Two New Things

September 22, 2009 046 (2)
There has been rain. Lots of rain. It has stopped, for now. Let us explore the aftermath. Here is an example of what the showers, make that flooding deluge has left behind. Many fungi are cropping up hither and yon. This one is in the knot garden quatrefoil, among the elfin thyme. But this is not one of the two things mentioned in the title of this post. It is gratuitous macro to get your attention. For the first of the two new things is not particularly photogenic.

September 25, 2009 001 (2)
With the goodness that the recent falling liquid has offered the thirsty plants and soil, there has been badness in the guise of many mosquitoes. So many that working out in the garden, or even taking a leisurely stroll between cloudbursts has been cut short due to biting of any uncovered skin, including cheeks and noses. This was just intolerable. But who came to the rescue, you might wonder? Fellow blogger Silence Dogood from Poor Richard’s Almanac had written a post about bad, bad bugs and in the comment section Bonny Story of Back 2 The Land left a link to this jacket. Click here to see the product. Full disclaimer: I paid full price for this item and have received no contact from this company in any way, shape or form. It was ordered immediately and arrived a couple of days ago.

September 25, 2009 004 (2)
The camera came along as the package was opened and the Little Fly jacket unfolded. The pouch is part of the sleeve so it can be stowed neatly in a backpack for those outdoor types. It was slipped on with a baseball hat to keep the netting away from our face. A size small was ordered, a medium would have been better, but it will work okay since light weight clothing is worn when this jacket would be needed. Time for the test run.

September 25, 2009 012 (2)
For the first time in many weeks, we sat down and remained still in the worst mosquito area in the property, back by ferngully on the veggie bed wall. It was expected that a photo could be snapped of the bad bugs trying to light on our arm and be stymied by the netting. They did not even try to land, and I wonder if the fabric is treated with some kind of repellent. There is a slight odor. Instead the rascals were all over my black yoga pants, trying to stick their pointy nose/mouth through the knitwear. This is my knee in case you were wondering. There was not even the hint of a buzz around my ears or head, a miracle.

September 25, 2009 016 (2)
Relaxing nearby, as usual was our neutered male gray companion, Kitty. The mosquitoes were hovering around him, but did not land. He has extremely thick fur, maybe that is his protection from those blood suckers. The cuffs of the jacket have a nice thumb opening to protect the hands, this is great since normally if not wearing gloves I have had to pull my hands up into my sleeves to keep from being bit there. Kitty gave a questioning sniff at this new getup.

September 25, 2009 029 (2)
We went room to room trying to get a self portrait to show what the jacket looked like on the body. There are lots of mirrors here, not because we want to see ourselves, we don’t at all, but because in a small house mirrors reflect light from windows and give the illusion of more space. None of the shots indoors were satisfactory. However while walking around outside we noticed the reflection in the sliders of the addition and clicked. You can even see the muhly on the hill in the image. It was a hot day, temps in the eighties, and the jacket was a bit too warm to get any gardening done. Normally the garden chores are done quite early in the cool of the morning, as soon as there is enough light to tell a desirable plant from a weed. This jacket will be perfect. No more cotton balls in the ears to keep out those pesky flying devils. No more slapping of arms, neck and face to stop the blood from being drawn out. Success. This ends the story of thing number one.

September 25, 2009 022 (2)
There has been moaning, groaning, whining and general worry about the lack of butterflies here in the Fairegarden this year. Last year’s photo files are full of close ups of various colorful flying visitors partaking of the nectar rich plants grown just for their enjoyment. The plant numbers have been upped and yet there has been scant activity on the larval plants, passionvine, milkweed or carrot family. Until now. The largest stand of self sown bronze fennel has been adopted by many of these juvenile black swallowtail caterpillars, Papilio polyxenes. The Black Swallowtail is found in open fields and woodlands meadows. It frequents clover and flower gardens, always flying near the ground. The eggs are laid on members of the carrot family. There are usually three broods laid per season in the south. This is the first brood that has been noticed with significant numbers of catts this year. The daily attendance check was postponed during the spat of rainy days and as the sky cleared a startling number of these black and orange spikey punk rocker babies were present on many stems. The red/orange spikes show up more brightly right after molting then fade some.

