6/29/12

Summer Colours Week :: BLUE

It’s been a challenge to keep up with blogging this week. I’ve been posting Summer Colours over on the FPOE Team Blog as well. Having a schedule has certainly kept me on my toes.

I have just a few recent blue pictures that I love, of this Silvery Blue Butterfly. Found at the cottage of course, it landed on just about every wild strawberry flower it could find. 

BUTTERFLY BLUE (12)

BUTTERFLY BLUE (17)

Summer Colours Week :: RED

Last Sunday I brought home a colourful bounty from the local farmers' market:

strawberries
rhubarb
blackberries
asparagus
summer squash
garlic scapes

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I spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen happily chopping, cooking and roasting. Ever since I roasted asparagus a few months ago, I vowed I would never boil another vegetable again. Roasting them concentrates and caramelizes their rich flavours in the delectable way that freshly-picked vegetables deserve. Slice them, then drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350F for 15-30 minutes, or until tender.

With the fruit, I wanted to make some sorbet from a recipe I found on Kitchen Vignettes. Three ingredients, and quite simply, more satisfying than store-bought. I finally used my Kitchen-Aid ice cream attachment. Seriously, go buy one!

Inspired by a drink recipe, I made a sage-infused blackberry syrup, and it was heavenly. I was going to make an ice cream with it, but the flavour was so delicate, it was best served with club soda. The sage (from the garden) added something incredible to the blackberry flavour. I have heard some other interesting herb and fruit combinations that I am dying to try. Up next: peaches and rosemary?

Anything interesting at your farmers’ markets?

6/26/12

Summer Colours Week :: YELLOW

My husband spotted these two Swallowtail butterflies during one of our walks at the cottage. They were obviously very distracted because they let us get very close, but I couldn’t figure out what it was they were doing on the ground.

BUTTERLY SWALLOWTAIL

BUTTERLY SWALLOWTAIL

Then yesterday I was reading this Yellow Summer Colours Week post and it was all explained, with photos of four or more Swallowtails on a beach together. It is called a puddle club, in which they gather around puddles and damp areas that are rich in mineral deposits. Thanks, Margie!

6/25/12

Summer Colours Week :: GREEN

At the beginning of every season, Poppytalk invites everyone to share their photographs. For Summer Colours Week, you can add your own photos to their Flickr Pool, where their favourites are selected and shared on Poppytalk’s Blog.

I took these pictures during our week-long visit at the cottage a few weeks ago. We walked down to the last cottage on our road (no one was there) and found dozens of Birch trees on the property. I told you a little story about this piece of land, and the other things we found there. But there is also a story about the Birch trees themselves.

This little peninsula seems so tender and bare, almost foreign compared to the dense thickets and sturdy old trees that grow deeper in the woods. A long time ago (I want to say the forties?), a fire swept through the area and burned this part of forest to the ground.

The first trees to grow back were the Birch trees; rising from the ashes like white ghosts.

BIRCH TREE

BIRCH TREE (4)

BIRCH TREE (6)

6/23/12

Respecting Nature

I was delighted to see that when my uncle cut the grass at the cottage, he mowed around this little patch of Ox-Eye Daisies. They weren’t planted- he said they just appeared, and he decided to leave them. 

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Last week I photographed these chubby little daisies, (below, actually called Wild Chamomile). They were growing by the roadside near where I work.  When I went by the other day, they had mowed the whole thing down, flowers and all, along about a 1/2 mile of greenspace by the road. To say I was disappointed is a huge understatement. I wanted to shout obscenities out the window.

It may seem like a small battle to fight, but can anyone defend this? It seems like a huge waste of resources and money, not to mention the fact that it was part of the local eco-system: food and shelter. And who doesn’t appreciate a patch of wildflowers?

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I know that there are bigger issues in the world, but they often start with the small ones.

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6/19/12

Morning Light

One morning at the cottage, the sun was shining tiny spotlights over the back garden. A lanky-legged skipper was basking in its warm glow, and its rays magnified the shattered rainbows of a small spider web. 

BUTTERFLY SKIPPER STANDING (4)2  SPIDERWEB SHATTERED (12)

HOSTA RAINDROPS (3)

6/13/12

Wordless Wednesday :: Snailwatching

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DSC_0371

Leap,
and the net
will appear.
:::

6/11/12

Hummingbird vs. Butterfly

There are three hummingbird feeders at the cottage, and every day, I would park myself by one of them to watch the action unfold. Each station is fiercely guarded by hummingbird snipers perched in the nearby branches.  Any rivals are hastily escorted out.  One such trespasser happened to be a butterfly.

