Life as I know It

My Photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Friday, April 24, 2015

A.W.O.L.




For the Butterflies

The butterfly dipped,
and circled to smell
His floriferous dinner,
Which suits him quite well.

But, wait just a minute,
My story's not through,
His feet have more talents––
He tastes with them, too!

From Hollyhock Days

Dear Friends,

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, well, you must adore me by now.  Thank you for the sweet cards, letters, and e-mails. They make my heart happier. Many of you know that I was hacked and off the computer for awhile. It took a few weeks to get back on line and then, Whap!, we were hacked again. Thousands and thousands of spams and more.

This morning when I sat down we were again having problems. Jeff sat on the phone and awaited some tech help for a long, long time. Who would ever believe that we have become so dependent on our computers for so much?

My garden is bursting with life and my windows are flung open. Scents of Verbena de la mina (it is so fragrant), roses, and jasmine fill my little house with spring. I love it.

So much has happened that I can't include it all in this posting. Each posting takes many, many hours of concentrated time, which I don't have right now. So please, if you love the beauty of butterflies, just stay with me for this to the end. Also, look for the winner of the beautiful Josie Iselin Beach book and the possibility of winning this glorious little teak side table sent to me by Teak Closeouts.


The little table has a slatted top and a bottom shelf. It is so handy and useful. It does come unassembled, but it took Jeff only about 10 minutes to put it together. Sorry, the supplier cannot ship outside of the continental U.S. A.


I hosted a meeting of The Questers at our home last month. The organizer (trouble-maker), Kit Long, is a fabulous woman with many interests. Look what she brought as a hostess gift! A pot with a twiggy tree branch. On each twig was tied the jade-like chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly. What a gift, maybe the best one I've ever received. Glad this isn't a video or a might break your eardrums with my screams of joy!


Can you see them dangling from the branches?


Close up. The gold spots are entry points for oxygen.


You can see the miracle going on inside the chrysalis. I took this photo about an hour before the butterfly emerged from it.


I spent hours next to the chrysalis tree and recorded everything, but I NEVER got the actual emergence. I literally turned my head for a split second, and wham, the butterfly was out of the chrysalis and all crumpled up like a slightly used prom dress. See how fat the abdomen is? As I watched the newborn, the abdomen elongated and thinned.





Starting to pump fluid and unfurl.


Look at this beauty shot!


I spent hours watching them and became intrigued by the shadows of their legs. You can clearly see how they are able to hold onto flowers even in high winds. This shot sends me into the stratosphere. I love how mysterious it looks.


This male fell to the ground, and I quickly rescued it. You know it is a male by the dark spot on each hindwing. He stayed on my hand for about 15 minutes until his wings were rigid and he was able to beat them.





My garden dances with butterflies now and sways with the slow moving (and always hungry) caterpillars.

If you want to have the awe-inspiring presence of caterpillars and butterflies in your own garden, just do some simple things to suit them.

1. Plant a diverse array of flowers (native wildflowers, bushes and trees are most important) that will feed both the caterpillar and the butterflies. Monarch caterpillars feed ONLY on Asclepias species. Go for the natives if possible. See Monarchwatch.org or visit the Xerces Society for guidelines.

2. Provide a tray or saucer of soil that can be kept moist. Butterflies will puddle on the mud and sip nutrients.

3. Lay out a few flat basking rocks. They'll sun bathe on them.

4. NEVER use toxic sprays; insecticides, herbicides, fungicides. NEVER.


Fruits ripen, flowers burst into bloom...and the adventures and joy continue.

Thanks for the visit. I post daily photographs, quotes, and ideas on my Facebook page. I also have a business page Sharon Lovejoy: Home Gardens Books with upcoming events and public appearances. Both reach a broad audience. I enjoy interacting with readers. Like the blog, I have made some wonderful friends through this medium. 

If you are a blog follower, you will get an alert whenever I write a new blog. Blogs take hours and hours, which is time I sometimes don't have to spare. I continue to write infrequently for those dear friends who do not use Facebook– Lori, Julie Marie, Darla, and others.

I am happy to let you know that my little book Trowel and Error by Workman Publishing, has just gone into its 13th printing! Hurrah.


and...

my beloved old book A Blessing of Toads is now in its fifth printing with Down East Books!


This iteration has a new cover with black and white illustrations inside. The same information is still packed in the pages.


Thanks dear Aline for sharing this photo with us! I treasure seeing the two of you reading my book, The Little Green Island with a Little Red House.


This little book explores the world of colors and critters and is a fun read aloud with children. Jeff and I designed the text to reflect the words.
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Now, some reader letters:



I want to share with you one of the most special young people I have ever heard from. Move over writers, we have a new one on the way! I love this! 



Your words keep my words flowing. Thank you for your many kindnesses!

The lucky winner of the Josie Iselin book, Beach: a book of treasures is: A Facebook follower, Paulette.
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Enter the new drawing for the little teak end table, a $99 value from Teak Closeouts, which would be perfect in your garden, on your porch, deck, or?


To enter, simply send an email to Sharon's Give Away at sharonsgiveaway@icloud.com.

Happy Spring to you all!

Love across the miles,

Sharon