Painted Turtle and Spider

moon phase Week of 06/26/2005 Favorable days to plant root crops.

Here in Wisconsin, when the temperature rises above 90 degrees, it can sometimes seem unbearable. Add to that heat a 70 to 80 percent humidity level, and it won't take you much to perspire. My hours at the drawing table are now in the early morning and late afternoon. Mid-day hours are up to 95 degrees—or more—and I just can't take the chance of getting sweat on the paper!

Painted Turtle and Spider

I enjoy working in the gardens when it's hot; it feels good to have moisture running down my chest and arms. Carrying five-gallon pails of water from the stream to the garden is hard work, but pays off in big dividends. For me, it's all part of my organic garden.

Accompanying the hot weather are large numbers of newly-hatched insects. I see them in the yard, hear them from the porch, and at night I see the unfortunate ones collect upon my windshield at a rapid pace. All sorts of insects are now appearing, like May flies, dragonflies, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers and spiders. Mosquitos are about, but so far have not made things too uncomfortable. A few more butterflies have been showing up. I'm seeing Fritillaries and a few Viceroys, although Monarchs are still a rare sight. I've also seen some yellow swallow-tailed butterflies, but no black ones yet.

Many insects gather over the river and ponds, providing an abundance of food for birds like swallows, swifts, and flycatchers. The pond is coming alive with tadpoles and lots of aquatic insects—water beetles, water striders, Damselflies. Near the edge of the water, Spiders of all sorts are busily spinning webs to catch food for their young.

Today I watched a young muskrat swim across the pond, passing a small painted turtle who was basking in the morning sun. The turtle has been taking advantage of this plentiful time by eating his fair share of insects.

The warm conditions have brought out some of the larger moths. At night a beautiful Luna moth appears, fluttering by the light in the window. Friends have reported seeing colorful Cecropia and Polyphemous moths just recently. Hawks moths, too, are showing up now in greater numbers.

Of course, the fireflies are putting on a wonderful show each night, as well. At twilight, as they arrive, I hear the songs of two whip-poor-wills, who themselves enjoy the abundance of flying insects. Their serenade makes my evening complete.

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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