Blackberry Moon

Tiny thing

Tiny thing

Yes.  Another frog.  This little guy posed for me this morning while I was gathering wild blackberries.

(Courtesy note:  no new Forrest Fenn/Thrill of the Chase Treasure Hunt clues in here.  Just frogs and flutterbys….)

By the time I put the last batch through the juicer to take out the seeds on Tuesday, I ended up with only 9 half-pints of jam.  Not enough for Christmas gifting and a year’s supply for us.  Not a problem.  There are plenty more out there.

Blackberry thorns are meaner than the wild raspberry’s, which ripen in June.  So, I armored up, grabbed water, my phone, and my camera.  Ready or not, I still missed a shot of the deer and fawn getting a drink.  And darn it—the butterflies just won’t sit still for me.

I’ve seen several black and blue swallowtails, very large yellow butterflys, small ones, a tiny blue one, but only 3 monarchs fluttered by this year.

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly.

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The monarchs are in some distress.

milkweed

milkweed

I’ve got plenty of milkweed plants for them (want some seeds?), but I heard they’re not making it past the Texas drought area.  There are several generations per summer.  The final generation flies all the way back to Mexico to winter in a particular area.

The bigger disaster for their population was 2 winters ago.  I remember hearing that a  hailstorm hit their winter haven and decimated the flock.Crop Duster

Another issue is the ubiquitous use of pesticides which don’t discriminate between life forms based on desirability.  Don’t you wonder what they’re spraying up there?  Fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, peoplecides.  And why, if the biotech transgenetics are so wonderful?

US distribution of Japanese Beetle, (This map ...

US distribution of Japanese Beetle, (This map is not entirely accurate. Infestation is established much farther west at least to the Oklahoma line.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About the berries.  I don’t pick along the fencelines where the neighbors are raising corn and soybeans.  So, yes.  There are occasional bugs in the bucket.  But, I’d rather remove them myself than pollute my food.

Still.  I’m really not happy with the voracious Japanese beetles who moved into the neighborhood 3 summers ago.  First it was the grapevines.  Then the rosebush.  This year the orchard.  The bright side?  The chickens come running when I shake them out of the trees.

Japanese beetle foraging on  grapevine

Japanese beetles foraging on grapevine

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