September 25, 2009 024 (2)
Various transformation takes place as the plentiful fennel is munched. There are five instar looks to the black swallowtails. When they first hatch the caterpillars are only around 2mm long, and are black with a white band around their middle. Second and third instar caterpillars look a lot alike, both are black with red/orange spikes, with the white band around their middle. Size range for 2nd instar is about 4.5 to 8 mm, for 3rd instar – 8mm to 13mm (1.3cm). They eat the skins soon after molting, as seen here.

September 25, 2009 020 (2)
Different stages of development were visible on the same plant on the same day. Fourth instar caterpillars look very different from the 2nd and 3rd instar. It has black and white/ pale greenish bands, or stripes all along its body and yellow spots. On early fourth instar, the middle white band can still be seen, but it fades away as the caterpillar grows and stretches its skin. Their size ranges from around 1.3 cm to 2.5 or so cm. When these shots were taken, none had matured to the fifth instar stage of green and black bands with yellow spots along the black bands. They grow to about 4 cm before pupating.

September 25, 2009 026 (2)
Somehow the mother of these catts escaped our keen eye, but giddy with excitement best describes how we feel about these second new things.

August 21, 2008 037 (2)
These are the most plentiful large butterfly that calls our garden home. Many plants of the carrot umbrellifer family are grown just for them, including parsley, fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace and yes, carrots. There are no images of the adult butterflies just yet. This shot from last year’s garden, taken August 21, shows what we hope to see soon in mass quantities. Click here to read Plant It And They Will Come.

Frances

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42 Responses to Two New Things

  1. I hate mosquitoes!!!!!!
    In Toronto, the pollution keeps them away, and in Owen Sound the many breezes move them along. The only times that I notice they are bad is (especially this summer) when the grass doesn’t get cut on a regular basis. I can’t imagine the torture you must go through just to enjoy your garden.
    I hate mosquitoes!!!!!

    Me too, Deborah, me too. It has not been this bad in previous years, or even months here. Cooler temps, sunny days and this jacket will help, it is hoped.
    Frances

  2. gittan says:

    I thought that fungi was an unberella for the thyme, sure looks like it “lol” I hate mosquitoes! We haven’t had many this year, thanks to the dry summer. But I do understand your problem and that jacket looks super!

    Thanks Gittan, doesn’t that look like a perfect spot for the fairies to relax? The jacket is weird and feels weird to have netting over my face, but since it protects the exposed bits of skin, worth it. I never worry about how I look in the garden, only what is comfortable and offers protection from all sorts of things, bites, thorns, poison ivy, sunburn, etc. :-)
    Frances

  3. autumnbelle says:

    Mosquitoes are my no.1 enemy. Oooh, the caterpillar is so beautiful. It changes looks a few times too. Wow, it has turned into a butterfly. I can find eggs and caterpillars in my garden but no loaded chrysalis, only empty shells. I wonder where they hide.

    Hi Autumn Belle, thanks for noticing the caterpillars, so much nicer to think about than the mosquitoes. The butterfly image is from last year, these catts have not pupated yet, but it won’t be long. I read that they don’t form the chrysalis where they eat, no wonder I never see one.
    Frances

  4. tina says:

    I’m going to check out that jacket. The mosquitos are unbearable this year and I can not ever remember it being this bad. I’ve never seen those first instars-I never would’ve known they were swallowtails. So neat!

