Spent a while watching butterflies on Saturday. A big monarch seems to have claimed the yard for her own. At least I think it was a she. She would patrol from one end of the garden to the other and back again, looping around the butterfly milkweed plants to make sure there were no interlopers.
There was also a cabbage butterfly and a couple of what I think were hairstreaks, but I didn’t get close enough to see them clearly.
The monarch left the smaller butterflies alone, but when a gulf fritillary wandered into the yard it promptly got chased back out again. I think it’s larger size and orange and black colors make it too monarch-like. It was an immediate target.
I was glad to see a good number of bees. When everyone stopped watering everything the bee population seemed to take a real dive. There were days in the beginning of the year where there’d be only one or two in the front yard and none at all inside the gates. Now there’s a good mix of pollinators, bees, butterflies and hoverflies. It was a good day for bugwatching.
I am constantly wrestling with getting the most out of my time. I am fully aware of the fact that the life I have may end without notice, and will without doubt change drastically, also without notice. And nothing makes me happier than being able to do two things at once; dry my hair and do leg lifts, file my nails at stop lights, edit photos during commercials when we’re watching tv. Getting my exercising done while I’m at work has been my latest and I have to admit that I’m exercising much more regularly and feel better for it.
This weekend I got a couple of repair jobs done for people at work. Annnnnd my reward for finally finishing these projects was more repairs. Not my favorite.
I was so excited to get all my pending work done. The two repairs and a simple copper ring. Everything turned out to be more work than anticipated, but turned out better than expected as well.
Did you ever have a project that had you stuck? I was stuck on one of my repairs. My customer is a bit of an anglophile. She’s been to Britain several time and loves it. I wanted to incorporate a sixpence into a bracelet I was making from beads that came from a broken necklace and just couldn’t come up with a way to do it that I was happy with. I wanted to finish it, but every time I thought about it my mind ran up against that bit of it. Finally I just got out the piece and laid out the tools and that let me carry on to the next step. But for a while it was like running into a dead end.
At least I got a lot done this weekend. I got a few extra hours off on Friday and it was wonderful. I actually sat outside in the afternoon and watched the butterflies fly by. There was one very worn looking gulf fritillary flitting about. I hope she found the plants she needed. They’re there. I’ve been very careful about removing the passion flower vines. They’ve come up from seed all over, but not necessarily in places that I want them. I check the vines for eggs and larvae before I take them out. I thought “butterfly seeds” instead of eggs when I was writing that sentence in my head.
We had our first failure at the Mom and Me cooking club this weekend. A totally inedible, throw them in the trash failure.
Mom picked this recipe for us to make. It sounded good. A little sweet, a little savory. They looked just like the picture from the recipe before they went in the oven. When they came out of the oven, all of the cheese had melted out of the apricots and burned. Each piece was sitting in a puddle of charred cheese. I’m kind of thinking that the temperature in the recipe (425F for 15 – 20 minutes) is a mistake. 225 until warmed through seems like it might be a more reasonable instruction. But I’m not that good a cook. I generally make things by the book the first time around. I don’t get creative with recipes until I’ve made it once and have some idea of what I’m doing. On the plus side, I now have some mascarpone and some ricotta and I think some manicotti is in the future.
Spent most of Saturday potting up succulents. I have a hard time matching the plant to the pot sometimes. I got several nice pots from Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria. They had both long tom pots and shallow terra cotta pots. It’s hard to find anything ordinary pots at the local nurseries, so when the opportunity comes around I try to stock up. I’ve had several glazed pots that I got just because I liked them, but hadn’t put anything in them. I did my best at matching the needs of the plant to the pot. I’ve had some trouble with root rot this year because of the rains. The way my yard is set up it gets shade in the winter and sun in the summer. Not an ideal situation.
It was a beautiful day for working in the yard Saturday. Not too hot. Had several butterflies hanging around for most of the day. A couple of large monarchs floated around.
And a less countable number of gulf fritillaries. They move so fast.
The fritillary larvae are all over the place. Most of the passionflower vines that come up all over from seed are chewed leafless. I’m always tempted to put a bunch of them in my bug jar, but I’ve been resisting. The yard can only support so many, so I’ve been letting nature decide how many I have. I let all of the passion flower vine and milkweed that sprouts grow, despite the fact that they don’t add to the aesthetics of yard, being perpetually caterpillar eaten.
It’s funny how I can work in the yard all day and no one but me can tell the difference.
Yesterday it was a caterpillar hanging upside down. Today it’s this. If you look closely you can see the delicate outline of wings. All in less than 24 hours.
One of the weirder things is that their heads fall off as they go through this process. Yesterday day a caterpillar, today a chrysalis and the caterpillar’s head caught in a spider web below it. Just weird.