ORCHIDS, CHRYSALISES AND GROUNDHOG ACTIVITIES!
Orchids are considered a rarity out in the wild, but here in Phippsburg there are some special ones to seek out including this Purple Fringed Orchid. I've seen it near the entrance to the Ridgewell Preserve, if I remember to stop and look at this time of the year. These are the kinds of flowers that we enjoy, but do not disturb. I just wanted to share its beauty with you.

We have had some relief from the heat, but have had some thunderstorms to deal with. We needed the rain, and the plants and animals are much happier these days. I had an unexpected "find" last week that heightened the joy in my life. I stopped to dig a Jack in the Pulpit that was in an area being mowed by the town. I dug it up and when I got it home to plant, I discovered there was an interesting occupant hanging under one of the leaves! It was a butterfly chrysalis! I am now keeping an eye on it since I'm not sure who is resting there. If you keep in touch, I will et you know what butterfly flies from this developing stage. Any ideas?!

Speaking of insects and their metamorphosis, Monarchs are now here and have been laying eggs. My daughter even found a small caterpillar which she fed lots of Milkweed leaves. The caterpillar is almost of a size to make its own chrysalis. Unlike the one to the right, it will be green with gold and black decorations. How long these insects remain in a chrysalis form is specific to the specie. A Monarch emerges as an adult butterfly in 10 days or more.

This week was also successful in the capture of a Groundhog that had been ding on my Swiss Chard and Peas. I baited a Havahart trap with various edibles including Broccoli, Lettuce and Cantalope. It took about a week for the animal to get caught, but I have now released it a remote area where hopefully it will not find another vegetable garden to raid. I hope this animal doesn't have a buddy living under the barn where I think it was hiding. Time will tell. 7/30/11