July 30, 2011 § 2 Comments
Quickly posting as I am under several deadlines and determined to get all fully underway. I believe I mentioned that this past week, Lisa Smith and her Cape Ann TV After-the Beach Teen Video Club stopped by for a tour of my garden. Here’s a short clip, with a wonderful surprise visit by the friendly Question Mark butterfly, who very conveniently, stole the show.
The teens and Lisa did a great job and all very much enjoyed the beautiful creatures that flew in and out of our story. It is not easy to focus on tiny subjects using a heavy camera attached to a tripod. The full video of the garden tour and interview will air in the near future and we will keep you posted.
July 28, 2011 § 5 Comments
July Butterfly Update
Have you noticed the sheer numbers of our winged friends? Returning this evening from a swim at 6:45, I bumped into three Monarchs nectaring and a Red-spotted Purple (all in pristine, newly emerged condition). Early evening is an unusually late time of day for butterflies on the wing, especially when skies are slightly overcast. This, after a day of observing and shooting numerous numbers of butterflies, caterpillars and hummingbirds–and never leaving our garden. I work for a bit, but then the garden calls and I’m out the door with both video and still cameras. If this fabulously warm weather keeps up, I think we are in for another banner year with the butterflies, and skippers too.
Currently, we have 28 Monarchs, in various stages of development, residing in our kitchen, and seven Black Swallowtail caterpillars and chrysalids.
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar–note the fine “girdle” spun by the pupating caterpillar. Attached to the stem by both the girdle and a silky mat in which his last proleg is hooked, the caterpillar is securely latched. The proleg becomes the cremaster during pupation.
I am often asked why I collect butterfly eggs and don’t simply leave them in the garden. Butterfly larvae have a roughly one in ten chance of survival in the wild. In our kitchen, the odds increase exponentially, with a ten in ten rate of survival. For instance, I have learned, that after observing a butterfly deposit her eggs on a host plant, to gather them up quickly. If I become distracted and wait even only an hour, they often disappear, usually having been eaten or parasitized.
More detailed information on each species will be forthcoming. Much footage to edit…
Question Mark Butterfly and Patrice ~ My favorite photo of the season (click on the photo to see full size). Yesterday afternoon, Lisa Smith, one of the producers over at Cape Ann TV, with her After the Beach Video Club for Teens, were filming in the garden. While Patrice was interviewing me, this Question Mark alighted briefly on her shoulder several times. I was prepared the second time, with camera ready and adjusted to the appropriate settings. The Question Mark’s cooperation throughout the day’s shoot–nectaring, sunning itself, and taking long sips of sap through the chinks of bark in the weathered old pear tree–was very much appreciated by all; he was the true star of the day!
Oh Joyous July!
July 20, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Not to be missed: Gloucester at Dawn
~ A collection of photos taken between 4-5AM from December 2008-July 2011 in Gloucester MA from Joe Ciaramitaro
July 19, 2011 § 3 Comments
Dear Gardening Friends,
July 17, 2011 § Leave a Comment
July 16, 2011 § Leave a Comment
The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) is easily distinguished from the Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) by its smaller size, plume of feathers atop its head, and bright, sunny yellow feet. The Snowy Egret is about 24 inches long and weighs approximately 13 ounces. The Great Egret is roughly 37-40 inches long and weighs about 35 ounces. Plume hunters for the millinery trade hunted both species of egrets to near extinction by the turn of the previous century. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Snowy is protected by US law and the population has rebounded.
The Snowy Egret’s diet is diverse, consisting primarily of shrimps, snails, small fish, frogs, and aquatic insects. Snowys stalk prey in shallow water, and in the video, you can see it flushing prey into view by shaking and shuffling its feet. While filming (see last half minute of video), the Snowy stepped out of the water, turned gracefully towards the camera, and stood for a moment–providing more than a quick glimpse of it’s substantial, bright cadmium lemon feet.
July 16, 2011 § 4 Comments
I am often asked “why is that green, yellow, and black Monarch caterpillar eating my parsley”?
Chances are, you will never see a Monarch caterpillar on your parsley. By far and away it is more likely that you have the caterpillar of the gorgeous Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes).
