Hard on houseguests

October 5, 2013 (This post sat in the unfinished queue too long.)

“Our” butterfly emerged! Well, I think that it was our butterfly. (See Approaching Autumn.) The tomato stalk that the chrysalis was attached to fell over, like tomatoes do at this time of year. I moved a section of the stalk, with the chrysalis, to the lip of an empty dog bowl and supported it with a bit of rusty barbwire. I would have been more careful, but there were things to be done. Two days later, the dog bowl was back in use, the barbwire was on the table top on the deck, and the chrysalis was nowhere to be seen. George denied seeing a chrysalis before moving the bowl. Which is probably a true statement, regardless of the position of the chrysalis, but didn’t lead me to any answers. What we did find while doing chores on September 21, was a newly emerged butterfly.Butterfly

It was so exciting to see our butterfly, contemplate its past, and speculate on its future that I probably wasn’t the best host. I crawled close to it to inspect and photograph it, even before its wings were fully extended. Despite being a sunny day, it was cool and breezy. I wanted the butterfly to be on a sunny, sheltered nectar source. I chased the poor butterfly, probably sealing its demise. Fortunately for the butterfly, I haven’t see it since. Getting loved to death is a real possibility around here.

Larry is visiting today. He and George picked pasture apples (no, not that kind!) for the pantry. They peeled and cored them. So far 58 quarts have been canned and there are at least a couple of gallons awaiting canning or eating. I was chief bottle washer, but allowed to peel and core the last apple of the bunch (for today).

Apple brothers

Apple brothers

Apple peels

Apple peels

Apple slices

Apple slices

Apples canned

Apples canned

Come and visit! We might serve you some apple crisp…after completing a project or two!

Approaching Autumn

Some people cringe at cool days with clear blue sunshine followed by an early sunset. For me, they are both energizing and cozy. Here is a glimpse of the things that are capturing my attention.

The Waupaca Area Triathlon is held in August each year. George and I volunteer and earn funds for the library. The 2014 triathlon will be held on August 16 next year. If you have any desire to participate, let me know how to encourage you! Both the short and long courses fill up most years.

Swim to bicycle transition area

Swim to bicycle transition area

Our garden might not contain a large variety of plants, but the ones we do have are plentiful.

Tomato frog, August 11

Tomato frog, August 11

Garden spider, August 14

Garden spider, August 14

George planted hardy hibiscus from seed this spring. Most of them were transplanted into a row containing composted manure. The difference in height is apparent, but the difference in number of leaves on each is striking!

Hibiscus seedling

Hibiscus seedling

Hibiscus with compost

Hibiscus with compost

The composted row is in the foreground. The second row with zinnias and zucchinis has the small hibiscus in it.

Garden rows

Garden rows

Our property lines follow the road and perpendicular as marked by the stop sign.

Looking northeast

Looking northeast

The large tank behind the clothesline belongs to the neighbors. Jack and Ed helped us with the steps on the deck earlier this year.

Backyard

Backyard

Asian pears are ripening on a tree planted several years ago.

Asian pears

Asian pears

Grasshopper, September 1

Grasshopper, September 1

Tomatoes

Tomatoes on the vine

I estimate that I picked over 100 pounds of tomatoes on Monday. This is the second picking.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes in a pile

While I was picking, I found a monarch caterpillar preparing to form a chrysalis on one of the tomato plants.

Monarch caterpillar

Monarch caterpillar

When I checked back today, it had transformed. According to The Life Cycles of Butterflies,  “If this phase of its life cycle occurs during the warm summer months, the butterfly should be fully developed and ready for eclosion, or emergence from its chrysalis, in about two weeks. If the insect enters its chrysalis phase during the cooler months of autumn, then it may wait out the winter by going into diapause, hibernating until warmer spring weather arrives.” Since I’ve seen so few butterflies this season, I get excited when they do appear.

Monarch chrysalis

Monarch chrysalis

Each year a group of friends gathers to camp, gather mosquito bites, and eat. This was our 20th year. William, Violet, and James explored a geocache at Lake Kegonsa State Park.

Geocache explorers

Geocache explorers

Those of us without dogs checked out the White Oak Nature Trail.

Sunny smiles

Sunny smiles

Son and dad

Son and dad

A happy couple

A happy couple

Indian pipe

Indian pipe

Almost a sphere

Almost a sphere

Pollinator

Pollinator

Farmer George

Farmer George

Professor George, first day of school (again)

Professor George, first day of school (again)

Happy Autumn!