Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Monday, August 24, 2009

Full Weekend

Ichiban Eggplant and Roma Tomatoes

It was such a full weekend that I never got to the Fen. That's pretty surprising at this time of the year. Things at home had me tied down. We spent a lot of time working on the screened porch. That project has been underway for a bunch of years now- and we just about finished up. I'll give it a whole blog post later in the week.

The vegetable garden is producing full tilt at the moment, and I spent a lot of the weekend putting food by. I froze three pints of eggplant and two of beans. I dried a bunch of Roma tomatoes, and went to the farm stand for corn. I got four pints of bicolored sweet corn in the freezer. I'm feeling very virtuous right now.

Sweet Corn!

It wasn't all indoor stuff, however. As I mentioned recently, we have 300 swamp metalmark larvae in the lab right now. That's a lot of mouths to feed. I collected a bit of swamp thistle, which is the caterpillar food plant.

Swamp Thistle (Cirsium muticum)

Swamp thistle is a biennial. It grows a rosette the first year, and in the second year it blooms, sets seed, and dies. I collect the first year rosettes to feed the caterpillars. I get them from a mowed area on the edge of a bike path just up the street from my house.

The bike path. The thistle is mostly on the right side.

First year thistle rosette

Summer is definitely passing by. I saw a lot of fall wildflowers. Sunflowers were abundant, but there were some other, more interesting fall flowers.

Tall White Lettuce (Prenanthes alba)

One of the Fireweeds (Epilobium sp.)

I even saw zigzag goldenrod, which Andy and Adam were discussing with me last weekend. I took a picture so they can see what it looks like.

Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)

After digging up one of the thistles, I felt a tickling sensation on my left wrist. A mating pair of stick insects had climbed aboard.

Northern Walking Stick (Diapheromera femorata)

You can see the much smaller male on the lower left of the female.

The problem with very full weekends is that Monday always seems to come around particularly quickly.

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At 10:52, Anonymous Mark H said...

I loved it: "I'm feeling very virtuous right now" ....I had never thought of myself that way after finishing up some canning until NOW. THANK you, Doctor! NOW I can feel virtuous with pride! Oh yes, and fabulous writing about the high summer with feeding the larvae.

At 04:04, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Doug, yes it does! Nice flower photos. I can't wait to see the porch!

At 22:56, Blogger Homer said...

Walking stick porn!!!

At 10:37, Blogger Ur-spo said...

Lovely veggies !
While I am hear in Ontario I am eating as many nearby vegetables as I can.
"No day without tomatoes" is my mantra.


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