Caterpillars that are actively feeding are usually only found on their larval host plant(s), the plant they have developed a distinctive coevolutionary relationship with over millennia. Monarch caterpillars do not eat parsley and Black Swallowtail caterpillars do not eat milkweed, and if either attempted, they would not survive. Black Swallowtails were in the past commonly referred to as the Parsnip Swallowtail as their caterpillar food plants belong to members of the Umbelliferae, or Carrot Family. The diet of the Black Swallowtail caterpillar includes the foliage and flowers of carrot plants, fennel, dill, parsley, Queen Anne’s lace, and parsnips.
The Monarch caterpillar is yellow, black, and white. The Black Swallowtail caterpillar is green, black, and yellow.
July 13, 2011 § 1 Comment
This morning I had the pleasure of presenting my Monarch butterfly program to the Cape Ann Garden Club. The meeting was held at the charming and beautifully maintained Annisquam Village Hall, located in the very heart of Annisquam. Thank you Cape Ann Garden Club members for your enthusiasm and for your interest–it was my joy!
These lovely arrangements are created by the members and then gathered up at the end of the meeting to be distributed to nearby nursing homes.
July 13, 2011 § Leave a Comment
From wiki: … “From early 1944 through May 1945, Browne served the USO as a Portrait Sketcher, volunteering three times a week, as her diaries now at the Boston Public Library indicate . Photographs of over 120 of these charcoal portraits of servicemen and women were made and presented to her and are archived in the Boston Public Library. Many of the photographs carry the names of the servicemen and women and a few wrote a heartfelt note to her on the back. Similar wartime efforts have been documented and help understand the support that she and others gave to the war.”
As Raymond Agler, Fine Arts Dealer, writes on his web page:
“Browne’s love of the staged scene found perfect expression in her annual “Wax Works”, the tableau vivants that she produced every summer for 25 years at the Annisquam Sea Fair (which continues to the present, and was the subject of an article in the “New Yorker”). She had an uncanny talent for identifying facial similarities of the famous or infamous in the looks and manners of her neighbors–who were then recruited to pose as wax figures, the subjects ranging from Marat (with a gob of ketchup on his chest) in his bathtub, to Little Miss Muffet.”
July 12, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Now through October 9th at the Cape Ann Museum
Margaret Fitzhugh Browne (1884-1972) was an important member of both the Boston and the Cape Ann communities. Locally, she maintained a studio in Annisquam and was an active member of the North Shore Arts Association and the Gloucester Society of Artists.
The walls of the second floor of the Annisquam Village Hall seemed naked without Margaret Browne’s strikingly beautiful portraits. In addition to paintings borrowed from the Hall, on exhibit at the Cape Ann Museum are Browne’s paintings in the museum’s collections, and paintings borrowed from private collections. A special Margaret Browne walking tour of Annisquam is scheduled for this coming Saturday, July 16th.
Saturday, July 16, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Margaret Fitzhugh Browne’s Annisquam Walking Tour
Take an historical stroll through the artist’s Annisquam neighborhood. Offered in conjunction with the special exhibition, Margaret Fitzhugh Browne: Sixty Years of Portrait Painting. $20 members, $30 nonmembers. Cape Ann Museum Exhibits and Programs
July 12, 2011 § 1 Comment
Sunday night my husband and I tried a new restaurant (new for us, that is), the 7th Wave in Rockport on Tuna Wharf. Our son Alex is cooking there this summer. The hostess was lovely and Talia, one of the owners, greeted us at the front desk. We had made a reservation for 7:00 and were seated immediately on the upper deck, with the stunning view of Rockport Harbor and beyond.
The atmosphere is lively, relaxed, and entirely kid-and family-friendly. The waitstaff was hardworking and alot of fun and our food came along very quickly, no waiting for anything, despite the fact that it was a full house.
Our son was working the grill, so we restricted ourselves to grilled items only. I had the surf (super delicious grilled shrimp) and turf (petite filet, cooked to perfection) and Tom, the fantastic grilled tuna. I am usually more of a chowder and lobster person and can’t wait to go again and try more items on the menu. The lobster rolls and lobster salads passing by our table were heaped high with lobster meat and the chowder looked creamy and hearty. Elaine, mother of Talia, and owner, stopped by our table to say hello and to chat. It’s a family-owned business and the restaurant is named the 7th Wave because of their seven family members. The Kahn family opened their doors in June 2009 and they had their busiest night ever, the Saturday night before we ate dinner there. It was great to hear about their thriving business and we are looking forward to many return visits! The menu and hours of operation are posted on their website. 7th Wave Restaurant, 7 Tuna Wharf, Rockport.
July 3, 2011 § Leave a Comment