Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Of butterflies, beads and busses

I have been sharing the garden with this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly since early August. He must have sustained sever damage fairly early in his life. You would be amazed at how well he flies considering the amount of wing he has lost.

Now in mid September, his color has faded to dull brown with cream and the edges of his wings are tattered. Still he continues to visit the Volcano Phlox everyday.

A black swallowtail is another visitor to the pink Volcano phlox. This phlox has turned out to be the hands down favorite of swallowtail butterflies for the last three years.

Another interesting note, hummingbirds prefer the species tall garden phlox to any of the hybrids.

Jewelry Making

a new hobby

Went to my first jewelry making class last Saturday. I love polished stones and wanted to make something casual to wear this fall with denim jackets and jeans. I chose turquoise colored stones and silver beads for my first necklace.

Also attending the class was a music teacher who wanted earrings to go with each of her outfits and two young ladies who made bracelets of glass beads.

I ended up making a bracelet of translucent stones and silver beads in addition to the necklace.

Taking photos of jewelry is more difficult than expected. To get good shots without a lot of indoor lightening equipment, I will need to set up a display area outside. Much more work is needed to improve my skills.

"Move That Bus"

We had celebrities in our area last week. The team from
Extreme Makeover: Home Addition

were here helping the Scott family whose home burned several months ago. The Scotts had recently moved to Lena, Illinois to become organic farmers.

(Rockford Register Star Photo)

The new home, built by volunteers from recycled materials, is a classic farmhouse design with yellow trim and shutters. It also has a few 'green' features like a three-kilowatt windmill for electrical supply, a geothermal heating/hot water system, and a rain water collection system.

Actor David Duchovny, former X-file star, was here Wednesday promoting the eco-friendly additions.

(Rockford Register Star Photo)

The build went very well and the house was finished in record time. Several thousand locals showed up at the finish to shout "move that bus".

(Rockford Register Star Photo)

Date and time for this episode is not yet scheduled but it will probably air in December. Without a doubt, this program has brought a lot of joy to many families down on their luck.


Susie said...

Wow, how neat to have celebrities in town. What a cute home they built for someone much in need. I bet that was interesting to watch.

Carol said...

Gee Marnie... isn't it so amazing how butterflies must 'Get On' even with torn tags. At least their wings do protect their precious abdomens from predators... only for so long though. Sweet that you have had a relationship with the tiger for so long. Lovely light in your photos. Carol

Sherri said...

Hi Marnie! I have to say your whole post made me smile! The butterfly is amazing! It is a wonderful it can fly with such horrible wing damage! As a jewelry maker I have to say your jewelry is wondeful!! I love the turquoise stones too! They are so rich in color! The last post about the Scott family was very heartwarming and wonderful! Congratulations Scott family!! Have a great day and thanks for making me smile!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hooray for pollinators! I love the bracelet, especially... beads are pretty cool, it almost makes me want to wear something other than earrings... and I tend to wear the same pair every days for months and then switch to another pair... somewhere I missed the girly gene! ;-) Also cool about home makeover coming to your area.

Rose said...

What a coincidence, Marnie--"Extreme Makeover" was here in August building a new home for a local family as well. It was the lead story in our local news for days; the episode is going to air at the end of October, I think. Looks like we'll all be watching "Extreme Makeover" this fall:)

Love the butterfly photos--I feel so sorry for your swallowtail, but at the same time it's rather neat that you can recognize him each time he visits.

And...your necklace is beautiful! I had signed up for a knitting class this fall which got canceled, and was considering changing to beadwork. I'm going to go check to see if it's not too late--I would definitely wear a necklace like that before I'd wear the scarf with dropped stitches I've been knitting:)


A special treat to be able to so easily identify a specific individual and track its visits to your garden. Really neat!

Your jewelry is really pretty. Looks like you're an old timer at this.

Interesting visitors to your town. Much excitement.

Chloe m said...

My Dad is a rockhound and makes me necklaces that are simliar to these. I am lucky! Yours are so pretty and I think you are going to get hooked on this hobby. It is a good one for winter, when your garden is sleeping.
It is sweet that the same butterly visited your garden all summer, tattered wings and all.

Pat said...

