Category Archives: nothing to do with plants

A Winter project

Greetings! Once again I am demonstrating what the road to hell is paved with, by not actually updating this blog as intended. We are still here, still growing wildly aggressive vegetable and ornamental gardens, and still occasionally becoming entangled with the local wildlife, as we did last fall:

Swallowtail caterpillar

Late last October (the 28th to be exact, according to the time stamp on my iPhone photo) J discovered a Swallowtail caterpillar in the parsley. A hard frost was bearing down upon us, so J brought the caterpillar in, placed it in a box with sticks and lots of parsley (they will also eat dill), and convinced me to purchase a butterfly cage. We named it Waldo, as in “Where’s Waldo?” because it was a small caterpillar in an enormous box filled with sticks and parsley and we often lost track of where it had wiggled off to.

Our crawly friend spun himself (herself?) into a chrysalis attached to a stick, and we placed it in the cage and hung it in the garage as J read that it was a decent place to overwinter them – away from drafts, but dark and cold enough to mimic what was going on outside.

In late April we brought the cage inside, hung it on the sun porch, and kept watch. Apparently, the chrysalis will lighten up as the butterfly gets closer to hatching, and we noticed that happening about a week ago. After a couple of days of no change, the chrysalis got dark again, which J insisted was a sign the butterfly was about to hatch (and I secretly thought it meant it was dead.)

Turns out, J was right:

Hello gorgeous!

….well, at least about the butterfly getting ready to hatch; turns out we were both wrong because according to the Interwebs, any Black Swallowtails that are more blue than yellow are actually female. She made her appearance yesterday. While Monarchs need a day or two (and some natural sugar, like an orange slice or a cotton ball soaked in sugar water for sustenance) to get their wings under them, Black Swallowtails have no time for such niceties. Walda washed her face, fluttered her wings a couple of times and took off for the rhododendron across the yard. I suspect we will not even get a thank you note, but to be fair, we stashed her in the garage in winter, which is poor host behavior.

The winter of our discontent

We are continuing to be buried in snow, and it’s much too early to start planting seedlings, but I do have something entertaining for you to chase away these dreary winter days.

You may remember almost two years ago, when we had that problem with the crows, and we accused Max of trying to rip his way through the screen into the house?  J put up a sign, which apparently works – our neighbor captured the following one day last summer, but just sent us the video:

Proof the Sign Works!

Granted, that crow is sauntering away, but he does take in the sign and leave.  It makes me laugh every time I see it.


Something to go with all those vegetables

This is a drive-by post because we are not currently doing anything gardening related. We are currently here:

The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs

Doing this:

Barbecue University
Barbecue University

With this guy:

Steve Raichlen, author, television show host, nice guy
Steve Raichlen, author, television show host, nice guy

And Tuesday we made this:

Tandoori lamb ribs with three herb chutney
Tandoori lamb ribs with three herb chutney

So we’ll have lots of ideas about what to serve with all those vegetables. I am going to be blogging about this over on My Family Table, but I can tell you that won’t be as good as the piece by the guy in my class, or the writer for Cooking Light.

Now, we can’t take full credit for those ribs today; we worked with two other classmates to create that masterpiece. (It was tasty, too.) I don’t know about Charlie, but Rob blogs over at Countryside Food Rides . Go give him a read. He writes great stuff, and he’s recently signed up for a CSA and has been posting photos of what he cooks on there. I am fascinated by CSAs. People actually pay for extra vegetables, instead of pulling the shades and shushing the children when I turn up with the third ton of zucchini in a week? Amazing.

Looks good enought to eat

I have lots to say on the garden, now that it’s April, the seedlings are up, and we’ve put seeds in the ground.  However, it’s going to be a bit of time before we begin harvesting anything, so I decided to create a little summer harvest substitution:

You can read all about my current obsession with knit vegetables over on the other blog.  I am currently also working on an ear of corn.  Because why not?  J just shook his head when I bought the book on knitted vegetables (and I got one for knitted fruit, not that I am growing fruit – yet) but I came home yesterday and learned that he had ordered more tractor parts.  I would like to state for the record that my yarn takes up way less room – one small set of drawers in the family room.  Also, nobody ever exclaims how cute tractor parts are.  I’m just saying.