Monthly Archives: February 2012

Looking for a Black Swallowtail Chrysalis

I am looking for a Black Swallowtail chrysalis to film. The last generation of the previous summer’s black swallowtail caterpillars spends the winter in their chrysalis form. Often times the winter chrysalis is a woody brown, not green. The late season caterpillar may pupate under the eaves of a house, along a porch or deck rail, or on a fence. I am hoping that amongst all my many readers, someone has a brown Black Swallowtail chrysalis in their garden.

Black Swallowtail chrysalis, green form

There are several distributors from where butterfly and moth chrysalis may be purchased, but I would prefer to film a Cape Ann specimen in its natural habitat (or at least a Black Swallowtail chyrsalis from the New England area). Please let me know if you think you have the brown form of the Black Swallowtail chrysalis. THANK YOU!!!

Black Swallowtail chrysalis, brown form–image courtesy Google image search

Think Pink!

 Chasing Away the Winter Doldrums

The stem I always manage to snap when unpacking the tulips-

Kay Tompson sings Think Pink! in Funny Face (1957, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire)

Think pink! when you shop for summer clothes.

Think pink! if you want that quel-que chose.

Red is dead, blue is through,

Green’s obscene, brown’s taboo.

And there is not the slightest excuse for plum or puce

—or chartreuse.

Think pink! forget that Dior says black and rust.

Think pink! who cares if the new look has no bust.

Now, I wouldn’t presume to tell a woman

what a woman oughtta think,

But tell her if she’s gotta think: think pink—!

-Music by George Gershwin with Lyrics by Roger Edens

State of Massachusetts Birds

Chris Leahy speaking to a packed house at the Sawyer Free Library.

As is usually the case with Chris, his talk was brilliant and depth of knowledge inspiring. Aren’t we fortunate that he resides in Gloucester and always gives so generoulsy of his time and knowledge. Thanks, too, to the Sawyer Free for hosting this event. Chris gave out to our community twenty-five copies of the beautiful and densely illustrated 60 page seminal report on the avifauna of Massachusetts. If you did not receive a copy last night, it is available to read in convenient online magazine form here: State of the Birds: Documenting Changes in Massachusetts Birdlife. 

From the forward of State of the Birds, written by Edward O. Wilson, University Professor Emeritus in Entomology Harvard University. “

Dear Friends,

It is with tremendous enthusiasm that I mark the release of Mass Audubon’s seminal report on Massachusetts avifauna, State of the Birds 2011. Though our Commonwealth is one of the smallest, most populous states in the union, it is blessed with spectacular landscapes filled with an astonishing biodiversity. The Berkshire Hills in their autumn splendor, Bald Eagles soaring over the Quabbin wilderness, the majesty of the sea at any season from Cape Ann to Cape Cod—these and many other treasures inspire our imagination and lift our spirits. These landscapes are home to birds—birds that can show us, when we watch and listen, how our environment is faring and how it is changing.

…Birds inhabit our myths, appear in our poetry, and inspire our music. Since ancient times, birds have been used in auguries to make critical decisions or predict the future. Now science rather than superstition is interpreting what the birds are telling us. We need to listen carefully.”

Sincerely,

Edward O. Wilson

Antennae for Design

More About Depression Era Quilts ~

Reader Sandra G recently wrote: Thank you for Sharing the Antennae For Design Article and Photo. I recently acquired a Vintage Butterfly Quilt Top, that has me puzzled as to what the fabrics are and dating it ? The Butterflies appear to be very similar to your Photo. I am clueless about this Quilt Top and any help would be greatly appreciated. You have a great Website and Blog!

Depression Era Butterfly Quilt Top

Butterfly Quilt Top Detail 

I asked her to send photos and she did send several. I do think this is a Depression era quilt for several reasons. The red butterfly especially, with the cheery cherry printed over the red and white polka dot fabric, looks very 1930s-1940s. All the butterflies are hand-embroidered, which also leads me believe the top is from the Depression era. It’s really a charming quilt top, and beautifully made. I love the design placement of the butterflies. The colors are so vibrant–the finished quilt will make any room sing. What a great find Sandra G.!

* Note ~ a quilt top is just that; the top only. Quilt tops are a wonderful way to acquire a vintage quilt. For some reason or other, the quilt was never completed. Ideally the quilt top would have been tucked away and stored out of direct sunlight–just waiting for some industrious- type to complete the job! If stored properly, you’ll find the vintage fabrics in their original vibrant colors as sunlight and repeated washings are most damaging to textiles.

Butterfly quilt top hand embroidered detail

The Hidden Beauty of Pollination

“Beauty and seduction, I believe, is nature’s tool for survival, because we will protect what we fall in love with.” –Louie Schwartzberg

Friends who are aware of my butterfly and nature film projects send me the most exquisite images and links to films and videos. Thank you Emily for sharing The Hidden Beauty of Pollination, created by Louis Schwartzberg, award winning photogragher and cinemetagrapher, who has been filming time-lapse flowers and pollinators for over thirty years. Once on youtube, click the icon to see the full screen version, which is without a doubt the best way to view this extraordinary short film (only about 7 minutes in length). The second link leads to a brief talk given by Schwartzberg, also very well worth seeing.

Louie Schwartzberg: The Hidden Beauty of Pollination

The second sentence in Schwartzberg’s quote reminded me of a quote from Baba Dioum, the noted Senegalese poet, “In the end we will conserve only what we will love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”

Why the sudden interest in the Jodrey State Pier

There is beautiful assortment of waterfowl inhabiting the harbor. While there filming the birds and trying to get closer (ever closer!), I’ve become fascinated with the graphic industrial compositions from atop and from below the pier. For example, the above snapshot of Gloucester’s iconic Paint Factory, through the piling’s grid.

Snapshot from Jodrey State Pier

The Jodrey State Pier is named after Everett R. Jodrey, a barber by trade and activist sympathetic to the fishing industry. Jodrey envisioned a changing waterfront and eventually won support to construct a state fish pier in Gloucester. The money was appropriated in 1931; the pier opened for business in 1938.