Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Star Wars Chores

Home at last! We've just returned from a "working vacation" in Orlando, Florida. Emphasis should be placed on "working," because, although we had fun, there was very little "vacation" involved!

First, we brought up our boxes from the basement. Items in these boxes had to be individually bagged and priced.

Bosewichte was happy to help in any way that he could, either by staying as well-rested as possible...

...or by utilizing his supervisory skills as we packed.

We filled this cargo van to the brim!

We grabbed snacks and drink, and only 18 hours later...

...we arrived at the main event!

That's right! We made the trek to Florida to set up a booth at Celebration V. We have an eBay business, selling vintage toys and collectibles, so this event was right up our alley. There were celebrity appearances by Darth Vader...

...and even George Lucas, referred to by those in the collecting field, jokingly, as "The Maker."

Our little 10 x 10 space was absolutely crammed full of merchandise! I was really proud. Several people stopped to tell us that our booth was their favorite. Visitors exclaimed over vintage items they hadn't seen since childhood, and pointed out various examples to their children. It was a good feeling, helping them relive those happy times.

It was good to go, but even better to get home again. I never feel quite comfortable, being away.
Who would make sure that the garden was truly being watered enough?

Who would notice all the unusual happenings, like this caterpillar pulling a small pebble from his back...

...or these aphids, devouring a vine?

What about catching those moments of beauty, like this cosmos, its petals illuminated by the sun?

Or this butterfly, gracefully perched atop a zinnia blossom?

Who'd bring in our daily tomato harvest?

So you can understand how glad I felt to pull into our driveway!

Once home, it was business as usual. The garden is full of butterflies and hummingbirds. A delightful new addition is the goldfinch, a tiny yellow bird with black-tipped wings that loves to sit on the swaying zinnia stalks and delicately pluck seeds from the drying flowers.

Goldfinches are songbirds and a bit of a rarity in the city. I love being able to provide a habitat for them!

We caught another raccoon. The little devils continue to climb onto our roof and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage, despite our deterrents. This little fellow was quickly relocated to a more rural location!

I was thrilled to see this black swallowtail caterpillar in the bronze fennel. I watched him carefully, and was lucky enough to catch his next stage...

The molt!

When I checked the dill, I was stunned to see not one, not two, but at least TWENTY black swallowtail caterpillars at work!

Some people kill caterpillars, because they're destructive, but I never would. I love black swallowtail butterflies, and I greatly enjoy watching these fellows at work. I read a book as a child called "Rabbit Hill" by Robert Lawson. It was about the perils of a rural community of animals, who greatly benefited from the arrival of a new family at the local farm. The family believed in living in harmony with the animals and not fighting against them, and it really influenced me. There's enough dill for everyone here, and I certainly don't begrudge them a few stalks.

Caterpillars really are interesting creatures. When roused, two orange antennae emerge from their forehead in hopes of frightening and intimidating an enemy. The antennae are quickly retracted when the alarm ceases.

They really are eating machines. This caterpillar gnaws at the base of the dill umbel.

This one prefers the sweet yellow flowers.

Their stubby "feet" are uniquely suited to their needs.

I stumbled across a chrysalis. I don't know if it holds a butterfly or a moth, or what it will look like when it emerges. It's pretty amazing, just the way it is. I can see the curve of the wing on the shell...or is that a coincidence? I also see small, spiny knobs that remind me of a caterpillar's back.

The curves are very precise and the coloring is remarkable. A chrysalis doesn't need to be hanging to "hatch" properly, so I carefully slid it between two old bird nests on my potting bench outside. I will be keeping an eye on it!

I may be keeping an eye on it, but how many pairs of eyes are on me as I work in the garden? There's Clarence, who's never far.

And, of course, there's mantis...

...after mantis...

...after mantis!

September is nearly here and I'm looking forward to the changes the cooler weather will bring.

I've finished a little knitted toy recently. I used Cascade 220 wool, which is one of my favorites. It's a great quality wool that has a delightful "sticky" quality when knitted. Toys are great instant gratification projects for when you're too busy for - or too weary of - a more detailed project. Just a pair of arms and legs, knitted in the round..

...a small head, joined to the neck...

Two flapping ears and a handful of stuffing complete the project. This little elephant will go to my new nephew.

No special cooking this week...I've just finished yet another peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Our lives have been really busy and I don't expect things to slow down any time soon. We've been praying for guidance and are making some important decisions about our future. We'll see what the future holds!


  1. I just love all the photos you've posted of your garden! It's truly inspiring, and I especially appreciate all the tidbits of info about the caterpillars. Makes me want to look much more carefully at the insects out in my own backyard.

  2. Whoa. Cool. What a cool day with Mr. Lucas and his groupies.

    And what a lovely adventure through your garden. You have a wonderful talent of bringing me into your fairyland. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

  3. Thanks! My husband always says that he never sees anything in our postage stamp-sized back yard, but all it takes is a little practice.

  4. ohhh, the mantis is back. I suspect he's as much a part of your graden as the flowers. I love the kitty in the Xerox box.

    (I am way behind on reading your blogs. I will endeavor to catch up this week.)

  5. Oh, yes! While weeding yesterday, I saw two or three mantises. One bright green fellow and one with interesting shades of brown. For the next month we'll be in "official mantis season" so I must be prepared! :)