Monday, October 19, 2009

Lady Bugs & Butterflies


Monday, October 19, 2009


A crisp, clear morning here on the mountain. Not a cloud in the sky but the thick white ground frost is reminder that the 21 degrees this morning does more than suggest winter is coming. There's something about the heaviness in the air today that is keeping the woodsmoke in a layer above the ground and it's bothering the crows coming into the compost pile, scavenging the remains of last night's New England fish chowder preparation. Why they carry a lone mussel shell 50 yards into the trees to peck out one tiny hinge is beyond me. They need to study Return On Investment a bit more!

My post on climate change was more a series of observations than a firm statement. When you garden like Gail and I do, you have to hone good observation skills to try to keep a step ahead of unknown problems before they materialize. We are not vegetable farmers although we grow some for ourselves. This year's late blight surfaced as small spots on tomatoes and potatoes one day and became dead plants within a week. Our skill at observing was of little use for this problem but often times it works.

During the past year we have noticed that ladybugs and Monarch butterflies are less obvious than before. We are not alone in noticing this as tracking systems have been put in place to help gather information about where these helpers have gone. Take a look at the Lost Ladybug Project or Monarch Butterfly: Journey North Both projects solicit folks like you and me to gather data and try to figure out what is happening. If you have any observations you would like to share, drop us a note.


Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a pick up just went by pulling a duck boat fully camouflaged with cedar boughs. All sorts of hunting seasons are open in Vermont now. The moose and deer are really moving now and I guess I better get going too!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm



2 comments:

Erica Houskeeper said...

Very interesting about the lady bugs. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen many this year.

George Africa said...

I notice various gardening blogs are making mention of the Asian Lady Bug. It is well documented on the Internet but you might not understand why it tries to get into your house for winter sleep or why it "bites". I took the air conditioner out of Alex's room the other day and I wasn't fast enough. Not too many uninvited guests but did you ever try to pick up a lady bug?

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener