There are things that upset me that I am having a difficult time letting go.
One is the destruction of the library in Alexandria. The Museum, or Royal Library, of Alexandria was founded by Ptolemy in 283 BC. I realize that was a very long time ago, but the Museum was an incredible place–or so I hear. It was a place of study which included lecture areas, gardens, a zoo, and shrines for each of the nine muses as well as the Library itself. It has been estimated that at one time the Library of Alexandria held over half a million documents from Assyria, Greece, Persia, Egypt, India and many other nations. Over 100 scholars lived at the Museum full time to perform research, write, lecture or translate and copy documents. The library was so large it actually had another branch or “daughter” library at the Temple of Serapis. The loss of the ancient world’s single greatest archive of knowledge has been lamented for ages. I lament it too. Can you imagine the incredible history and knowledge that was lost when it burned?
The other upsetting thing is something I read on Facebook a few weeks ago. “The Herb Guy” shared a post about the importance of Milkweed to Monarch butterflies. Monarchs are incredible. In the late-summer/autumn they make an epic journey from northern and central United States and southern Canada to Florida and Mexico. Monarch caterpillars ONLY eat milkweed which provides all the nourishment the monarch needs to transform from a caterpillar into the adult butterfly. But Milkweed plants are rapidly disappearing, due to the loss of habitat stemming from land development and the widespread spraying of weed killer on the fields where they live.
So what so upsetting about The Herb Guy’s post? One person commented that in her county–she didn’t say in what state–Milkweed is considered a noxious weed and is outlawed. If Milkweed is found on a person’s property, that person is fined. That’s just insane.
We have a hill full of Milkweed growing on our property. We encourage it to grow here. In the late summer/autumn when the seed pods open, I take the pods and scatter the seeds around. I love to watch the Monarchs flittering around, and hope we get more and more. We also notice that a lot of bees are attracted to Milkweed flowers. That is also good.
Milkweed is a good plant, but we have a plant called leafy spurge growing on our property. I didn’t realize this until recently, but it is a very invasive plant. It is on the list of Top 20 Invasive Plants for Northwest Michigan. That’s sort of like the FBIs 10 Most Wanted Criminals List, but for plants. Leafy spurge replaces native plants in high-quality natural areas, which in turn reduces critical food resources for birds, butterflies, and other wild creatures. Leafy spurge’s extensive root system allows it to spread quickly and take much of the available water and nutrients needed by native plants. Also, leafy spurge can secrete toxins into the soil that slow or stop native plant growth.
Yikes! I Boo! Hiss! I think we are going to have to take steps to get rid of it, although it sounds like a difficult task. In case you are wondering, leafy spurge is NOT the same as Milkweed plants!!!
Maybe the Leafy Spurge Hawkmoths can help us. I actually read the other day that leafy spurge has been such a problem in Canada that they brought in Hawkmoths to control them. As EJ and I walked down the driveway last weekend, we saw our leafy spurge plants filled with Hawkmoth caterpillars. They ranged in size from tiny caterpillars that looked like snippets of black embroidery thread to large colorful caterpillars the size of green beans. We tried to count the number of caterpillars we found on each plant. (The photo at the top of this post shows many of the caterpillars on the leafy spurge. The photo just shows the big ones. The tiny ones are hard to see. These caterpillars are eating the spurge plants bare. Go caterpillars!
Annie, our outside cat, has been very lonely and sad since Madeline disappeared. She walks around crying, which makes me sad. So we decided to find her some companions. A friend told me about the Michigan Barn Cat Program, in which homes are found for feral cats. The cats must be neutered/spayed before being given away. We are adopting two of them. They will arrive on Sunday.