A Tiger Swallowtail was innocently sharing a drink with a still-oblivious Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Once he noticed the intruder, he retaliated with a series of dive-bombs, sneak attacks and kamikaze acrobatics- anything to chase the butterfly away.

Hummingbird 1

Hummingbird 2

Hummingbird 3

Hummingbird 4

Hummingbird 5

Hummingbird 6

Hummingbird 7 Hummingbird 8

I later set up a tripod, which allowed me to get a bit closer. But this was by far the most hilarious hummingbird moments I was able to capture. Who knew that such delicate creatures could be such aggressive enemies?

6/10/12

Summery Weekend

Catching the tail-end of the poppies again this year… but the pods are just as pretty as the flowers. I am in love with these soft pink poppies, and have yet to see another white one like this in my travels. It is on my list of flowers to plant in our future garden.

It’s been a gorgeous weekend, mostly spent outside. We went for a few walks but it was too hot to spend a lot of time out in the sun. I think I ate an entire box of banana popsicles, and we had a delicious BBQ by the pool. What will we do tomorrow when it goes up to 32*C? We can’t lay around in tank tops and flip-flops on Mondays- there’s work to be done!!! Oh well.

leftover poppy

columbine sandals

neighbourhood cat

6/9/12

After the Rain :: Irises

It has been ritual lately to have a hot, summer-like day, and then a thunderstorm every evening. After one such downpour, we took a short jaunt over to the farm to catch the last light. There were raindrops on everything, but when I realized the Irises were out, I focused on them.

IRIS 1

IRIS purple (1)

IRIS pink

IRIS yellow

6/7/12

Watched Cocoons Never Hatch

Remember my Black Swallowtail Butterfly chrysalids from last August? On an unseasonably warm October day (Thanksgiving), one of them hatched, but the other decided to stay put. I kept it in our screened-in porch for the winter, and since March it’s been in our fridge to prevent it from hatching before the warm weather became consistent.

I brought it back out to the porch a couple of weeks ago, and I was starting to think it might never open. Then a couple of days ago I got an excited phone call from home- it had hatched!!! I would love to have witnessed it firsthand, slowly breaking out of its shell, after being essentially frozen for months. We offered it some slices of fruit for energy but all it wanted was its freedom. So we admired it, perched on our fingers for a few moments, and sent it flying out the door.

Swallowtail (1)

Swallowtail

Swallowtail (2)

We have planted dill and parsley in our herb pots again. It is the preferred food for Swallowtail caterpillars, so hopefully it will entice them to return to our little garden.

6/4/12

Forest Floor Gems

A few little gems from the cottage, including a couple of rare sights to check off my must-see list.

FERN MACRO ANT (5)

LADY SLIPPER

The owner of the cottage at the end of the road has left her property virtually untouched. The landscape is truly magical; it is mostly populated with birch trees, moss and lichen, with a small group of Lady’s Slipper Orchids hidden among the ferns. (I’ll have more pictures of those birch trees.)

:::::

While chasing butterflies and hummingbirds one day, I saw an odd little hybrid of both floating through the garden. It was neither~ I immediately recognized it as a Hummingbird Moth, but it disappeared before I could get a good look at it. A couple of days later I was walking past the same spot and found it resting in one of the flowerbeds. I ran back in to get my camera, but there was really no hurry; when I came by again several hours later it was in the same spot. Asleep.

HUMMINGBIRD MOTH (4)

LICHENSCAPES (5)

6/3/12

Cottage Holiday

On Saturday we returned from the cottage; five days of rest and relaxation. We sat by the water and walked through the woods. I chased butterflies for several hours each day, and we watched hummingbirds dance right outside our window (better than any TV show). Every morning, the coffee was ready for me when I finally woke up, and on the morning of our anniversary we ate French Toast on the dock in our pajamas.

We laughed so well every day. 

I took literally one thousand photos, so be prepared for an onslaught during the next few weeks as I sort through them. I can’t wait to share them with you- I’ll have a few stories along the way too. In the meantime, here are a few favourites.

BUTTERFLY Duskywing

DRAGONFLY WET (5)

CAIT PORTRAIT

LAKESCAPE SUNSET (1)

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