Sunday, April 15, 2012

summerbirds

























By Mikael, wwoofer from Denmark, we are reminded that the Danish word for butterfly is, curiously, "sommerfugl," literally "summerbird." Above is a pipevine swallowtail (battus philenor), below a painted lady (vanessa cardui). Each was so seduced by our lilac in full bloom that it was largely oblivious to the camera. The host plant (necessary for egg-laying and pupal development) of the pipevine swallowtail is the pipevine (Aristolochia californica); we have an abundant patch under a nearby oak. The pipeline swallowtail is poisonous to birds due to chemicals derived from the pipevine by the larvae. Host plants for the painted lady are the various milkweeds, of which we have many. It has been a very good spring for butterflies so far.

With Mikael's help I stay abreast of the demands of the season - or at least don't fall too far behind! We've weeded the hops, cleared the green manure crop from the summer garden area, built Galt's largest compost pile (roughly 6x6x30), and potted up 100+ tomato plants. He will continue his migration north soon, and we will miss him.


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