digging in the dirt!