Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gift of the Day

Mountain ash berries are getting ripe

How could I not be grateful for a life that lets me work outdoors? Bringing in laundry yesterday just before a storm..... These humid summer days, seems like nothing wants to dry.....

I had just put out some grungy old oranges to see if the orioles wanted a free lunch when it showed up....A huge butterfly flip-flopping round the yard, fluttering more like a bat or a lame-winged bird than a butterfly.

It was so big, seeming almost too heavy to fly...and so beautiful it gave me cold chills to watch it flapping by.

It would not sit still, and although it flew around me for at least ten minutes while I fed chickens and pea fowl and puttered at my other jobs, the minute I went inside to get the camera it made itself scarce.

However, I vaguely remembered seeing one, once before...just once...up on the top garden. I looked it up when I came in later and, sure enough, it was a giant swallowtail (the name sure fits.)

It flew right around me, so close it almost touched me. I think it came to visit me when I was cutting oranges because the larvae feed on citrus leaves. I was covered with orange juice and probably smelled delightful from the butterfly point of view. Here in the north my stale oranges are probably about as close as it is going to get to anything even remotely citrus.

Lucky me to share the yard with it for a while.

8 comments:

Dani said...

They are so pretty! We get them a lot around here with everyone having citrus trees planted.

joated said...

Wow! At over 6" across that is one large butterfly. If they require citrus, what the heck was it doing this far north?

Terry and Linda said...

Oh! How lucky you were! I have never seen a swallowtail except in books! Lucky, lucky you!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

Susan Rose said...

Before I got to your ID of Giant Swallowtail, I suspected that's what it was. Their wings look like yellow flags waving. So big and so beautiful!

threecollie said...

Dani, I thought of you and FC when I saw it...

joated, it was incredible! So big it almost seemed mechanical. I guess they eat some northern plants as well, including some kinds of ash. I think this one was laying eggs in fact

Linda, it was a thrill! We have two or three other kinds of swallowtails, but this one was spectacular

Susan Rose, it surely made my day!

lisa said...

You get to see some awesome things up on that mountain of yours!

Cathy said...

Oh you lucky ducky! It's been a few years since I"ve seen a giant swallowtail. Wow.

And how right you are:
"How could I not be grateful for a life that lets me work outdoors? "

If you locked me in a windowless environment .. . I wouldn't last long. I have to have green, horizons, breeze, insect sound, trees, critters . . . have to.
Have to.

threecollie said...

Lisa, I felt privileged to share the yard with such a thing....

Cathy, I am the same. I never knew how much I needed the light and the outdoors even when in until we moved up here. Windows everywhere, bright views, no neighbors, so no curtains. Happiness is. When I thought of having to move out if the movie thing went through I was pretty much glad that it didn't. Money isn't everything and fame is fleeting....especially when it is only your house that will get the glory. lol