Unexpected Guests

When packing up for a short paddling trip in mid-September I noticed a monarch chrysalis on the side of my canoe. I carefully removed it and using masking tape attached it to a wire suspended from my house. Weeks passed and other monarchs matured and emerged but this chrysalis turned very dark, then faded to tan. I eventually brought it inside where it hung on my refrigerator. Why? Because it looked too cool to toss into the garden.

A few weeks ago while packing my lunch for work I noticed dozens if not hundreds of tiny (harmless) parasitoid wasps emerging (I know a few people would not be excited by this discovery at 8:00 in the morning). Before leaving for work I popped the chrysalis into a glass tube to photograph at Prairie Moon Nursery.
During my 30 minute drive another 20-30 wasps emerged. Later that morning I was able to photograph the wasps as more emerged.

I forwarded these photos to the Monarch Joint Venture at the University of Minnesota and Carl Stenoien, a Graduate Research Fellow with The Monarch Lab at UMN was kind enough to reply: “These are probably Pteromalus cassotis, but I can’t be 100% sure without seeing them under a microscope.”

As we well know, monarch butterfly larvae depend exclusively on milkweeds and adults rely on the nectar of other native flowering species. I had never considered the less familiar species that depend on monarchs. How many other species go unseen? Like monarchs they too are in peril due to habitat loss but even a small garden with native plants can do a world of good (especially for these tiny Pteromalus wasps). •

A follow-up from Carl Stenoien: “I received the wasps today (and some were still alive!). They are, indeed, Pteromalus cassotis, a potential specialist on monarchs.”

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Killdeer

Vivid warmth in the ridge winds
today’s distant problems
keep a brisk pace
while Killdeer run ahead
giving away their secrets

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Anemone

When spring winds blow

and the frost evaporates into sunlite

the Pasque Flowers make a push

the annual awakening

for a most hopeful appearance

despite the deserts adjacent

and the tanks of chemicals

property of the new paradigm

when spring means less

less than it did under a century before

Puncture Cloud

On Sundays I like to walk around new places, take it in, just to get the smell right, or to find new shadows. The crisp autumn makes my head feel light, sunlight makes me flush. Sunday, the day to notice things that go by too quickly. On Mondays, I sit in a chair, and spin.

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People’s Climate March, Midtown NYC 9/21

The people gathered along coordinated routes, organized and grouped by devotion. Estimates exceeded, hoping to be noticed, a representation of 1:100 assumed. Now will we dust off our eyes to trim a few watts, a few degrees, a plastic cup or trip to the store? An economy with many comforts, the first to look down at bright screens, while worlds away suffer by oil lamp, or oil military.

 

all photos © D. Barron

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Soft Shoes

The left-behind, always on the fringe, but once recognized, lived again and again.

Yes, the modern world is this bad.

But an ability to see behind, beyond the scrim, a beautiful reckoning.

(140913.plantstudy.st.croix)

Slow down and look around

Photos taken at Breidel Coulee, La Crosse County Wisconsin

on August 27th, 2014

1. Monarch Butterfly on Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset)

2. Spur Throated grasshopper (sp.?) on Helenium autumnale (Sneezeweed)

3. Variegated Meadowhawk on Scirpus atrovirens (Dark-green Bulrush)

4. Various insects on Asclepias incarnata (Rose Milkweed)

 

Seeing

When humid air rests on arms, bare for the first afternoon in half a year,

life begins to happen, and bored eyes begin to re-explore,

the sacred spectacle of time.

(April in the marsh)

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The early pollinator

A Syrphid fly visits Pasque Flower on a windy spring afternoon.

What can you do, in a seasonal desert,

but search for perfection, means of living or dying,

not by illness, or natural selection,

but the economists algorithm.

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