Friday, August 12, 2011

Chasing butterflies

The wind is up here this morning, banging around the house and threatening to rip the front door out of my hand when I opened it to see what was going on. But it’s cool and the air feels dry even though thunderstorms are in the forecast.

The great GOP debate, described as “testy,” was last night. Ho hum. And the state fair is in full swing. Way too many people.

It's beginning to feel ever so slightly like fall, although the intensity of the green around here hasn't abated. Golden rod is just on the edge of bloom, however, and sunflowers and asters are budding. Won't be long before the countryside bursts into purple and gold.

I spent some time yesterday afternoon chasing butterflies, all in all a more productive venture than either listening to politicians squabble or eating fried butter on a stick. I'm not kidding.

Fried butter on a stick is the culinary innovation of this year's state fair, honoring the 100th anniversary of the butter cow. You have to be an Iowan to understand butter cow, perhaps to eat fried butter on a stuck, too (actually it's a thin slab of butter dipped in a thick batter that when deep-fried for three minutes puffs up into something that, when glazed,  reportedly tastes like a greasy cinnamon roll.

This guy, a black swallowtail, was really anxious to pose yesterday. Isn't he beautiful (he could, of course, be a she; who can tell)?

Yellow (or "tiger") swallowtails also were flitting around, but moved too fast for me. And I spotted what may have been a monarch, although it could have been an admiral, too --- I just caught a glimpse of color and wing markings before it flitted into the woods.

I'll keep stalking butterflies, quite a trick when you have a camera lense with limited capabilities and have to figure out how to get real close to take a meaningful shot, and keep you updated.

This spot of brilliant color caught my eye as I turned east on the lakeside trail near the southwest inlet. It's an end-of-season effort by a variety of double fringed daylilly that appears in several locations around the lake. Not native, of course, but how did they get here?

Not as aggressive as roadside daylilies, they may have been planted, could have been carried in by critters or might even be remnants of farmstead gardens perhaps on park ground before Red Haw was created in the 1930s. Hard to tell.
More people need to spend more time chasing butterflies. It's very soothing.

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