The eighteenth day

black swallowtail butterfly

statesymbolsusa.org

The second black swallowtail of the year.

A wonderful radio show on WERS about the urbanologist.

Weeds by the dozen: galansoga, a fireworkish burst of gone-to-seed grass, and more grasses–tall, Easter green, each with a little fist of white roots.

The List

Catbird
Rabbits half the size of my fist
An invisible redtail
Jousting mockingbirds in the elderberry
A tiger swallowtail flying some stories up into pine trees
An unbelievably big bumblebee; a queen?

Also, on the domesticated side of things:
Buds on passionflower vine
Lemon cucumber sprawling
Hops cones massive
Swamp milkweed planted

The Thoreauvian Challenge

thoreau

I invite any and all of you to join me in the Thoreauvian Challenge; a dare to keep a daily record of the August wilderness around us. You can do so online (on wordpress, facebook, twitter, wherever), privately (in letters, journals, your brain), or verbally.

If you choose to accept, write (or speak, or think) some sentences or paragraphs or syllables on what you encounter within your daily doings. These should be centered around interactions with the non-human as much as possible.

The goal is to be a medium. An open jar. To consider oneself as an accomplice–a breathing, locomotive, blood-pumping part within a home, a neighborhood, an ecosystem.

fireflies

So, I’ll start. 1 August, 2013:

I biked to work and introduced the summer camp kids to some medicinal herbs. We discussed the hedgehoggish appearance of echinacea; borage’s cucumber flavor; the stickiness of calendula; the gentle flannel of mullein. 

A hedgehog in a fieldechinacea hedgehog

Hedgehog vs. Echinacea

I found a tiger swallowtail butterfly trapped in the ceiling of a greenhouse. It beat itself against the opaque glass and seemed unable to differentiate it from air. I got a broom to try to shoo it away but was waylaid by customers.

There were so many honey- and bumblebees in the catmint. Orange aphids sucked on potted swamp milkweed and I killed them–the aphids, the color of butterfly weed blooms–between my thumb and first finger.

Falling asleep as I write. More tomorrow!

Queens or Kings Necessary

Image

This. Because last year I was spending a large part of my time at home watching my little puppy of a monarch and its milkweed, and this summer I am looking at sometimes dried up milkweed flowers, hoping and praying for one of those bengal-striped beauties.

The Celery and the Swallowtail

A few weeks ago I was at work, sorting through trays of medicinal herbs to put out for sale, when I was aghast to find a speck of bird poop upon my lovage. (Lovage, if you’re unaware, is a close sister of celery and an herb that I came to know in France. I’m quite enamored of it, both ornamentally and edibly.)

I make some sweet love to lovage in an Alpine valley.

I went to blow away the speck when I suddenly realized it to be a speck with two heads and sixteen legs. Sixteen legs! Two heads!! I also noticed rather quickly the negative space that was gazing at me from where the two-headed monster had been working at my beloved lovage, cutting and devouring the tender, blessed green of the new, nearly lacy leaves.

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