    Hi Tina, thanks for stopping by. The jacket works, but get a bigger size than you think you will need. It is weird to be able to go sit down and not be swarmed by those bad bugs. It has never been like this before since we have lived here. The Financier and I went out looking for more of the tiny catts and found some more on the parsley nearby. We should have a nice bevy of butterflies soon. Hope they will let their portrait be taken. :-)
    Frances

  5. Joy says:

    That first shot of the beautiful white(mushroom ? fungi?) I loved it !
    Yes .. we know about those suits (husband fishes when he isn’t golfing) and they are miracle suits .. they rate right up there with “space-suits” ? LOL
    That was a great idea taking a picture of what it looks like on Frances .. mosquitoes can literally drive you crazy with that buzz along with THAT bite .. little so and so insects … argh !! haha

    Thanks Joy. This jacket does seem meant for fishermen and women. It really does work even though it is somewhat odd. The buzzing around me ears is so distracting when I need to pay attention to the task at hand, like pruning. Don’t want to make a wrong cut, like a finger or two! :-0
    Frances

  6. Daphne Gould says:

    Oh how I wish I saw that in my garden this year. Not the mosquitoes mind you, but the caterpillars. I saw the eggs on my dill (the plant I grow for the black swallowtail), but I never saw any caterpillars.

    Hi Daphne, maybe you still have time to see some. Ours are at least a month late in showing up for some unknown reason. We just now are seeing them, and I even saw a, as in one, monarch yesterday. Hope lives! :-)
    Frances

  7. ourfriendben says:

    I love the mushroom and the caterpillars, too, Frances, and also wouldn’t have recognized the early instars, so thanks for the education! And what a smart idea to wear a baseball cap under the netting so it’s not right on your face. Thanks for the mention, too! Ironically, I posted a much more low-tech mosquito solution over at Poor Richard’s Almanac this morning. You might want to try it!

    Oops, forgot to say that of course I loved the photo of Kitty checking things out, too. A classic cat pose!

    Hi OFB, my pleasure to link to you, without that post, I would still be fighting off those devils. These are not our normal mosquitoes, but rather Asian tiger ones. They have been in the local news here. I am quite happy to wear the jacket, it really works even if it looks a bit dippy. Thanks says Kitty. There were several very good shots of him, but this one illustrated the hand protection of the jacket cuff. He is a handsome non-brute. :-)
    Frances

  8. I can’t imagine all those mosquitoes! We are so fortunate to not have any. The jacket looks like the right equipment.

    All of a sudden, we have over 20 BST cats on our fennel. We’ve been watching them for days and they are growing like crazy. They need to hurry before it gets too cold! Another one of our Monarchs eclosed yesterday and was flitting about the garden on fresh wings.

    Take care!
    Cameron

    Hi Cameron, you are indeed lucky and thanks. Same thing here with the catts. I have been looking all summer for them and suddenly there are loads. I saw one monarch yesterday too. It is so late, our night temps will be falling fast for the next week or so and probably will warm back up then. There is plenty of food in the garden though, if they can withstand the cold snap.
    Frances

  9. Dave says:

    I think I may need to get Jenny that jacket. We both walk outside and she gets 6-8 bites while I come in with none. Great caterpillar photos!

    Poor Jenny! As weird as the jacket looks, it works. Under normal weather conditions I was not bothered much by the mosquitoes in the past. These are different and all that rain,,,, well you know. Thanks for the kind words, the catts are much easier to capture then the butterflies, they don’t move as fast! :-)
    Frances

  10. Gail says:

    Frances, First you created a run on the Muhly grass and now, this product will be sold out, too! It’s fantastic and will be perfect…I am so tired of spraying poison on my body! I love the early instars and have been looking daily for their return…Maybe now that the rains have stopped there will be a few eggs laid and hatched. Love your photos…You and your macro are working beautifully together! Want to walk today!! gail

    Hi Gail, thanks, this is a product to which I can give an endorsement. Since I refuse to use the poison, this is perfect, if weird looking. The Financier and I found many more little tiny ones on the nearby parsley, a cause for great joy. My camera really likes this lower light level, so different from high summer. Your own shots are looking mighty fine too. :-)
    Frances

  11. wiseacre says:

    I guess there are some advantages in living in the great north woods we don’t consider at times. Mosquitoes in late September are memories. But that jacket looks perfect for spring when the blackflies swarm.

