Snakes, Moths & Honey

moon phase Week of 08/16/2009 Best time for clearing woodlots and fence rows.

Beekeepers removing honeycombs Beekeepers removing honeycombs Ah, a rainy day on Friday, time to get some things done indoors. A gentle but steady rain and some laidback music slows my anticipation to be outside. Sometimes it's hard to slow down when you spend every day working outside. For me, the rain is Nature's way of telling me it's ok to set a slower pace and go inside for a while.

I thought I'd tidy up the house, and a good place to start was the breakfast dishes from an hour ago. To my surprise, a leftover slice of honeydew melon was already looking good to some black ants. Brown snake Brown snake The ants really don't bother me much, but I usually don't see them in the house. Maybe because of the rain they thought they would do their foraging indoors today. I thought it was interesting how they all gathered at the sweet center of the melon. I think that of all the living beings on Earth, ants have the most genetic and instinctive knowledge of the natural world. Honeybees, too, can teach us a lot about what is expected of us if we are to fit in with all that is living.

Standing at the sink, I thought about the two beekeepers yesterday as they gathered honey in the morning sun. Hummingbird moth in the Purple Phlox Hummingbird moth in the Purple Phlox For some, it's already time to harvest the bounty of summer. Greg Welsh at Turkey Ridge organic apple orchards told me that they have already started to pick their early season apples. There is sure to be some apple blossom honey in his neck of the Kickapoo Valley.

After a cool day with rain, the sunshine felt good, and I could tell it was going to be hot and humid. My morning walk took me past a stacked row of firewood that I should have covered from the rain. A small ten-inch long brown snake was curled up on top of a log, and nearly blended right in with the grayish brown wood. Hummingbird moth going for nectar Hummingbird moth going for nectar These are harmless little snakes, and I picked him up for a closer look, then laid him back down on his sunning log. I never discourage people from picking up snakes, frogs, toads and lizards, if you know what they are and they don't have a poisonous bite. It's important though to return them to the same place where you found them. Snakes have a very limited home territory that they become very familiar with. Many generations of snakes have lived in the same territory, and they know where their winter dens are.

The summer's timely rain and sunny days have nurtured the flower gardens, and they are now nurturing my soul. Milbert's Tortoiseshell butterfly on zinnias Milbert's Tortoiseshell butterfly on zinnias All the colors of the rainbow greet me as I step outside each morning, just as I planned it.

The tall, purple phlox has started to bloom and it's a time I look forward to every summer. The large lavender flower tops, when in a large group, are a beautiful sight to behold. When the phlox is in bloom I know the Hummingbird moths will begin to appear. Most members of the Hawk moth family seem to prefer to feed in the evenings and after sunset. The large, 2-1/2 inch Hummingbird moth may be seen at the flowerbeds all day. They really do look like tiny little hummingbirds, with their green bodies and whirring wings. When the phlox is in bloom, it's my favorite place to watch Hawk moths. There is nothing as sweet as what is offered by the lovely flowers—sweet nectar, sweet beauty, sweet aroma, and always a sweet moment.

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Nicole from from California on August 20, 2009 at 06:07:07 PM
My son and I really enjoyed the pictures of the hummingbird moth. That is such a cool looking moth!
Wendy from on August 20, 2009 at 03:10:36 PM
Love the new format, and always love the sweet stories about nature. Facinating!
Carol from from N.Y. on August 20, 2009 at 01:44:59 PM
I look forward to your "down natures trail" & enjoy the beautiful photo's ea. time. Thanks for sharing.
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