Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Wild butterfly weed, also known as ironweed
It feels as though the dog days of August have arrived in early July this year. It’s hot, hazy and humid, in other words. Today the temperature has finally stopped flirting with 90 degrees. It’s there already.

Perhaps that’s the reason Dog, Baby Dog and I are encountering quite a bit of wildlife in the early mornings. This morning was a good example. One of the deer was just behind the back door, snorting at something. That set the chickens to squawking in alarm, and then soon followed both dogs, first with a chorus of barking and then full-throated howling. Meanwhile, I was looking to see if there was a predator, maybe a fox, to blame for all this pre-6 a.m. noise. I never did find any sign of anything else, which is why I now think the deer was snorting at me. Amazing how much chaos can be caused by simply stepping out my door.

The wildlife activity doesn’t last too long. By 9 a.m. the woods are quiet again. Even the rabbits aren’t out and about, though sometimes the young groundhogs ignore the heat and munch on some nice greenery.

Humidity is the main reason I’m not a fan of summer. I might be able to ignore the heat if the humidity was low, but higher temperatures and high humidity go together in this part of the world.

My photo today is of wild butterfly weed, also know as ironweed and probably about 12 other names. There seems to be an especially robust crop of it this year, which makes the current lack of butterflies a bit mysterious. It’s not that butterflies are nonexistent this year. They simply aren’t nearly as common as they were last year when they were numerous. But it’s still early yet. Butterflies, especially the swallowtails, seem more common in August and September anyway, though in a good year (as 2010 was) I should be finding more now than I am.

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