    Hi Wiseacre, you are lucky. But one of the worst mosquito experiences I have ever endured was in PA at a place called Boulder Field. We had our firstborn in a back carrier as we hiked around a bit and suddenly there was an attack by millions of mosquitoes biting any bit of exposed skin, including our faces. We covered the baby with our jackets and ran full speed back to the car, killing the ones that got inside the vehicle on us. What a terrible event! It occurred in early spring.
    Frances

  12. Janet says:

    Hi Frances, that jacket looks pretty interesting. I find I get more mosquito bites in the house than when I am outside. They come in with the dogs and get very hungry in the house.
    Love the view of your hillside in the reflection of the glass. What a lovely view!
    I find the caterpillar info very informative. Did I know they shed their skins as they grew? I don’t remember. Will have to check my fennel for some new residents.

    Hi Janet, thanks. You are being kind about the jacket, but hey, it does work! Mosquitoes have gone inside here too, I think they are on my hair, but no more thanks to the handy dandy jacket. Hope you found some of these guys on your fennel too. :-)
    Frances

  13. Lzyjo says:

    So glad your caterpillars have arrived! Your mosquito jacket looks like a god send. We have a blue billion mushrooms, they’re growing everywhere. I hope you get to enjoy the beautiful weather in your mosquito-free enclosure.

    Hi Lzyjo, thanks. There have been many fairy rings in the lawns around here too. So cool. There are some wonderful cool dry days in our forecast, hope you get some as well. :-)
    Frances

  14. Love the little umbrella-like mushroom. The mosquito jacket had me in sticthes–it’s amazing what they come up with. And you should feature Kitty more often in your blog–he’s gorgeous. I really like gray cats (and black cats and orange cats and… HA!).

    Thanks Monica, it was the first time we ever saw one like that. I love the color. Don’t laugh at my jacket, it works! Kitty is always outside with me and likes to be wherever I am working. Lots of shots get taken of him, but I didn’t know he had a fan club! HA
    Frances

  15. Dawn says:

    Hi France, What a great find! I should get one since the black fly is often referred to as our state bug.
    As always, you have such beautiful photos especially of the catts

    Thanks Dawn. This is a great jacket, although when it is hot outside, it is a little warm to be so covered up. The breeze did come through the netting part of it though. The caterpillars are much more cooperative getting their photo taken, then don’t fly all around like the adults. :-)
    Frances

  16. commonweeder says:

    Frances, What a useful jacket. I have a special veil that fits over a cap to keep the mosquitoes away from my head, but oddly enough, this year when it was so wet I was not much bothered by mosquitoes. Maybe because it was also so cold. We felt there were a lot of butterflies around this year, but the annual huge flock of Monarchs never appeared on our mint field — very mysterious. I think your Kitty must be related to our Holly.

    Thanks Pat. I was going to get one of those hats before I saw this jacket. I might yet, for those very hot days when a jacket is just too much covering. I like that it covers the hands but lets the fingers stick out to take photos too. Maybe the monarchs are just late? Our black swallowtails are very late this year. Your Holly must be a lovely lady. I do think I remember seeing her in your posts and thinking how similar they are.
    Frances

  17. Rose says:

    That is one cool mushroom, Frances! It looks like a little bedside lamp…perhaps for the fairies to read their tales by?
    Great photos of the catts, making me wish even more for a new camera with supermacro:) And thank you for all the information about these creatures. I didn’t know what these first stage catts were when I first saw them, but thanks to you and other observant bloggers, I soon found out. Now I’ve been watching them all at various stages. My fennel is covered with them, too, but I’m wondering whether we’ll see butterflies yet this year? I’m afraid the cold will be here before they transform.

    Hi Rose, thanks. It does look like a boudoir lamp, good one! These shots were taken with the old Canon, no supermacro on it. The catts are much easier to capture, they don’t move much. We are to have a couple of cold nights this week, mid forties. I hope these guys can survive that, or the weather people are wrong.
    Frances

  18. elephant's eye says:

    Planted bronze fennel, for the pleasure of looking at it, and eating it. Now I can hope that some South African butterfly will find this garden FAIRE too.

