I know it’s been almost a month since I last posted (shameful), but believe me I’m full of good excuses! The issue isn’t my day job, although that’s been crazy busy. The problem is I usually set aside time in the early evening to devote to my blog, and tackle all my work deadlines during conventional office hours. But the problem is little emergencies keep popping up during the day, which means I’m finishing up work in the evening, and then… well, let’s face it. Law & Order isn’t going to watch itself. Plus Gene’s been calling me a computer hog lately, so I try not to be on it past 8.
What sort of emergencies you ask? Here’s a perfect example:
That right there is the first Monarch of the season, which I spotted out the window just a few days ago. We have plenty of flowers to offer them, about 75% of which are dandelions since the geese are seriously slacking off in the landscaping department. It doesn’t help that I can’t mow the lawn until Gene fixes the riding mower. I was stoked about the first mow of the year – if ever there was a sign summer has arrived, that’s it. I wasn’t even on it for 30 minutes before I managed to break it – a new record.
But back to the arrival of the Monarchs – it was an emergency because the milkweed I bought for them to deposit their eggs on was still in pots on the porch.
Being as committed to the plight of the Monarchs as I am, I figured I’d make my impending deadline Future Andie’s problem, and go out and plant the milkweed. And since I was already out there, I planted the rest of the flowers I’d brought back from the nursery by my parent’s house. I’m efficient like that.
Or here’s another emergency example, also Monarch related. Gene needed a ride over to Alan and Jennifer’s so he could pick up Craney – which, by the way, now has magnetic signage! It came in the mail today, and Gene insists on calling it “advertising” rather than “accessories”. Potato, Potahto. Craney looks amazing.
Jennifer and I got to talking, and we went over to check her milkweed for eggs – and found some!
So even though I had only anticipated a quick drop off/turn around/get back to work situation, we ended up harvesting eggs for the Monarch Sanctuary and digging up milkweed plants to grow in it. Then of course once I got home I had to get the eggs situated on the porch until they’re closer to hatching, plant the milkweed in pots, and set up the Sanctuary itself. Three hours later… back to work!
I am happy to report that so far the Hummingbird Sanctuary has been a success. The record is 8 so far, and they tend to swarm the feeders around dawn and dusk. I’ve been refilling the feeders at least twice a day, and they’re feasting on the flowers that have bloomed too. And we have at least one nest somewhere close! One of the hummingbirds was flying around with a huge wad of spider web, which is what they use as the ‘glue’ that holds their nests together. I can’t decide if that’s an incredible feat of ingenuity to marvel at or totally shady that they destroy a spider’s hard work to build their own house.
I’ve also managed to attract an assortment of Sphinx moths, which I’m super excited about.
The Big Poplar Sphinx Moth has been the largest so far – he was about the size of the palm of my hand and hung around for a few days. I can’t wait to see what the Nighttime Pollinator Station brings in once it starts blooming! It consists of all the moonflowers I started in the basement, then spent about an hour untangling all the vines so I could plant. There’s also a selection of white flowers that bloom in the evening, or will theoretically once it stops dropping into the 30s at night. (On a related note – it’s June, Mother Nature. Pay attention to the calendar. I’d also like to invite anyone who believes global warming is an imminent threat to come visit at night. Spoiler alert: pack your coat.)
The pigs are happy about the cooler temps though, it helps keeps the flies down. Once summer really kicks in gear – or I guess I should say “if,” we’ll move them further from the house. But for now, they absolutely love rampaging around the pasture. We up-sized both their food and water troughs, which they take full advantage of by lounging in.