Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Praise of Not Famous Insects

At the top of the hill, surrounded by a grassy septic mound is our volunteer goldenrod. Perched upon the tip of each flowering branch was a wonderful, gnat-eating bee (?). Keep eating.

"What have I got...

...that makes you want to love me?" croons Alice Cooper on Love It To Death. Is it my garbage? Some of my out of date, "third class" (deep storage) feminism, art, or theory books? You better tell me, tell me. It's really up to you. Have you got the dumpster that will accept my moldy crap?

Packing for our move the H-E-double hockey sticks out of Queens, we classified any items that we had many of (books, records, kitchen utensils, trinkets/decor) 1st, 2nd, or 3rd class. First class meant that it would come along with us to the next living space (Michigan). Second class meant we wanted to see it at some point, but it would not fit in the truck on the drive west. Third class meant we had spent money on the item at some point and probably would have appreciated any cash generated from the item's sale. However, that cash would not amount to much, so we'd see that item again at some point.

I tried marking some boxes "2.5" or "1.5" rather than by a whole number. I was VICIOUSLY SHOT DOWN and with good reason.

I am certain that any books that formerly resided within this box within one of our parents' attics have all been shipped via media mail to students seeking bargain texts online. So, indeed, these books did get us through some thin months.


Autumn is on the edges of the sun's rays and on the tops of the swallowtail's wings who circle about each other midcanopy. It is in the yellow of drought tired spicebush and tuliptree leaves that drift to the edges of the driveway like golden finches who also gather at roadsides. It is in the appetite of monarch and major datana eating the butterfly milkweed and blueberries. Autumn is in the rotten tomatoes that we toss over the fence and into the goldenrod. The foxtail grass and the young song sparrow who eats the seed. The rabbits becoming more witting of the approach of shod feet.

The meadow is purple and gold. Mature bulrush, squarrose sedge, and New York ironweed.

Major datana caterpillars on cultivated blueberries, August 16. Six days later they have defoliated the plant. About a half dozen caterpillars or less got it done.

Zebra caterpillar on a still robust kale, but now poopy and unappealing. They've also enjoyed my Brussels sprouts, which I may not enjoy myself. As I say each year as I plant the seeds, "Maybe this year they will work our. As I say each autumn, "Maybe next year they will work out."

This spicebush must be pleased by today's downpours (right now I'm watching the second on with one eye) . The shrub's yellowing leaves partially hide yet another "hoop" protecting a native plant - in this case, an increasingly healthy patch of alumroot.

Because of the drought, we never staked our tomatoes. They became a self-mulching tangle. Harvesting and watering is more difficult, but I think we saved the fruits from sun-scald.

Monarch caterpillar, August 19. I wondered who was making a mess of the butterfly milkweed.

Monarch caterpillar, August 22, several times larger than a couple days ago. They are nearly as large as the caterpillars I discovered on the butterfly milkweed in the vegetable garden, just before they disappeared. Chrysalis or a hungry chipping sparrow?

Friday, August 20, 2010

It seemed like summer would last forever...

...and each event seemed like it would last forever. So many swallowtails visited the Joe Pye weed. While sitting at the kitchen table, my eyes and attention were on the butterflies. After about 10 days, the swallowtails drifted elsewhere, to other Joe Pye weeds, and then disappeared.