    Hi Elephant’s Eye, thanks for stopping by. The bronze fennel is a wonderful plant and should be in every garden even without the butterfly larval food aspect of it. The foliage is licorice perfumed, the flowers a bright contrasting yellow to the dark leaves, it seeds about easily but not invasively and adds great structure and texture with its reasonable height. Hope you get some fabulous visitors on yours! :-)
    Frances

  19. dirtynailz says:

    I have one of those jackets – or at least something very similar. I bought it when I was still living in Canada. Seeing yours made me realize that I should dig mine out from whatever box I packed it in. We now live at the edge of a salt marsh and the mosquitoes are voracious, and carry diseases like Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile virus.

    It does sound like you could use that jacket now! Even without being carriers of those diseases, the biting and buzzing drive one mad! :-)
    Frances

  20. Robin Ripley says:

    Gracious! That’s some mosquito heaven to require such protection. You’re a hearty soul!

    Robin

    Hi Robin, so nice to see you, thanks for dropping by. In years past, there has not been the need for this kind of protection. Something is different this year, the rain, the invasion by a new kind of bug, who knows, but we needed this jacket. :-)
    Frances

  21. Catherine says:

    Sorry to hear about the mosquitoes, but glad you found a jacket that will keep you protected. We don’t seem to be bothered by them too much around here.
    We haven’t seen butterflies around much at all this summer, even with all the planting I did for them. I’ve been on the lookout for caterpillars, none of them either. I’m glad you found some there, and will look forward to your butterfly pictures!

    Thanks Catherine. You are lucky to not be bothered, we have not been bothered much in the past either, but this year is different. I felt as you, have been planting specifically for butterflies for quite some time and usually get quite a few visitors. Maybe that will change after seeing so many catts. Hope they will stay still long enough for some images to get snapped. :-)
    Frances

  22. lynnsgarden says:

    Hey, that fungi..a perfect umbrella for the elfs and fairies ;) The second to the last photo of the cat. is amazing, Frances! And that jacket is something I can definitely use as the gnats (more than mosquitos) are terrible here!

    Thanks Lynn, good call on the umbrella, it does seem perfect for the wee folk. Kitty says thanks-meow. I can vouch that this jacket works. Nothing even landed on it, I suspect a repellent of some kind.
    Frances

  23. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Good morning Frances. I have seen people on birding trips with these snet jackets on. They swear by them. Maybe now the rains have come you will have a few more butterflies. We haven’t had many this year either.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. This would be very good for birding, I imagine staying very still in fields, woods or marsh while trying to see the birds would be much easier without the need for constant swatting of bugs away. Hope you get some late visitors too, they are running out of time!
    Frances

  24. Phillip says:

    The mosquitoes have been terrible here. They don’t really bother me that much but they always attack Michael full force. I guess our body chemistry is different. I should get him one of those jackets.

    Hi Phillip, first off, a hearty hug and congrats on winning the photo contest at GGW this month. Your picture from Randy and Jamie’s was by far the best and deserved to be so honored, IMHO. I used to not be bothered by the mosquitoes much while others were eaten alive, always blamed it on the mass quantities of garlic we eat. This year and these bugs are different though. We still eat loads of our home grown garlic, but the mosquitoes are not repelled by it. Poor Michael, the jacket does work. Get a larger size than you think necessary. :-)
    Frances

  25. I have one of those skeeter jackets. They’re useful in cool temperatures, but when it’s really hot out, the jacket is too hot to tolerate. So it’s a hobson’s choice: melt in the heat or get bitten up. I’ve had to use mine a couple of times this summer, and they do work. Mine is slightly different. It lacks the holes for thumbs. It’s oh, so stylish.

    Hi MMD, thanks for chiming in. The jacket is hot when the temps are above 80, but most of my gardening is done in the early morning when it is cooler. It will be interesting to see how it works in the fall. And yes, this is a real fashion statement! HA
    Frances

  26. Joanne says:

    The mushroom is a near perfect shape good shot of the mosquito but how I react so badly to their bites although perhaps not as bad this year but maybe the antibiotics I am still on has helped.
    We seem to have done well for butterflies this year although I haven’t seen that many caterpillar in my garden.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. These are a new kind of mosquito to our area, Asian tigers, and they are vicious. Glad to hear you are tolerating them better with the meds, they are a thorn to gardeners for sure. Glad also that you have a good quantity of butterflies. They certainly add to the joy. :-)
    Frances

  27. joey says:

    “What good are mosquitoes?” I once asked a wise man. “An important link in the food chain!” was his reply. Regardless, I still HATE them! But not this post, Frances, and the many life adventures in your Faire Garden!

