Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dragonfly or Damselfly?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bye-bye Butterfly

  Oh well, I missed the big event.  I knew something was happening to the chrysalis - that the time was drawing near.  It was nearer than thought.  Only an empty shell remains.  So yesterday was the birthday so to speak of the black swallow-tail butterfly, though I did not see one floating around the yard.  Maybe it will come back if there are any goodies for it to feast upon.  Of course the dill that it may have come in on has died but that is okay, I kind of expected that to happen. It was given to me with very few roots. It does feed upon flower nectar.  And the larva stage only lasts 9 - 11 days which I mistakenly thought was 3 weeks.  Better luck next time - get the facts Jack!

  Yesterday though to make up for not witnessing the emerging butterfly, while at a local hardware store I happened to look down to the ground and spot a dragonfly.  It is a beautiful dark blue color, with wings spread out as if resting on a plant of some sort.  It is dehydrated from being on the concrete and in the sun, it now is here and I will post those pictures as soon as I take them.

  So it is a tradeoff!  Good for me  : D

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baby Birds and Baby Bugs

  While weeding last weekend in the front yard a little bird flitted about.  It was incredibly hot and the little raptor was just sitting in the ferns with it's mouth agape.  Presuming that it was hot I provided a small shallow container of water which it did manage to take a few drops of.  I continued weeding as the mother bird, a chickadee chirped and flew here and there landing on the electrical wires, the nearby bushes and trees.  Keeping a close watch was she.  The chick did not even have it's tail feathers fully grown yet.  Here are some clips that I took of it,  I actually could have picked it up in my hands, that's how close I was.

  Also, something is happening to the chrysalis. A definite change - see for yourself in the two bottom pictures..  I don't think it is going to be much longer before the metamorphosis is complete.  I hope that I don't miss it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chrysalis Progress

Here is the little guy - if you click on the picture you can see it very enlarged and there is evidence that changes are happening.  It seems much shorter than it was a few days ago but maybe it's my imagination.  And the picture is sideways - not what I wanted, but you get the idea.
It doesn't appear that much is happening with this small critter though there are some changes.  It appears shorter and the color and texture are different, not as smooth I suppose.  Here are the pictures that were taken just a few moments ago so that you might see for yourself.  After the deluge and thunderstorms we had last night I am surprised that the creature is still there at all, which just speaks to its delicate strength. 

I am hoping to be able to see the completed metamorphosis.  Reading from different sources that the butterfly emerges in about three weeks time.  This usually happens in the morning so that it's wings can dry and become circulated.  I am toying with the idea of throwing a cheesecloth over the entire pot so that I might at least be able to see it, and possibly get some photos before it flies off on it's own.  We'll see.

         Well I guess the pictures will have to wait - I'll try to post them later.  For some reason the program is not responding to my commands. (*&^$  I tried one more time before I logged out and was able to download the pictures, however they are sideways - what is going on #$%&.  oops sorry : D

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Is It a Boy or a Girl? No, It's a Chrysalis!

Camouflaged by it's color and somewhat hidden location.

Here is the chrysalis that just this morning was a brightly colored larva
  At first I thought that maybe some small animal had come and eaten the larva (shown in previous post just three days ago), but upon further inspection I found that it has dramatically changed from just this morning.  It had let go of the cabbage plant stem and was only holding on by the top and bottom and it's middle "legs" were seemingly diminished.  I took a look at it before going out to run some errands around noon time and you could still see the vibrant coloration of it's body - nothing had really changed at that time.  (I should have known that something was happening when the only anchor was top and bottom.)  
   These are pictures of what I saw now known as a chrysalis, the pupa of a butterfly.  This is the third stage of the insect that goes through a complete metamorphosis also known as holometabolism.
  If you click on the bottom picture you can see that even the insect world knows how to use fibers!  You can see the very thin line of silk anchoring this pupa in place on either side.  Just how amazing is Mother Nature?!  (Actually all silk comes from the silk worm.)  

Take a Look at This

"Twists and Turns in the Road" 
  Indigo is one of the more time consuming dye methods and takes patience as you must prepare your fabrics for the dye process, have designs in mind and if necessary stitched or drawn out on your fabric, and  have your dye vat ready to go.  It sounds like much work but it is all well worth the extra effort.  As I have said previously indigo is one of those dyes that is seemingly "magical".  When you first put your beautiful white fabric into the dye vat you are soaking it for only a couple of minutes to achieve a pretty blue color.  When you remove it carefully from the vat it is green - not just any green but a yellowy-green that might be somewhat disappointing but only wait a few seconds as the dye oxidizes the color become more of an emerald green and eventually turns to blue.  With each successive dip it becomes deeper and deeper until you feel that the fabric has the color depth you are looking for.  Above you can see one of the quilts that I made a few years ago using a shibori method and indigo. The variations in color depth show that the more times the fabric is dipped into the vat the deeper the color.
  Have a look at this website, Carol Anne Grotrian has some fabulous quilts to show you.  There are some pretty impressive indigo quilts on the site.  The stitching itself tells the tale of time as well as some of the subject matter she uses as inspiration.  They are well executed with beautiful detail and depth allowing the viewer to have the feeling of being there.  She has captured the Japanese style quite well using shibori methods and indigo.  If you like indigo and shibori you will love this peek into her world.
  Also on her site are other quilts from earlier periods of her work. Please have a look there is much to see.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Another Inspiration!

Black Swallow Tail larva just hanging around my cabbage plant - which the little guy can have!

Same larva, just another view from above capturing its head, I don't think that it is eating the cabbage though.  

Here is the topside of the same larva.  I love the rows of black against the green and yellow.  It is a quite striking pattern.  Do Black Swallow Tail  butterfly larva like cabbage?  I can't say that I blame them if they don't, even if it is good for you.
  So this year having decided to plant cabbage, only because of the color of the foliage as it will not enter this body (bleh), I came across a brightly colored caterpillar.  Into the house I ran (as if the little fellow was going to run away with all those legs!) to grab my camera.
  When I came back outside it was still there, whew!. So snap snap snap, once again mother nature has provided an incredible sample of just what she can do!  Identifying it as a black swallow tail butterfly larvae with my handy dandy high tech library (computer) was very time consuming, it took around twenty point nine five seconds, but I did it.  I was determined, by golly.
  So here are some of the snaps that I took.  Click to enlarge them.  If it is still in the same place I will take some more pictures to see if it is planning to make this spot it's home while it turns into a butterfly, hope so.  Don't know if it needs protection, but mother nature has planned all that out I'm sure.  My plan is to make another quilt using this small insect as my inspiration.


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