Category Archives: Awareness


This Big Blue, Turkey Foot, Andropogon, erupted from sleeping grave, an emergence from the dead, extinct as a union soldier among the toppled limestone graves, a city park, a scarcely populated relic of the past, steep hill, gnarled Oaks, toppled fence and prairie relics shunned to the margins, just beyond acres of pavement encircled concrete coolers, built to hold ammonia-chilled systems and miles of lines,

lines of soda,

lines of doughnuts,

lines of code,

lines of petro-profits humming, buzzing, drowning,

the lines of connection,

lines of evolution, lying in ruin next to the Civil War canon, American flag fifty stars and thirteen stripes, roots in the flesh, limestone, roots in the sand prairie and hawk,

lines splaying to the great lightness, eventually to fall or burn like the pages of a book.


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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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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