    Thanks Joey, you are so sweet my friend. We have watched the swallows swooping in the dusk and cheered them on as we know they are consuming vast quantities of those bad bugs. When we stay out later, the swallows turn into bats, harder to see but the irregular flight patterns help with the ID. Their tummies must be full to bursting here lately. :-)
    Frances

  28. teresa says:

    Very interesting post. I have a similar jacket that we sell at Garden Shoes Online that is just great! I also have just the hood which is awesome when there are gnats that just want to fly into your ears and eyes, and you don’t need to worry about your body, just your head. I don’t know what I used to do when I didn’t have these great products. Your garden is amazing as always. That mushroom looks like a delicate parasol that would keep the sun away from some cute little toad.

    Hi Teresa, thanks. I will have to check out that hood, for when the jacket is too hot. The mushroom was different than the ones we usually see. All are gone now that popped up where the sun is now shining. I sort of miss them. :-)
    Frances

  29. marydelle says:

    Your new outfit against mosquitoes looks perfect. Now you can have peaceful gardening. Good luck to you and the caterpillars. I wish you many butterflies of the beautiful variety that you love.

    Thanks Mary. The catts are being watched daily to see if any have matured to the chrysalis stage. But the research said they don’t do that on the plants they like to eat, so they might be hard to find until they open their wings. But I will be looking. :-)
    Frances

  30. Jen says:

    Excellent! I think I know what I’m getting my dad for Christmas this year. He’s always so hard to buy for. (I’m talking about the jacket, not the caterpillars – though he might enjoy those too!)

    Thanks Jen, it sounds like your dad is a cool dude with a love of the nature and outdoors! :-)
    Frances

  31. nancybond says:

    Your new jacket looks like just the thing, Frances! That’s one mean looking ‘skeeter! Your cat is gorgeous…a Russian Blue? Glad he’s not bothered by the pests. Everything in Faire Garden looks as beautiful as ever, especially the butterflies!

    Thanks Nancy. The skeeters are very aggressive and not put off by my heavy garlic diet either. Kitty is a barn cat, brought home by our son, Gardoctor, who misses him very much. He is a smart, handsome fellow and great company out in the garden. :-)
    Frances

  32. Kanak says:

    What a wonderful repellent in the form of a jacket! We always have a big problem with mosquitoes. I need to use a cream (repellent) while working outside and I also create a ‘smoke-screen’. Very common in these parts. Dry coconut husks, twigs, a handful of leaves are lit. When the fire gets going fresh weeds/grass is placed on top. The insects stay away and one can work in peace.

    Loved the catt shots. And the fungi?! I thought it was one of your amazing garden whimsy…till I read the post!

    Hi Kanak, thanks. I imagine the mosquitoes to be very bad with the monsoons you have. The smoke screen sounds good, and fragrant with the coconut husks. The Financier smokes, not inhales, cigars on the golf course when he is playing to keep the buds away. I once tried that while gardening, but nearly threw up and the smoke got in my eyes! HA :-)
    Frances

  33. I’m going to have to get a mosquito jacket for everyone in my family and for some of my friends, too. Our mosquitoes aren’t too bad despite the rain, but when I visited the coast last weekend they were horrendous and almost ruined the hummingbird show! What a difference in those instars — how consider of the caterpillars to clean up after themselves after molting. And what a lovely mushroom umbrella — too bad it will only keep one toe dry!

    HA Meredith, a great gift for all! I hope to not need to wear this jacket all the time, but it is nice to have it at the ready. This is the first year we have had such a problem here. Those well trained catts, must have gone to finishing school. And one dry toe is better than none. :-)
    Frances

  34. easygardener says:

    Are there matching trousers/pants? Then you would be completely invisible to the sneaky bloodsuckers.
    Typical that your cat is not bothered by mosquitoes – it would interfere with sleeping.

