Wednesday, August 22, 2012


As I was standing in my kitchen yesterday, late in the morning, some movement outside in what was left of my barrel of parsley caught my eye. I have to explain that the parsley I grow is not so much for us as for the monarch butterflies who lay their eggs on it. The eggs develop into beautiful bright green and yellow caterpillars, I love to photograph them. A friend who stays in our house when we are gone proudly told me last year that he had gotten rid of all of the worms that were eating our parsley. This year he left them and they had stripped the parsley clean.
The movement though was not from a monarch, but from a Black Swallowtail. He was just emerging from his chrysalis.
As we watched he seemed to be trying to fold back the top of the hard shell, while pulling his abdomen from the casing.
We watched it on and off for more than an hour with little or no progress. The poor thing seemed to be exhausted. Examining the shell of the chrysalis I noticed it was split open, with one hard thread holding it together at the top. A little help might be needed - and a little flick of a knife did.
Released from its trap, the butterfly looked at me as if to say "thank you".
It rested for a while as we went on about our business and when checking on it again a bit later it was gone. Hopefully it has gone wherever Black Swallowtails go and will help create the next generation of these beautiful creatures.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


We have been back in New Jersey for about 10 days, but I have to admit my thoughts keep returning to Colorado. The heat has finally broken as a cold front pushed its way in from the North, bringing some rain and lowering the humidity - the weather even seems more like Colorado.
A lot of our time this year was devoted to bridge as Gary and Corinne came from San Miguel to gives lesson. They are wonderful teachers, and we always wish we were better students.
However a lot more of our time and energy was taken up with yard work. In spite of the early drought in the West, we still had some wildflowers, and a LOT of dandelions.
The Lupine always seems to flourish and bloom no matter what,
As do these Asters.
The 2nd half of July is a wonderful time to be in Crested Butte - the music festival is in full swing. We managed to squeeze in a few events, such as the symphony rehearsal for Beethoven to be held in the Lacey Barn that night. It was superb.
On our way home that morning, we found the cows in the Slate River Valley. How did they get there and where were they the day before??
In spite of the drought and scarcity of wildflowers, the valleys turned green with the late afternoon showers. which had become a normal occurrence.
The rain intensified the colors in the surrounding mountains, making a beautiful backdrop for our home.
And as the sun came out, it shown through the rain,
treated us with the beauty of a rainbow over our home.


One of the many joys of spending time in Colorado is the wildlife, big and small.
This little chipmunk took a liking to the woodpile on our deck, perhaps because it was a good place to hide from the dangers in the sky, but maybe also because of the sugar water I spilled there while filling the humming bird feeders above.
When we are home, we can always be entertained by the multitude of bike riders coming up the mountain from town - especially the ones who still have the energy to do tricks.
Living across from the horse corral is a real treat, there is always something to see. When the majority of the horses are out for rides, this young colt got to rest in peace.
But one of the biggest excitements this year fir the whole town was the success of a local girl, Emma Coburn who made it to the 2012 Olympics in London in the Women's Steeplechase event. This proud sign was in prominent display at the Arts Festival in town, where we enjoyed several fun hours.
The main street of town was filled with tents of fine works of all types, food provided by local restaurants, and of courses there was music too,
As always in the summer hanging baskets of flowers decorate the shops, and barrels, the street.
At home we spent a lot of time watching the Olympics, and I couldn't resist snapping a couple of shots of Emma in her event from the TV.
She did well competing at that level, a college girl against many professionals.
My last day in Crested Butte I got up early to photograph some flowers and the horses coming in from their night of grazing and rest. Walking across the street I was treated with this beautiful cloud filled sky - left over from the night's rain.
The flowers that I found on my way down into the valley were shinning with drops of water.
I waited quite a while to see if the horses would come in on their own, but as I suspected they had to be herded by one of the hands in an ATV. The treats there for the first arrivals were not enough of an enticement that morning.
The silhouettes of the horses began to appear on the ridge, as more and more began to head back to the corral.
Some of the horses came in groups, some individually, some curious and friendly,
And some, as this white one spooked by the sight of a stranger near their path. However, I was delighted to be there, welcomed or not.