That’s not my newly planted milkweed, but a forsythia bush where this Mourning Cloak butterfly is soaking up the quiet morning sun.
I did a lot of “B” things today all before noon, which leaves me the rest of the day to enjoy in the garden.
First of all, I went to a butterfly festival. I mean, how could I NOT, right?
It was the North County Monarch Butterfly Festival in San Marcos, which isn’t too terribly far from me, but it’s inland and since we’re having a heatwave, I thought I’d go early. It was 95 degrees at 10:00 a.m. That’s HOT!
The North County Monarch Butterfly Festival featured butterfly-inspired art, crafts, clothing, gardening, live music, and food. I really wish the kids were here because it was the perfect fun and educational event for children.
Here’s what the event website had to say: The fate of the iconic Western monarch butterfly is tied inextricably to the health of the planet, and that means our fate as human beings is informed by the same forces that impact the monarchs. Simply put, if monarch butterflies thrive, so do we, along with all of the other inhabitants of the monarch universe; conversely, if the monarchs can’t thrive in this universe, then human beings can’t either.
This event – hopefully the first of many – will feature any and all aspects of the monarch universe, from monarch-inspired arts and crafts to jewelry, clothing, biology, pollinator gardening, milkweed and nectar plant propagation and cultivating, to discussions and presentations on a wide range of subjects, from conservation and migration to habitat restoration and creation, from diseases and predators to native plants vs tropical, from children’s activities to seed exchange.
I held a snake too, from the San Diego Herpetological Society, the same organization that helped me identify that Great Basin lizard that visited for a while last year. I’m not 100% sure what snakes and lizards have to do with butterflies, but me and all the other children loved it. The snake’s name is Matt. Isn’t he handsome?
All kinds of milkweed; I purchased the native variety. I also got a variety of milkweed called Hairy Balls, again, how could I NOT? Gomphocarpus physocarpus, commonly known as hairy balls, is a species of milkweed native to southeast Africa, but it has been widely naturalized. It is often used as an ornamental plant.
Yummy smelling soaps and lip balms. Lovely!
After that I drove back to the coast where it was noticeably cooler and stopped by the Bans Off Our Bodies rally gathering at our local train station. I was happy to see an awesome and exuberant crowd of like-minded folks while I took a few photos.
Bans Off Our Bodies
Blocks and blocks of people all the way to the beach! This is in front of Spin Records.
I like to take photos of the signs, all with their permission, by the way.
A little butterfly bliss and a show of support for reproductive rights sounds like a great day to me, don’t you agree? Time to plant that milkweed!
I thought about this: I’m lucky enough to experience a great deal of butterfly interactions; a continual source of joy and delight.
No photographic evidence exists to prove I’m telling the truth, but yesterday, as I was planting a bunch of California natives, a mourning cloak butterfly was fluttering all around me and then sat on my arm for about two minutes.
I tried to get to my phone to document this magic, but I couldn’t, so you’ll have to believe me. I guess she really really approved the locations where I planted the coffee berry and manzanitas!
This planting experience was a team effort: my son was on the phone with me when I was at the nursery having done the research about which specific plants to buy, and he also determined where each one should be planted. It’s not as much fun as having him here in real life. but we had a good time.
She came back today, blocking my way on the steps, so I was able to finally snap a photo.
Me and my shadow and her own shadow!
Gale force winds, tree limbs down in the garden, neighbor’s pool toys are in my yard, umbrellas broken, lights flickering, and so much RAIN I can’t go outside because it’s dangerous.
This is a perfect time to share a photo gallery of this sweet little yellow butterfly who flirted with me on Sunday afternoon.
I can’t figure out if it’s a Sleepy Orange or Southern Dogface or California Dogface, Little Yellow, Southwestern Cloudless Sulphur, or Jamaican Yellow.
I didn’t know there were so many yellow butterflies that look quite similar! (iNaturalist Butterflies of San Diego County).
Anyway, here’s a bit of sunshine on a rainy day. I hope all butterflies and birds and coyotes and bobcats stay safe and dry.
Look at this orange butterfly feasting on an orange zinnia!
I’ve never seen it before and I was so excited to learn this is a Gulf Fritillary or passion butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) They’re “longwing butterflies”, which have long, narrow wings compared to other butterflies. Gulf Fritillary is the only member of genus Agraulis. From Wiki.
An orange butterfly represents passion. An orange butterfly sighting can remind us to stay focused on or follow through with a plan or project until it’s complete.
The orange butterfly is associated with the sun, life, and consciousness. Spotting an orange colored butterfly can signify that a new dawn of healing and heart transformation is about to occur for someone who has been depressed or anxious.
Orange colored butterflies have also been associated with courtesy, friendliness, and liveliness.
Seeing an orange butterfly reminds us to stay positive.
Having an orange butterfly land on you or fly near you means that joy will soon come into your life in some unexpexted way.
An orange butterfly can also encourage us to be more socialble or outgoing, or seeing one can indicate that a visitor will soon arrive, or an invitation to a social event is coming–especially if the butterfly is flying inside or around the home.
Many believe that an orange butterfly represent rebirth. Seeing one often leads to a shift in perspective on something. https://www.butterflyinsight.com/orange-butterfly-color-meaning-and-myths.html
That’s me, chasing butterflies with a camera.
