Tag Archives: nature

Pipevine swallowtails

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We saw dozens of these butterflies in the arboretum last week.  They were all over the lavender blossoms, and whatever these red flowers are. 

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Apparently, they are like monarchs in that they require a specific kind of plant to lay their eggs on, and which is the only food source for their caterpillars.  In this case, it’s pipevine (big surprise there, I know!)  But what is pipevine?  I had no idea, so I looked it up:

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pic credit:  http://www.maggiesgarden.com/Plant_Profiles/Plant_This/Pipevine/pipevine.html

Pipevine, also known as Dutchman’s Pipe, helps the caterpillars out by making them unpalatable to predators, like milkweed does to monarchs.  Plus, what an awesome looking plant!  I will definitely be growing these when we can. 

 

Natural things.

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We’ve been having some spectacularly weathery weather  here in the flatlands of CA this spring, and it makes me so happy!  I love seeing those big, black clouds piling up on the horizon and building until they take over the sky and rain pours down.  Love it.  I was thinking about why I feel so much happier seeing dark clouds on the horizon rather than the nice cute puffy white ones or clear blue skies with whispy threads of white.  This morning, it came to me:  they remind me of home.  The dark, tall, hulking shapes on the horizon are like the mountains I grew up with, and miss every day.  So seeing those big, black rainclouds in the distance is like being surrounded by friends and family.  Yes, I do consider my mountains friends and family, thank you very much!

We went to the arboretum last week right as a storm front was charging up, and it was so wonderful.  Piles and piles of clouds of every description sailing across the sky, crowding out the blue more and more as the day went on.  Bliss, it was.  Plus, surrounded by nature and all kinds of green, growing things and dozens of butterflies really lifted my spirits.  Sometimes I feel kind of disassociated in the arboretum here, for a few reasons that I won’t go into here (big stuff requiring separate blog posts, really).  It’s close to the freeway, for one thing, and if there’s one thing I despise its the freeway.  I hate the roar of all those cars, hate it with every fiber of my being, and it’s not easy to let the visual beauty of the arboretum distract me from that aural ugliness.  But last week it did, and I had a lot of fun taking pictures and watching Z play.  Image