Boy, you sure covered a lot in this post. Happy to see your tattered Swallowtail butterfly is still happy. You have some beautiful shots.
Jewelry making can be so much fun. I never took a class but sure spent lots of time at AC Moore/Michaels picking out beads and stuff.
So your neighbor got a new house and will be on TV...very cool.

tina said...

The butterfly sure has lost a lot of its wings. Never seen one with so much damage. The two photos show the passing of time with the duller colors. Your jewelery will look great with denim and anything else. What fun! The Extreme makeover came to Clarksville several years back to help the Rodriquezes. I just happened to know them and was so excited they were chosen because they are very nice people. Prior to the big hubbub coming with the crew and before they blocked off the neighborhood (open only to busses) I took my daughter over there and we walked up to the house. It was most exciting. That was the only time I went-don't like crowds. It was most nice they also paid off the mortgage.

ShySongbird said...

What lovely garden visitors! The butterflies are so beautiful Marnie, their delicate wings always amazes me and being able to fly and live successfully with such damage is extraordinary.

The jewellery is beautiful! It looks like you have been doing it for years, I look foward to seeing more.

Darla said...

Butterflies are not as fragile as we like to believe them to be. Your jewelry is lovely........the extreme home makeover thingy was in our town a few months ago...I have a t-shirt from them!!

Dawn said...

Hi Marnie,
I have one lone butterfly here this late summer and I battle the cat everytime it wants to be in the back yard. I think it's sweet your has made it through all the predators and visits you every day.
I love the jewerly, there is something about the polished stone that fells so nice to hold.
I agree extreme home make over is wonderful, some people break there backs and still can't get there, this show makes up for it, there should be more!

oldcrow61 said...

You've done a marvelous job on the jewelry. It's really lovely.

sweetbay said...

Amazing that butterfly was able to get around so well missing so much of its wings!

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie,
Your first attempt at jewelry making is wonderful.I love the colors and beads that you chose. I'll be watching in Dec. for the Scott family show. We really enjoy the program...many teary moments for me.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I just love beads and stones. You have taken up a creative hobby. I am sure you will have much pleasure from it.

The butterfly is amazing. Getting on with life when its wings were nearly ripped off.

That show has done a couple of houses not too far from us. Meaning within 60miles or so of here. It is amazing what they can do in such a short period of time.

BeadedTail said...

It's nice that the butterfly has continued to visit you and although his wings are torn, he's still beautiful!

Great job on the jewelry! And boy do I know how hard it is to take photos of jewelry!

The Extreme Makeover team was in our town last year building a new home for a little girl with cancer. Sadly, she died a short time after but they made things much better for her and her family.

beckie said...

Marnie, I love that you have a friend in the butterfly and he in you. You have provided him with much needed nourishment and he has provided you with lots of joy.

How great to be 'expanding' your horizons. Classes like that are fun to take and you seem to have the talent to make good use of it. I took a pottery class once and my Mother thought my 2nd grader had made the pinch pot! Oh well, it was still fun.

Phillip Oliver said...

Good job on the jewelry, the butterflies are beautiful and I will have to look for that show. Let us know when it airs if you hear beforehand. I've never watched that show.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Marnie, Your 'special' butterfly is unique--just so you can always recognize him. That's NEAT!!!

Sounds like you have had a great week. You are doing GREAT in your Jewelry Class. So beautiful!!!! I'm proud of you...

Extreme Home Make-over went to Hendersonville (where G's parents live) a couple of years ago --to rebuild someone's home --who had lost everything due to a tornado. SO exciting!!!

Gail said...

Hi Marnie, Amazing that the tattered beauties can still get around. Swallowtails are still visiting the last of the species phlox paniculata. I haven't noticed the hummers but they usually leave when I am in the garden. Love the jewelry...It will look good with a jean jacket.

Celebrities in town are a lot of fun. I'll watch for this show...I would love to have a cistern and geo thermal heat!


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

"David Duchovny, floating above me, David Duchovny, why won't you love me." (Sorry, I got reminded of that bad song.)
I think that butterfly has decided your garden is paradise and it can't think of a better place to die. It certainly is a paradise for butterflies & other pollinators. I didn't know that Hummingbirds prefer species Phlox. Too bad I don't have any. I like your jewelry.

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Lovely photos Marnie, great captures. We have that show here as well and quite often I weep in the end...I'm a sucker for happy endings :-)


Anonymous said...