    Hi EG, I didn’t check since my legs are always covered when working out in the garden, with socks pulled over my pants or boots. I have some old ski pants that are waterproof that keeps them at bay as well. As for Kitty, we would hate to see his 23 hours a day of sleep interrupted. :-)
    Frances

  35. Hi Frances

    Is that insect proof garment a Canadian import? It’s just the packaging is in both French and English.

    mosquitos are a pain at the best of times. I admire your determination not to let the little buggers ruin your garden enjoyment!!!

    Very astute observance, Rob! I wondered about the French as well, it is imported from Montreal but made in China. Thanks too for the kind words. Perserverance is one of my better qualities, Taurus you know. :-)
    Frances

  36. Love the mushroom in the thyme – and the boudoir lamp analogy. Those who don’t live with mosquitoes cannot understand how much it changes your life to have them – though your mosquito gear makes you look a little as if you’re up to skulduggery, it’s a small price to pay for sanity.

    The caterpillar education was excellent; now I have a good reason to encourage my scraggly bronze fennel and plant more of whatever the former Umbelliferaceae are called these days.

    Thanks, Pomona. It is quite a getup, but works. We need to gather fennel seeds to scatter about for more stands of it so there will be no fighting over it. It germinates easily.
    Frances

  37. We always slather on Avon’s Skin-So-Soft for dinner under the cherry trees. It keeps the blood-sucking maniacs at bay, but does nothing to quiet their crazy-making whine. I have visions of a dinner party all decked out in these jackets…it would look something like a gathering of aliens, don’t you think?

    Hi Ricki, thanks for your suggestion. We have used that product in the past but these Asian mosquitoes are not deterred by that. As for the dinner party, it would be difficult to eat through that netting, but there are two zippers at the neck that could quickly be opened, bite shoved in, then zipped back up. HA :-)
    Frances

  38. Carol says:

    Love your new garden garb Frances… I can imagine exactly how delighted you were being outside with all the blood suckers about and not one able to touch your protected skin. I love your number two new thing and great that you finally will have your butterflies! Beautiful Portraits! Is there any wonder we all vote for you! Carol

    Oh Carol, you are so sweet, thanks. It was a smug feeling to see the bad guys flying around us and not able to feed from our blood! So far I have seen no black swallowtail adults, but keep looking and waiting. Surely we’ll get a couple from so many catts.
    Frances

  39. Kathleen says:

    That’s quite a garment Frances. If it does the trick, that’s all that matters. I hope it allows you lots more time in the garden. I’m really bowled over by your caterpillar photos tho. They are INCREDIBLE! I’m so glad you’ve found them as I was worried ~ there have been so few butterflies here this year too. They are beautiful in both cat and butterfly stage. I hope they all successfully make the transformation.

    Thanks Kathleen, you’re right, it works and that is the important thing. The discovery of the catts was cause for great joy. Now we are waiting for the butterflies, the weather is turning nippy, hope they can survive those temps. Hope too that your own catts will appear. :-)
    Frances

  40. Little Wing says:

    Your gratuitous macro is divine:) The Black Swallowtails have been the most spotted of the large butterflies in my garden this year. I had one brood on my single Bronze Fennel plant in August.

    Hi Littlewing, thanks and welcome. August is our normal time for broods of the black swallowtails too. Don’t know what happened this year other than wetter than usual.
    Frances

  41. Hi Frances! Thanks for including the link for the jacket. I’m going to order it immediately because I’m tired of whacking mosquitoes!

    And also, thanks for the report on the caterpillar separation. Sometimes those little fellows just need a helping hand! :-)

    Hi Shady, thanks for visiting. The jacket came just in time for our cool weather and not really needing it, but wait until next season you mosquitoes! We will be ready for you! :-)
    Frances

  42. Brian says:

    Congratulations! you deserve it! Your prose and photos are GREAT!, best wishes!

    Thanks so much Brian. I appreciate your support. Hey, congrats for the Kansas win!!!:-)
    Frances

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