Bumblebees, Butterflies, and Old Straw

Once again, it’s the beginning of a new week. The days and weeks just seem to fly by!

EJ and I had an enjoyable weekend. Saturday the weather ranged from misty to a very light rain. It was a good day to stay indoors and do quiet things. EJ, Hannah, Josette, and I did take an afternoon walk down the driveway in the rain. At the bottom, EJ and I discussed where we would put up our wildlife habitat sign, and what sort of post we would hang it on. I told EJ that I don’t know why having the sign is so meaningful to me. He said that  it’s just as meaningful to him.

It rained more during the night, which was good for the plants. Sunday was beautiful. We’ve been enjoying delightfully cool mornings lately–so cool that we wear jackets. In the afternoon, the temperature heats up to the high 70s. It was rather humid Sunday afternoon. However, it’s still not bad. This next weekend temperatures in the 90s are expected. Ugh.

After a peaceful morning drinking coffee, Facebooking, and chatting, we finally stirred ourselves to get something done. We first hung up our wildlife sign. I pulled up a t-post from along the driveway, and EJ pulled up the wooden post holding part of the fencing around the garden. We replaced the wooden post with the t-post. (I have a habit of stealing a post from one place to use in another). We carried the wooden post to the front porch. EJ hammered a nail in with a couple whacks to provide holes to start screwing in screws to hold the sign. The wooden post has a birdless bird house on top. Every time EJ pounded a nail, I heard a loud buzzing from the bird house. I leaned over to look inside the bird house. “There are bees in there!” I warned. I wasn’t sure what kind or how many. I just saw one. To make sure no angry bees swarmed out to sting us, I found a short board and put it over the bird house entrance.

EJ finished attaching the sign, and then we discussed how to get the post with the bird house with bees inside down the hill. At first we lay it on the wheelbarrow so we could run if we got swarmed. But the post was unwieldy so I finally said that I would carry it down. We think EJ is allergic to bees, but I am not. I figured it the bees didn’t come swarming out when EJ hammered, they probably wouldn’t come out when I carefully carried it. EJ carried the tools down.

Josette accompanied us down the hill, and watched us as EJ dug a hole, inserted the post, and pounded the dirt with a sledge-hammer to make it firm.  I think it looks splendid.

After we got our sign up, I went into the garden to weed the raised beds while EJ went into the crawl space under the house to clean the filter. Then he joined me in the garden to weed and thin turnips and radishes. A big bumblebee kept circling the area where the wooden post had been. “Do you think he is confused because his bird house has suddenly disappeared?” I wondered. Poor thing.It must be a shock to find your home gone–if the bird house was his home. We worked with one eye on the bumblebee so we could keep out of his way. Losing his house might have made him angry.

Later, EJ helped me find the pedestal birdbath in the garage. He then went to work on the suburban while I constructed a butterfly puddling station. I didn’t even know there was such a thing until one of my blog readers told me about them a few days ago. I learned that butterflies drink by “puddling”. They sip at shallow puddles of water in mud or sand instead of landing in large open water areas. I made a butterfly puddler by setting up the pedestal birdbath near the big rocks where the butterfly bush blooms later in the summer. I located it where I could see it from the house so I can shoo away Madeline if she gets too interested in it.

Mama Turkey with her babies

Our area is mostly sand and we have an especially good place to get sand at the bottom of our hill. I got our a shovel and an empty kitty litter bucket and walked down the driveway to get that sand. But as I drew closer, I saw a Mama Turkey with her adorable babies nearby. I could just barely see some of the babies in the long grass. I quietly retreated back up the hill. I used the slightly inferior sand at the top of the hill for my puddler instead.

Butterfly puddler

I put some sand in the birdbath and found some flatish rocks to put in there too for the butterflies to rest on. Then I dampened the sand.  I haven’t seen any butterflies on it yet, but I suspect it will take them a while to find it, just as it takes birds a while to find birdhouses and feeders that we set out. I can’t wait!

Little Bear, Kee-Kee, and Hannah

This morning was another delightfully cool morning. After I finished my morning chores, I sat down in my chair with a cup of coffee. Little Bear came to sit on my lap, then Kee-Kee joined him, and then Hannah climbed up on my recliner footstool. I had three animals sitting on me. It was very comfy.  Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Dumping old straw into the compost pile.

Throughout the day, I did various chores–none of them too strenuously. I washed a load of towels and hung them on the clothesline. I washed a few windows, which had gotten very dusty–either from the dust stirred up from my mowing or the dust from the heavy machinery cutting down the trees across the road a couple weeks ago. In the afternoon, I shoveled a wheelbarrow load of the old straw I had raked out of the duck coop at the beginning of Spring. It’s in front of the coop and when it gets wet from the rain or from my sprinklers, it squishes when I walk on it which is rather unpleasant. I dumped the load onto the compost pile. EJ says it makes really good compost. I alternate the old straw with the weeds I pull up from the garden and table scraps.

A butterfly on the milkweed

This afternoon when I walked Hannah down the driveway, I saw several butterflies among the milkweed. One was black and blue, and the others were orange and black. I took a photo of one. It wasn’t a Monarch, but it was beautiful. I like butterflies. I will have to do some research to identify what kind it is. I like learning about the things I see.

Sunflower snacks

I have found many empty stalks on the lilies where the deer have been snacking. I noticed that they have also been enjoying the sunflower plants next to the deck. Several leaves are missing. Our property appears to be a critter cafeteria. I don’t mind sharing with the wildlife.

Well…it’s time to go get the now-dried towels from the clotheslines. After I fold them and put them away, I have to gather eggs and then start preparing our supper.



2 Comments on “Bumblebees, Butterflies, and Old Straw

  1. We had cooler weather this morning as well – just 60 when I went outside and a stiff NE breeze. Glad you got the puddling dish and get a few flat rocks to put by it and the butterflies can sun themselves as well. You will be posting more butterfly pictures for sure.


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