For days, I’ve been trying to capture a photo of this elusive angelic Western Tiger Swallowtail, but every single time I came close, he fluttered out of reach, teasing me. But I’m patient; I had a feeling he’d return and he did!
After chasing him/her for a week, I was talking to it, “You little bitch, stop moving around.” Maybe it knew I was on my last nerve. If any neighbors were out and about, I’m sure they thought I was talking to myself, but I wasn’t. I was talking to a BUTTERFLY. That makes all the diff.
It’s so hot this morning, I was allowed a brief moment to showcase the magnificence while feasting on the nectar of late summer flowers.
The photos aren’t the greatest; it’s hard to focus and run at the same time, but I think it captures a certain butterfly essence, the joie de vivre.
That was today, actually.
It was around noon. I was in the garden, watering because it’s uncomfortably hot here in SoCal. Not as bad as Paris, cos there’s still a bit of an ocean breeze, but HOT.
A pretty orange and black spotted Monarch butterfly began to follow the spray of water from the hose, and she and I had a little chat.
Well, she listened while I talked to her.
“Hey, pretty girl, are you thirsty?”
By way of response, she floated to the ground and folded up her wings like a beautiful fan. Or like pressed together hands in namaste.
“Are you OK?” “Are you injured anywhere?” At the same time I wondered how in the world I could take a butterfly to the emergency vet.
I turned off the water and crouched down to get a closer look.
“What do you need? Are you having a little rest?”
Again, no response, but I inched closer and slowly sat down, hardly daring to breathe.
We stayed that way for a moment or two, each of us motionless.
“Can I touch you?” I asked. “I won’t hurt your wings, I promise.”
(By the way, the powder on the wings of a butterfly or moth is actually tiny scales made from modified hairs, and it doesn’t actually damage them if they’re touched.)
Ever so tentatively I reached out my right hand and ever so gently touched the charcoal gray folded up underside of her fan wings, and then I simply sat still as a statue.
After a few seconds in which time stopped, she opened her wings once, twice, three times, and then lifted off the ground and fluttered away.
Thank you” I whispered, and held my heart to keep the love from spilling out.
It was nothing short of an amazing encounter, don’t you agree? One of my most enchanting and enchanted days.
Rain of any kind in SoCal is something to be grateful for because for a brief moment, we can enjoy green and lush hills and gardens.
Now that we’re back to sunshiny blue skies again, I took pics of the lawn ‘cos it’ll never look this velvety smooth again.
Even though I have the flu or some version of it in spite of a flu shot, no way would I miss spending an entire day working in the garden. Dirty hands, twigs in my hair, muddy shoes. HEAVENLY.
But I wasn’t alone.
This happy gangsta butterfly not only followed me everywhere I was, but sat on my head for a few marvelous seconds, too! It’s too bad I couldn’t snap a pic but it was impossible, so you’ll have to trust me. Fluttering and flapping wings all around my face and head. And listen to the birds! So much joy.
Was there a message or a lesson the butterfly was attempting to convey? Or maybe just a shared joie de vivre?
We can coexist in peace, my friendly Mourning Cloak butterfly.
Yes, s/he was upside down or maybe I was upside down? It’s all in your perspective. Totally LOVING the apple blossoms.
Knowing that our rains are brief, all the plants put their best foot forward. The rosemary is a riot of blue flowers and bees.
Bees, so many bees!
Happy all planets direct and Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse tonight!
Well, maybe butterflies do.
I stalked this Western Tiger Swallowtail like a seasoned paparazzi from TMZ.
Easy on the eyes for your Sunday enjoyment.
Perhaps it’s because this is the first day of autumn that coincides with my Angel Boy’s half birthday (we always celebrate) or because he really has left the nest for real this time with his first tenure track professorship (at least on the west coast so we’re closer) but I’m feeling a sense of change along with the the season.
Even in SoCal the weather will eventually morph into a winter of sorts and maybe that’s why this butterfly was in a weakened condition, because there’s no way to tell how the injury occurred, but she was flying around me and then came to rest on the lawn right next to my new raised bed where I was playing around with the sand dolllars from yesterday’s post.
How do you help an injured butterfly? Can I pick her up and take her to the vet? Can you superglue the torn wing? (I don’t think so) but her ability to still lift off and float on the breeze made me think of her metaphorically.
In fact, it’s a day full of metaphors with my son flying off and away (literally on an airplane as I’m typing this) to become a fully fledged adult with a grown up job and a boatload of responsibility.
But then this butterfly visited me and I’m trying to decipher her deeper message, although maybe a butterfly is just a butterfly.
Maybe she just needed a safe place to rest and heal.
And just like that, she flew away, carried off by the balmy breezes of another SoCal heat wave.
And thanks to a smarter blogger than me who writes over at https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/ (you need to follow him!) his brilliant comment referenced the “butterfly effect. According to Wiki, it’s a popular hypothetical example of chaos theory which illustrates how small initial differences may lead to large unforeseen consequences over time.
And he doesn’t know it, but this is SO TRUE. As I keep saying, all will be revealed…
Stay safe, my friends, and Happy Autumnal Equinox to everyone!