Bountiful Butterflies

August 11, 2010

I love Joe Pye Weed. It’s got such lovely soft pink flowers. And although I like to look at them, what is REALLY great is those flowers are veritable butterfly magnets.

They are especially popular with the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.

yellow butterfly

Time for a sip of nectar!

I think it’s interesting that there are three color variants of the Easter Tiger Swallowtail.  The male is yellow, and he’s just a tiny bit less showy than the females, as he only has small red and blue spots on the inside of his hind wings, up next to the abdomen.

I think this is a male (I’m not an expert here!).

yellow butterflies

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) - Male?

The male comes in only the one color… yellow.

yellow butterfly

It's a boy!

The females can be yellow too, but have an area of blue between the black margin of the hind wing, and the yellow.

So I would say these are female swallowtails!

yellow butterflies

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) - females, yellow form

This one is definitely a female with those prominent blue spots!

yellow buttefly

It's a girl!

But here’s the thing… remember I said there are three color variants? Well, the female Eastern Swallowtail butterfly also has a black form.

black butterfly

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Joe Pye Weed

 So if it’s black, it’s female.  If it’s yellow, it could be male OR female.

black butterfly and yellow butterfly

Black or Yellow, take your pick!

Whether they’re black or yellow, male or female, they’re beautiful!

Friday’s Farm Fotos

June 25, 2010

Another Friday, and just a few photos from around the farm this week.  Well, actually, I just took these pictures this morning, while doing morning chores and then walking to the mailbox with my crazy gotta-love-him dog, Toby.

The phlox is finally blooming in the flower bed on the northern end of the house.

Phlox paniculata 'David'

There are some daylilies hiding in the shadows along the steps.

Daylily 'Stella d'Oro'

By the pond, there are always dragonflies.  I like this picture because you can see how transparent the wings are.

Just Resting A Minute

There are also butterflies flitting around.  This morning a nice yellow and black swallowtail was sipping water off the leaves in the shadows.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

And there was even a frog sitting on some pond plants in the swallow water near the bank.

No lily pad in sight I'm afraid!

And waiting on me to quit being so poky and GET OUT OF THE SUN was Toby in shade at the top of the steps.

It's too hot to stay in the sunshine!

When you’ve got a black fur coat, the sun feels really hot really fast!

And there you have it, the same old stuff here on the farm!  Hope you have a great week-end, and thanks for stopping by!

Blooming Butterflies

June 22, 2010

Our butterfly bushes are blooming.  That means we get butterflies flitting about, hooray!  They’re one of my favorite things to see in the yard, along with hummingbirds and lightning bugs.  And bluebirds and cardinals.  And… anyway, I like butterflies.

And I love to take pictures of butterflies.  Only here, my camera lets me down.  I confess, I lusted for this Canon PowerShot SX10IS.  It has a 20X zoom!  That part is great.  What’s bad, is it doesn’t focus worth… crap.  A great many times my subject has wandered out of the shot by the time the camera decides to focus on something.  It especially hates to focus on red.

At first I thought it was me just getting used to a new camera.  But no, sorry to say but it’s the camera.  I can fix me not knowing how to do something.  I can’t fix a camera that doesn’t want to focus but occasionally.

However!  I wanted it, I got it, and now I just try to work with it.  And all that to say, these pictures aren’t as good as I’d hoped, but … here they are…

Just hanging around...

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Way up in the sky, the butterflies fly...

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Enjoying the sunshine and nectar.

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Can't be still!

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Upside Down Restaurant

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Getting a cool drink in the shade.

These next couple of pictures aren’t butterflies.  The first is actually a type of Sphinx moth.  These moths are sometimes mistaken for a hummingbird or bumblebee…

Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis)

They move and flit around like a hummingbird, so I can see how they could be mistaken for one.  This particular species looks more like a bumblebee though.

And last for today, as I went back to the house I kept hearing this squeaky noise around the porch somewhere.  At first I thought it was a mouse, but no, here is what I found. . .

Five new baby birds!

It’s round two of baby birds in this same nest!

And that’s the way it is around our little farm in the very HOT south (high 90s all this week).

Time for a cool drink…

Friday’s Farm Fotos

May 21, 2010

Here we are, another Friday, and time for some miscellaneous pictures from around the farm this week. Per usual, in the order they came out of the camera.  Here we go!

