The night sounds in mid summer change noticably. Earlier, just about dark you could hear lots of frogs in the fish ponds. Now, it's the cicadas, tree frogs, occasional whip-poor-wills. Even if the sounds were recorded, one could tell by listening, just what the season is. You can also tell the season by what's in bloom and the butterflies that are visiting. Above, butterflies are enjoying their mid-morning nectar from the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

The black swallowtail butterfly, also feeding on butterfly weed, is just one of dozens in my garden at present. Swallowtail larvae spend their time on parsley, dill and fennel, eating a leaf or two before pupating into the butterfly you see above. Can you believe it? Ignorant people actually spray these caterpillars to kill them!

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on butterfly weed, or nearby. This one is enjoying life on my rue plant right next to the butterfly weed. Little does the caterpillar realize he, or she, will have to eat voraciously for the rest of the summer to prepare its strength for the long flight to South America before frost, then make it back in the spring in time to lay more eggs. (To see one very tired, pale monarch that barely made the trip last year, see my photo here).

Speaking of butterflies, Ann McCormick qualifies for that description. No, not a caterpillar, a monarch butterfly. She's a fellow-self publisher, following her passion for herbs and cooking and writing prolifically. Her very popular e-newsletter goes out to herbal enthusiasts across the blogosphere, and her tips, recipes and herbal ponderings are popular with her readers. You can read and follow her Seasonal Living newsletters here. Ann also writes a bi-monthly column for The Herb Quarterly magazine.

Ann has a new book, the 10 Must-Have Herbs for Cooks. It's chock full of her great recipes and lots of good information for growing and  harvesting herbs. Ann bills herself as the Herb'n Cowgirl and is a life-long Texas gardener. She lives in  Ft. Worth, which isn't the easiest place in the world to garden. 10 Must-Have Herbs for Cooks is available from Amazon, and at the link above.

Here's one of Ann's recipes for you to try. Dilly Potato Salad (in honor of dill, the Herb of the Year).

10 large red potatoes, quartered
1 1/2 cups fresh snow pea pods
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 T. water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 T vegetable oil
1 T. dried dill weed
1 T. sugar

Combine potatoes in water, bring to a boil, simmer until tender. Blanch snow peas in boiling water for 15 seconds. Drain and rinse immediately in chilled water.

In a small bowl combine the water, white wine vinegar, vegetable oil, dill and sugar, mixing well. Pour over the other ingredients, mixing lightly.  Chill at least an hour before serving. Very tasty!

We're off to Austin, TX, a city not far from Ann's hometown, to see what wonderful gardens we can find - it's one of my favorite cities. Details to come.


Anonymous said...

the pics are beautiful...and the recipe, sounds yummy...gonna be making that one ;)

Lindy said...

Hi, Jim. How right you are about the ignorance issue. People understand and love butterflies but have little or no understanding of caterpillars. Caterpillars look like bugs and get killed. It is blogs such as yours that help to educate.

Gorgeous pictures :)

Thank you, Lindy

ldwoolbright1 said...

Great blog as usual. The butterflies are beautiful