Thursday, May 5, 2016

- Weed eaters

Retrospective (6/3/2016)

Patch #126 Monarch caterpillar ...



Stitched from this photo ...



taken a couple of weeks after the original post was written.

Original Post

As I work the land, the phrase "a weed is just a plant you haven't found a use for" often runs through my head.

Case in point, the briars which I used to cut back without mercy are now known to me as dewberries ...


As I love these tart little pops of juiciness, I now leave the briars untouched in order that there might be more next year ...


in spite of the fact that the vines catch around my ankles as I walk through the high grass.

My land management mission today was frost weed discouragement ...


Frost weed is actually a native and not a bad sort in and of itself. Butterflies are fond of the blooms and the foliage is obviously fodder for someone.

However, large stands of frost weed compete with the prairie grasses ...


So these days I cut back the tall stems, giving the grasses a fighting chance, but also enabling the frost weed to send up a second, lower growth in time for flowering ...


Sadly, our milkweed is not nearly weed-eaten enough. Even though the current blooms are swarming with butterflies ...


the large, healthy spreads of foliage like this one are an indicator that there haven't been nearly enough Monarch butterfly caterpillars eating them ...


Still, the Monarchs are not completely absent, as this series of ever-closer shots reveals ...





While I've always left milkweed undisturbed for future Monarch egg-laying, I did wage war against the thistles several years ago. Knowing that eradication is a fool's errand, still I hoped that pulling out the non-native invasives would encourage growth of the Texas thistles so loved by the native birds. Fortunately, that gamble paid off, as most of the current thistle crop is the good kind ... 




But as I walked the path back to the house, my eye was caught by an unfamiliar form: a fluff of feathers with the delicate architecture of its supporting structure revealed ...


a reminder yet again of the fragile balance that governs our existence. 

10 comments:

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

i continue to be amazed at it all....i never really knew

Liz Ackert said...

I can never know enough ... each day, something new. It is humbling.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

and these are all wild? as in simply naturally occuring?

Liz Ackert said...

Yes, wonderful isn't it? And there are so many more that I have yet to identify.

Dana said...

The life of the land....it is endlessly various and compelling. How lucky we are to be a part of it!

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

it's hard, really, to imagine. What a beauty full Earth this is,
to create this diversity...
reminds me again how my kids and i used to speculate about "god"....
all i can really offer, then and still, is that there is Some
Supreme Intelligence that loves Beauty simply for it's own sake,,,
Beauty for nothing but Beauty. There could be brown flowers to
attract brown butterflies, plain, utilitarian shapes and colors, that would do the trick. But...not. Just look at this...o,
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, just look.

Mo Crow said...

ah the ephemerals

Liz Ackert said...

There's a great Walt Wilkins song called "Poetry" where he attributes the beauties around us to "a mighty hand and a wild imagination." Yes indeed.

Liz Ackert said...

Aren't we all?

Liz Ackert said...

It's intoxicating!