Here’s the retired matriarch of our Shetland sheep, Miss Coconut.

female sheep

Got it made in the shade. . .

 She loves having her head scratched and is always looking for treats.  (I have NO idea how she got that way.  Must be The Farmer handing out treats, yeah, that’s it. . .)

This one is an interesting combination of beauty and the beast… beastly odor that is.

Beauty and the Beast(ly odor)

That Monarch butterfly is on a Voodoo Lily.  It’s the only one I see growing this year.  *Someone* keeps mowing down the bank where they grow. . .

Here’s a closer look:

Dracunculus vulgaris

When that big bloom opens, it generally will lay down horizontal.  And smell.  And attract a LOT of bugs.  (There’s more pictures and info about this plant at Voodoo Magic.)

And of course, I have lots of hens and baby chicken pictures, so here’s a couple of those:

On the move!

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chicks

A chick, chick here. . .

Oh, and here’s another picture of the rambling rose growing up in a big oak tree.  I put a couple of arrows in there so you can see better how far it is up into the tree.

Paul's Himalayan Musk Rambling Rose

And while we have lots of bluebirds and Tufted Titmouse birds and robins and such flitting around, there are also still lots of cardinals to brighten up the place.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

And speaking of bluebirds, we have some nesting nearby.  Here’s one after it took off from the nest. . .

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

And one of the bluebirds is looking down at the hidden nest here. . .

Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis)

Their nest is hidden in a pipe that is bracing a gate post.

The arrow marks the spot!

The nest is just below a hole in the pipe, so I can see it’s there, but I can’t see in it.  Can’t see down the pipe either, because it’s too close against the fence post.

It’s been raining this morning, so I wondered how the little Tufted Titmouse baby birds were doing since that’s just an open hole in the post.

Rain doesn't seem to dim the appetite of baby birds!

They seem to be doing fine, in spite of the rainy weather!

The rain doesn’t keep the sheep from getting out to graze either.

A Trio of Shetland Ewes

And last for today, a picture of a bloom and buds on my Country Lady rose bush.

Country Lady Rose

That’s it for this week.  Have a great week-end!

Of Rainbows And Wildflowers

August 28, 2009

It was relatively cool early one morning this week, so I took a walk down in the bottom pasture to see what kind of wildflowers were blooming.

The field is full of Meadow Rue and Joe Pye Weed.  It makes a striking contrast of whites and rosy-pink, with a little green mixed in from the underlying leaves and stems.

Field with Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) and Meadow Rue (Thalictrum . .)

There are also yellow flowers blooming.  I’m not sure what they are, but they sure do shine in the shadows.

Yellow Flower

There are other splashes of yellow  mixed in with the taller plants, with tall goldenrods here and there.

Goldenrod bloom closeup.

A lot of the bottom pasture is a little boggy, as spring water oozes out of the hillside.  This makes a perfect environment for Cardinal Flowers (Lobelia cardinalis).

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

I love these plants, and so do the hummingbirds.  It’s kind of hard to get a good picture though, as the camera doesn’t want to lock in on the red and the edges can be kind of blurred.

Around the outer edges of the pasture, there are patches of Jewel Weed (Impatiens capensis). 

Jewel Weed (Impatiens capensis)

The juice from this plant is supposed to be a good rememdy for poison ivy, but I’ve never tried it.

A whole bunch of these yellow flowers grow on a bank near our pond.

Yellow Flowers

In fact, I used them as a background for a picture of Ellie in her 2007 calendar.

Ellie in her Secret Garden.

There are also morning glories growing on a hillside near the pond.

White Morning Glory and Yellow Flower

Near the mailbox, there are some wild blue morning glories.

Blue Morning Glory

Of course the butterflies enjoy morning glories, and I usually see a few near them, like this Pearl Crescent Butterfly.

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Then yesterday evening when The Farmer came home, he told me to come outside, because he saw a rainbow as he was driving home.

Rainbow

While I was outside with my camera, I took another picture of all the Meadow Rue and Joe Pye Weed in the bottom pasture, because the evening light gave it a different coloration.

Field of Meadow Rue (Thalictrum . .), Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum), and Ironweed (Vernonia altissima)

I thought the colors were more vibrant and the white showed up better.  You can also see some purple Ironweed (Vernonia altissima) in the lower lefthand corner.

It’s a lot of fun looking around the farm for wildflowers!