I am, like you, always amazed at how the butterflies can fly with so much wing damage. Your photographs are a good example of that.

Thanks for helping me to make history.
Pick a Peck of Pixels

Unseen India Tours said...

Butterflies !! Some really beautiful and cool shots !!

missbreezysbox said...

Great photos of a butterfly determined to make it. Lovely. I like the jewelry. Have fun learning to photograph it.

Anonymous said...

Ooh I love that show, how cool that they came to your town! I'll have to keep an eye out for that episode. ;)

Kathleen said...

Pretty amazing you've been able to follow the swallowtail this long Marnie. I would be developing an attachment. When I see them around my garden, I never know if it's the same butterfly or a different one. With this kind of wing damage, there is no mistaking the identity is there?
Your first attempt at jewelry making turned out GREAT. I think the necklace is gorgeous and the perfect accessory for jeans. Did you enjoy it? I've often wondered if it would be too "tedious" for me or not? Otherwise, combining colors, shapes, etc., would be interesting, just as it is in the garden.
How fun to have celebrities in town too. I only catch that show off and on but if I happen to see that particular one, it will make me smile thinking that you posted about it.

marmee said...


extreme makeover is such a great thing for the people who's home is in need of a huge transformation. it always makes me cry when i watch it. i bet it was a lot of fun to have them in your hometown.

your pretty little tattered butterfly is very happy in your garden...he is probably happy to be sheltered there and eating well.

what great fun jewelry making must be...i have never tried it. so glad for you to have found a new hobby....i like the turquoise stones you chose.

"Daffodil Planter" Charlotte Germane said...

A very touching story of the butterfly. I foolishly thought they did not live more than a week, and here are the two of you on a first-name basis.

Kathleen said...

Hi again Marnie. I just wanted to answer your question about how I'm going to overwinter the New Zealand Flax container. I will do what I've done (fairly successfully before) which is haul it down to the basement (unheated but around 40(ish) degrees) with limited light & water. It forces a dormancy on the plants which they can usually be brought out of. In March, I start watering more frequently and move them in front of the basement windows for more light. After chance of frost (end of April, first of May) I bring them upstairs and gradually acclimate to outdoors again. I hope that helps??

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

I always am amazed at your butterfly photos, and loved the story to go with them. I hope you will still have time to garden now that the jewelry making bug has bitten! ;-)

ChrisND said...

Your butterfly is great...glad it has been able to stick around and do well despite a rocky past. I will be interested to see the Home Makeover episode when in comes out...they've even been to North Dakota.

Jan said...

Hi Marnie, your little battered butterfly is a 'hanger in there'!! No whining/complaining for him/her...just get on out there and do what needs to be done! Good advice for all of us! S/he's fortunate to have found YOUR garden!

Your jewelry creations are beautiful...they really look professionally made. And your photos are great too (but I do understand what you mean about lighting being an issue).

We enjoy watching Extreme Home Makeover from time to time, and I agree that many needy, deserving families have been helped. It must be very difficult for them to choose a recipient, as there are so very many folks who could use some assistance. I love how most of the help comes from volunteers and donations/contributions.

TC said...

I'd like to see you make something for a man. I like jewelry. ;~)

Naturegirl said...

What a wonderful ending to your post!
I feel saddened when I see these *torn wings on butterflies..but as you show us they never give up..keep on flying and enjoying the gifts in the flowers. I see a lot of torn wings when I visit butterfly conservatories..lots of damaged wings there..perhaps this one escaped and now is free!
Beautiful images for me to see today...symbols of Hope.Thank you!
hugs Anna

walk2write said...

The Makeover show is a good example of why the old-fashioned barn-raising concept has survived to this day. People helping people (loving their neighbors) never goes out of style. Neither will that jewelry by the way. Great job, Marnie!

Moonchild Dancing! said...

Wow.. that butterfly is a great example of not living in the past as he flies so well and survived so well. :) Great pictures of Home makeover. :)

Muhammad khabbab said...

What a lovely post. I love butterflies and you have captured some really exquisite shots of them. How did you manage them to stay still, the really tease me while i try to lens them.

A Colorful World said...

How exciting, Marnie! I will sure look for that program...I love to catch it when I can (and always have a good cry!) Hey, I haven't visited you in a while, and I hope you'll forgive me! I LOVE your new header photo!