Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cantaloupe, oh so tasty! The Butterflies...

I picked it today, the stray cantaloupe next to our compost bins. Thanks to those who gave us suggestions on how to tell when it was ripe. Yesterday I noted it looked orange and ripe, got down and smelled it, sweet and just right. Pulled on the stem it did not come loose. Tonight I smelled it again and went for it. Good thing as the underside was splitting apart and bugs were in the tiny cracks. So I cut it where it was splitting open and got rid of the split rind and cut out some very sweet cantaloupe to eat fresh from the garden....

Those are 3/4 liter wine bottles next to the cantaloupe to give you a sense of how big this beauty is! Looks ripe to me! We'll cut this for 3 days each morning for a snack during the work day, oh my. And I have a store bought watermelon to eat also.

An update about the Durham Butterfly count. It rained most of the night Saturday, then cleared just in time for 15 diehards to meet and form groups to go out counting butterflies, gray skies and all. Our organizer Jeff went to Duke Gardens, got poured on as soon as they arrived, saw one Painted lady from a pavilion where they sat for 3 hours in waiting for it to dry up.

Mean while Meg, Owen and I drove over to the Flat River Impoundment. One parks their car and walks in on a gravel road leaving the car behind. We managed to walk for 37 minutes before we were rained on. We walked back in the rain wearing rain coats and umbrellas. Tallied up 15 species of butterflies despite the weather in an hour. Four of those were seen in the rain walking back to the car.

We drove to our place and hung out on the porch until the rain
slowed. Jeff called and cancelled the count. Owen and I decided
what the heck we'd get back out there. Ended up at Quail Roost and
found three old guys (Tom, Gene and Carl) in rain coats counting
butterflies. So we weren't the only crazy old guys counting
butterflies and we had umbrellas! Tom and crew had complied a
pretty good list.

So Owen and I poked around Quail Roost and added a few butterflies
to our list.

So here is our rainy day list of 24 species from both the Flat River Impoundment
and Quail Roost

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 10
Spicebush Swallowtail 2
Clouded Sulphur 1 outer wing margins clearly behind the dot, tough ID in our parts
Orange Sulphur 8
Sleepy Orange  1 (found in the rain)
Eastern-tailed Blue 120 everywhere
Variegated Fritillary 10
Silvery Checkerspot 2
Pearl Crescent 18
Red Admiral 2
Common Buckeye 25
Red-spotted Purple 2
Viceroy 1 (found in the rain)
Carolina Satyr 18
Monarch 7
Clouded Skipper 60
Least Skipper 7
Fiery Skipper 5
Crossline Skipper 2
Sachem 18
Zabulon Skipper 4
Dun Skipper 5
Ocola Skipper 2

And 45 Black Swallowtail cats in our garden and 25 more cats at
Meg's school(transferred from our garden days ago) + one

One of the highlights of checking out Quail Roost was the Devil's-walkingstick (Aralia spinosa) growing wild along a fence line. When the rain would slow the butterflies would be on it, saw 5 Eastern Tiger Swallowtails enjoying it. These have huge flowers and they are not common here at all, I now know of two places it grows in Durham.
Below is a portion of the Devil's-walkingstick (Aralia spinosa)
patch, it is as always around 15 foot tall (5 meters). See Will Cook's page about Devil's-walkingstick
An update on Meg's butterfly house at school. As of today they have 13 chrysalis and should have more tomorrow. Our garden has a lot of big 5th instar caterpillars and 2  chrysalis, tomorrow should be another story. Don't tell the kids but Black Swallowtail chrysalis usually take about 10 days to emerge.


Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I saw a Monarch today, first one of the season. Either I haven't been paying attention or it is the first one...either way it was nice to see. The Hercules Club bares a resemblance to Arailia spinosa, Devil's Walking Stick. From a distance I would have said that is what it was. I would have been wrong.
Thanks again for the plant IDs. I had a fellow Master Gardener ID the Pluchea camphorata too. I double checked and the leaves did have the camphor scent.
Glad your cantalope was good, sure is a biggie!!

Randy Emmitt said...


Duh your right it is Devil's Walking Stick. Don't know what made me think that was what is was.

Kalantikan said...

I wish i can also grow those cantaloupes, but our insects here are so plenty they get ahead of us most of the time. I am amazed at your butterfly counts, i wonder how you do that without repeats. I can just sit in our terrace and count but not the units but the species only. I can see they just go away and return again, a pair of our rare Papilio romanzuvia has been around for one week already still with lovely wings. Can you teach me how to do that without repeat counts?

ZielonaMila said...

Beautiful photographs, butterfly looks fantastically. I am greeting

farm sheds in NZ said...

Wow! Lovely photos indeed. I really like this page. I am glad to read this page.

Indie said...

Oh what a yummy looking cantaloupe! That's too bad you had so much rain during the butterfly count, though it seems like you got quite a lot. I was thrilled to see a monarch at my place a week ago - I hope they are coming and finding my milkweed!
That's a lot of Eastern-tailed Blues you spotted :) Sometimes I walk in the yard and clouds of little blues rise up and swirl around my feet.

tina said...

Cantaloupe are funny fruit. All of them ripen at one time and if you are not right there they do split and allow all to enjoy. They are so delicious when fresh grown though! Thanks for the butterfly ID. I had no idea what type it was. My neighbor has a large stand of aralia right next to his pond in view of my yard. It is so beautiful! My favorite in the woods as it sure stands out in all seasons.

Julie said...

Your cantaloupe looks delicious! There's nothing better than a warm, fresh picked cantaloupe. (I'm a new visitor, so glad to find your site!)

Kim and Victoria said...

Fun! That cantaloupe looks delish!

RobinL said...

Mmmm, that cantaloupe looks so good! I've never grown them before. I thought maybe you'd leave a little of it out to ferment for the butterflies!

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