Sunday, June 19, 2011

Becoming One With Nature

We went to the beach a couple of weeks ago.  The wind had been blowing like crazy for days, so the surf was rough.  There were jellyfish washing up on the beach, as was seaweed and the small little reef fish that call the seaweed home before the grow up and move on to the reefs.  The large surf was also causing problems for the land dwellers as well.  We find a ghost crab washing around just at the water's edge.  They live in holes they dig in the sand and are not swimmers, so he was not a very happy crab (I guess you could say he was a little crabby-sorry, just could let that one go by!).  He was still alive, so we carried him up out of the surf zone and placed him in a dune area.  He was a little worse for wear so he did not put up much of a fight.  I remember catching these guys on the beaches of Alabama when we were kids.  Since they can pinch pretty hard, we didn't usually pick up ones this large.  This one did latch on to my finger, but it was at the nail and he was not pinching very hard.  The girls really enjoyed seeing the crab up close.   

About two weeks ago the girls come running into the house yelling for me to look at what they had found in Allison's garden.  In their hands they held five caterpillars.  They had found them munching on the parsley.  I first thought, that the girls had pulled them off the parsley because they didn't want the caterpillars eating it, but they informed me that they wanted to put them in a container and watch them grow and change into butterflies.  So they set them up in our little ladybug habitat, and we looked them up online to find out what they were.  Turns out they are black swallowtail butterflies.  Anyway, for the next week we picked parsley from the garden to feed the caterpillars and watched them grow.........and grow.....and grow!  Those things quadrupled in size and they did it fast.  Allison must be growing some healthy parsley.  Of the five caterpillars, four have survived to morph into their chrysalis.  We have moved their habitat into a butterfly enclosure and are now anxious awaiting the arrival of butterflies. 

Allison and I got out and enlarged her garden recently (just before the discovery of the caterpillars).  She was just itching to plant more "stuff", and she had run out of room.  She immediately got more plants and seeds and proceeded to fill up all the new space too.  She has been getting quite a few tomatoes, lots of parsley, a few strawberries and a few green peppers.  She finally got a green pepper to grow bigger than a quarter and was so excited.  We had to cover the strawberry plant, because apparently strawberries are irresistible to the local wildlife.  Tomatoes are too, but there are more of them, so they stand a better chance of getting into the house to be eaten by the human consumers.  Her newest plants are beans and jalapeno peppers.  Wonder if the wildlife will like the jalapeno peppers?     

1 comment:

  1. Cool photos and awesome gardening skills Alison.